Your Next Dystopian Obsession? Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season

She's 22 and a recent graduate of Oxford University and her debut novel is the flagship of a seven-book series quickly snapped up by the august publishing house Bloomsbury and sold to 21 countries. Oh, and? The film rights have already been purchased by Andy Serkis' production company The Imaginarium. Her name is Samantha Shannon and by this time next week, everyone who keeps tabs on YA fiction and blockbusters in the making will have heard of her. In fact it won't even take a week.


The Bone Season is set in the London of 2059 where 19-year-old Paige Mahoney works as a dreamwalker, a specific kind of clairvoyant who can break into someone else's mind. She's a criminal attempting to live below the thin fabric of what passes for society, because the London of the future (known as Scion) has outlawed any kind of supernatural activity and made it punishable by death. Shannon's world is ripped to pieces early in the book when she is kidnapped and sent to a secret city controlled by dark and powerful forces called the Rephaim.

The book's title refers to a harvest that occurs once every ten years when the Rephaim cull their newest supernatural pets, and only the strong survive. Shannon, who only just graduated from Oxford this year, has already drawn comparisons to J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Stephanie Meyer as well as E.L. James (not for Scion, the asexual world of Hogwarts and early Twilight books). She's crafted a textured new world here, down to the slang terms of the day. She credits A Clockwork Orange as her main inspiration, clearly impressed by Burgess' genius.

With each new pocket world created around vampires, or werewolves, or witches, the pop culture monster's appetite for fantasy and dystopia glows and grows. This new world will send out shockwaves around the idea of a community of people with supernatural powers, similar to the TV show The Alphas, only trimmed with velvet and lace and steampunk finery existant 46 years in the future. When you think about it, who in the holy hell really has a definite clue as to what the world is going to look like then. Especially at the rate we're living our lives, destroying our environment, tearing down our civil liberties, and grabbing ours before everyone else wants one too. I could see that world being Scion as easily as not.

Paige is a fighter and she is riveted upon the search for freedom and for truth. She's honorable and cares about her friends. For this reason I'm rooting for her and know she's destined to become way larger than life in the tender hearts and minds of young readers. So you go, girl.


Not all of us know what we are. Some of us die without ever knowing. Some of us know, and we never get caught. But we're out there.

Trust me.

from The Bone Season, by Samantha Shannon