The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon is an exciting supernatural dystopian fiction.
The series is set in the year 2059 and follows Paige Mahoney, a 19-year-old girl who is working in Scion London’s criminal underground.
She works for a man by the name of Jaxon Hall as the Seven Dials and works as a scout. Only, not in the typical sense – she scouts people by breaking into their very minds.
Paige is a dreamwalker and clairvoyant. In her world, simply being alive is treason.
One day, the young heroine is attacked, and taken to Oxford – a city that has been kept secret for over 200 years. Now, the city is controlled by an otherworldly and powerful race.
Once there, Paige gets assigned to a Rephaite named Warden, who seems to have strange motives of his own.
He is her trainer, her master, and also someone who could be her natural enemy. However, if she wants to be free again, she has to follow his command and live in the place where she is certainly meant to die.
If you love The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, then we know you are going to absolutely love the books we have in store. You won’t be able to get enough of books like Mistborn, The Raven Boys, Maids of Misfortune, Inkmistress, Viper, and State of Sorrow.
Themes In The Bone Season
This series sits on the cusp of young adult and adult fiction, so readers will want to be aware of that!
This is not a series for young or immature children, as there are some themes and scenes that will not be deemed appropriate for all age ranges.
Themes like deceit, murder, magic, and violence are common throughout the book, but there is also romance and resilience for readers to enjoy. With that being said, the romance is, at times, questionable.
If you have read this book already, you will be aware of the “romance” situation between the characters. Although it is slow and all characters are older than 18, the romantic theme may be uncomfortable to some.
Some readers have used words like “Stockholm syndrome” type romance – so this is something to bear in mind if you haven’t read the book.
Aside from that, the author also had violent themes including murder, gore, and a variety of shocking scenes. As such, it certainly isn’t a book for the fainthearted, and definitely is not suitable for younger readers.
In a dystopian world, we may come to expect such things. Deceit is a particularly important theme for this series, as it ties into everything.
Without spoilers for those who haven’t read this yet, be aware that disinformation and duplicity are rampant.
However, through all the difficulty, there are LGBTQIA+ characters and themes for readers to enjoy, too.
Some of these characters are minor, to begin with, but gradually become more important as the series goes on, so there’s a lot to look forward to!
Overall, you can expect to be introduced to themes like murder, romance, friendship, LGBTQIA+, blood, gore, resilience, and of course, deceit.
NOTE: We always recommend reading book reviews before buying a book for any child. This is especially important in young adult fiction, as there are often themes that are not suitable for children under the age of 16.
Books Like Samantha Shannon’s “The Bone Season”
Viper – Bex Hogan
This story follows Marianne, a 17-year-old girl whose father is the current Viper – the defender of the Twelve Isles and the most dangerous man on the seas.
Her father is merciless and corrupt, and instead of protecting the isles, he haunts them with his warship.
Becoming the Viper is what she was born to do, and she wants to protect her home. However, with her father standing in the way and reigning destruction, she risks losing it all.
To step in and be the force that the isles need, she will lose her family, her love, her home, and possibly even her life.
- Fast-paced and exciting storytelling
- Likable characters
- Excellent world-building
- The book seems relatively short
- Many readers wanted more of the world to be shown
Themes: Friendship, gore, resilience, LGBTQIA+, romance
Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson
This book follows Kelsier in a land where ash has fallen for more than a thousand years. There, no flowers have grown, and the world is little more than a barren wasteland, ruled by the “Sliver of Infinity”.
The Skaa people have lived as slaves for this time, and Kelsier, a half-Skaa, has spent his life in prison.
One day, Kel snaps and finds himself with the incredible powers of a Mistborn.
As he is a natural leader and an outstanding thief, Kel gets recruited as an elite member of the underworld. There, he works alongside the world’s best ‘allomancers’ with the goal of bringing down the divine despot.
When Vin enters Kel’s life, the possibility of overthrowing their oppressor doesn’t seem so far-fetched. However, she will need to learn to trust anyone for the first time in her life if they want that dream to become a reality.
- Captivating plot and characters
- The incredible world-building and use of the magic system
- Full of action and excitement
- Somewhat predictable plot
- Too fast-paced for some readers
Themes: Trust, resilience, rebellion, gore, murder, violence
State Of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
Sorrow, named such due to the passing of her brother before she was even born, is forced to govern the Court of Tears.
Her father has remained grief-maddened since her brother’s death and has turned their once beautiful and joyous land into a living monument. The land is her duty, and her life is not her own.
Under cover of darkness, she spends time with the boy she has loved since she was a child.
As just an 18-year-old, Sorrow is faced with protecting the kingdom as enemies gather around her. She has to decide how far she will go to protect her country, and also the ones she loves.
- Effortless writing and storytelling technique
- Lots of secrets and surprises within the plot to enjoy
- Well-paced throughout
- Political themes throughout, not for all readers
- Somewhat predictable plot and ending
Themes: Deception, romance, violence, murder
Inkmistress – Audrey Coulthurst
This story follows Asra, a demigod who has a dangerous gift – the ability to write the future in her blood. She has lived a quiet life in the mountains to keep her power a secret and has worked as a healer for years.
She’s in love with a mortal girl by the name of Ira, and things seem to be going smoothly until bandits threaten to lay siege to her village.
The king won’t help, and Ina needs Asra’s help to find her manifest – the creature she is to turn into as a rite of passage.
Agreeing, Asra is willing to use her blood magic, but everything goes horribly wrong. Ina’s family is murdered when the bandits attack, and she swears to enact her revenge against those who are responsible – unaware that Asra was the one at fault.
Now, Asra has to stop Ina from spilling the king’s blood as she takes a dragon as her manifest.
- Great world-building elements throughout
- Representation of LGBTQIA+ romance
- Likable main characters and storyline
- More world-building would have added value
- Readers are given a lot of information along the way
Themes: Romance, violence, magic, LGBTQIA+
The Bone Season is a gripping story with many dark elements to get immersed in. However, there are also positive themes to enjoy within the pages.
These themes include things like resilience and love, as well as LGBTQIA+ characters and relationships.
If you loved The Bones Season, there’s a good chance that you are going to love the rest of the books mentioned on this list.
Many of them share a number of themes with the series, but give readers something fun and new to enjoy.
It is worth mentioning that the books listed in this article do have different target demographics. They are all either adult or young adult. However, if you are a parent, you should double-check to see what you deem is appropriate for your own child.
Some themes and scenes shown in these books are darker than others, and may not be suitable for more sensitive readers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Books Are In The Bone Season?
There are seven books in The Bone Season series, so there’s plenty to dig into!
Which Order Should The Bone Season Be Read In?
The ideal order to read The Bone Season in is as follows: The Pale Dreamer (novella); The Bone Season; The Mime Order; The Song Rising; The Dawn Chorus (novella); and The Mask Falling
What Age Is The Bone Season Suitable For?
The minimum age a reader should be is 13. However, due to the nature of some of the content, we would recommend readers aged 15 or 16 and up enjoy this book on their own.
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