Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
The Bone Season
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Bone Season is an intricate fantasy -- the first of a planned seven-part series -- set in an alternate future where clairvoyants are able to access the spiritual plane know as the "aether" and are sent to a secret penal colony if they are caught doing so. The language is fairly mild (the occasional "hell," "damn," "piss," or "s--t," with a rare "f--k" in one or two heated exchanges), and there's some sexual content in two scenes where the action's more implied than described. The level of violence is high but not overly graphic (a character's beaten, drugged, attacked by demons, and psychically assaulted, and she dishes out a similar amount of mayhem in return). The neck-breaking murder of a young teen may disturb sensitive readers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In 2059, in a London ruled by the corporate overlords of Scion, teen girl Paige Mahoney works as a "dreamwalker," breaking into people's minds for the benefit of her gang of criminal clairvoyants. After she unwittingly kills two Scion operatives, she's hunted down, kidnapped, drugged, and sent to Sheol I, a secret penal colony located in what used to be Oxford. Sheol I is ruled by the Rephaim, a mysterious, otherworldly race who claim to be protecting Earth from invasion by a legion of demons. Paige is assigned to the "blood-consort" Warden for training, but she never stops seeking a means of escape. But as time goes on, her loyalties are tested, and Paige must decide whom she can save and whom she must trust.
Is it any good?
THE BONE SEASON brims with ambition. Its world-building is intricate, its premise original, its prose more than merely serviceable. Debut author Samantha Shannon hit the ground running and expects the reader to keep up. For the most part, her strategy works. Although the climactic scenes pay off, a repetitiveness creeps into the series of tests and trials Paige Mahoney must endure. And there's something predictable in the development of Paige's relationship with her captor, Warden.
Those are quibbles, though. The Bone Season is likely to attract a wide audience for its young author and leave readers ready for the next volume in the proposed seven-part saga.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about freedom vs. security. Is it better to be free and face unknown dangers or to live in security while being a slave?
The Bone Season was written for adults but features a teen main character. Do you think it will appeal to the young adult audience? How does it compare with the YA books you've read? How is it different? How is it similar?
Why do some victims of totalitarianism side with their oppressors? Is it merely fear that motivates them?
- Author: Samantha Shannon
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
- Publication date: August 20, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 15 - 17
- Number of pages: 480
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love fantasy and dystopian novels
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.