Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

The Mime Order

Author: Samantha Shannon
Release: January 27th 2015
Genre: Dystopia, Paranormal, Fantasy, YA
#2 in the Bone Season series
Series: The Bone Season (#1), The Song Rising (#3), Untitled (#4, #5, #6, #7)


Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London...

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city's gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.


Honestly, I am so very torn about what to feel about this book. On the one hand, it is so fucking addictive — I read all this 500+ page goodness within one and a half days — and I really love the romance between Paige and Warden, nevertheless, while I do like the world and atmosphere as well, I don't know if they can really convince me of this series. 

You understand? Like, it's all there, it's all nice enough, but it just hasn't that sort of spark that really gets you going, gets you fuming and sweating for the plot of the story. It's engrossing and intriguing alright, but there was simply something missing for me, something that would make it all click together, to be honest.

In the end, I can only praise pretty much everything about this novel. Maybe not to the heavens and back — it's not perfect by any means — but everything that would be essential for a well executed and well written novel is there, it's developed and explained satisfactorily with maybe a few minor grievances here and there.

All in all, I really do like the characters, they all, without an exception, have substance of some sort, credibility and are portrayed pretty realistically, if you ask me. Paige's development flows along so nicely with the plot that you don't consciously notice her evolution, but are struck with that realization suddenly at some point towards the end. The other characters, similarly, carry their weights around with them and while a majority of those burdens aren't further delved into, at least they're mentioned so they're swimming around the surface and exist to make the character memorable in some way. Personally, I would have wished for a bit more characterization on the Rephaim around Warden and Paige, since we still have very little knowledge as to their true personalities or personal backgrounds etc. Even Warden could do with some more development, but honestly, I'm pretty pleased with what I ultimately did get.

The plot is never boring, it's not one action scene after another, so that there are some breaks in between, but even those are interesting and help further the plot; in general I think I can say with good conscience that I don't ever remember a page filler scene that didn't serve some purpose in the end.

As for the writing, it's probably one of the best assets this novel has going for it. While still beautifully haunting and crafting the absolute perfect atmosphere for this sort of setting, it's also peppered with Paige's own subjective perceptions of her world so that it doesn't come across as too neutral or too serious, such as may have been the case with Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
“London — beautiful, immortal London — has never been a 'city' in the simplest sense of the word. It was, and is, a living, breathing thing, a stone leviathan that harbors secrets underneath its scales. It guards them covetously, hiding them deep within its body; only the mad or the worthy can find them.

Like I already mentioned, I deeply enjoyed the interweaving relationships and connections between the characters, and I think they are what really makes this series up in the end. If not for these excellent, superbly crafted and spectacular relationships of all different forms, it would not stand out as much as it does, in my opinion at least. The running tension that stretches between Paige and Jaxon the whole book was nerve-wracking, and it was so damn well written, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed seeing them interact. Of course, the other relationships are all interesting in their own ways, as I said, I extremely enjoy the romance between Paige and Warden, which has really crept up on me. I expressly told myself not to start shipping them in the first novel, but look who's aching for any two words exchanged between them now. Such is the way of life, I guess.

In the end, I can only hope that maybe with the next, third book there's going to be the spark that's going to ignite inside me while reading this, so that I can enjoy it to the fullest, as should be. Fingers crossed.

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