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Justine Larbalestier
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Josef Škvorecký, Paul Wilson
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The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon This book is like reading the Disney version of The Beauty and the Beast (to the point where you're quoting "you will join me for dinner. That's not a request!"), but without all the Stockholm Syndrome BS. Paige is repulsed by her lack of freedom. She doesn't find the her lack of power and abundant helplessness (at first) even remotely sexy.


This is what I love about this influenced work (oh, come on! The flower in the bell jar was a dead giveaway, and as many have argued this story is hardly original).


I wouldn't say this is the next Harry Potter (it's more adult). I wouldn't even compare the author with Rowling. They're not even writing about the same thing or setting or theme. But Shannon knows her way around words beautifully, and these days a mark of good writing is not how much are "original" ideas, it's about how you present a retelling. It's about how you let other work influence your writing in all the right ways. And it's about what you bring to what you've borrowed.

Instead, if you liked the Disney version of The Beauty and the Beast; Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle; Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone; and Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, you will probably find yourself in their displaced and bleak future London with throwbacks to the 19th century. By the way, this whole history of Ireland bit is wonderful. It feels legitimate.

There are very few insignificant and predictable elements, and an abundance of complex relationships (Nick, David, Liss, Carl, Seb, Jax, Warden, Didion...). There is no insta-love or false emotional need for someone else. In fact, at the end, they part ways because they have different goals and duties to themselves and others. And this is what I love about this book. Everything feels like it has history; like there is something beyond what you are first introduced to. And that is the greatest advantage Samantha Shannon has honed within her writing. She has played the info dump card so sneakily, it's easier just to assume we'll come back to so-and-so's history at a later point.

That being said, I'm annoyed I have to wait for the next 6 books. I'll be nearly middle aged by the time they're all out. Ugh.


Also, anyone reminded of Gaston whenever they read about Jaxon? Except Jax is clever and is not afraid of thinking ("A dangerous pastime—" "I know. But that whacky old coot is Belle's father, and his sanity's only so-so.")