I think all book lovers can relate. You’ve been anticipating a book release for a year. You have it pre-ordered and time set aside ready to binge it. You finally get your hands on it. You open the pages and… realise you have forgotten half of the characters and the world it is set in.
It happens to all of us.
Especially with complex and intricate settings, with dense plots, and a sea of characters ready to drown you with an information overload on the first few pages!
That’s why we have compiled this handy mini overview of the first two instalments in the Bone Season series. With the much-anticipated release of the third book, ‘The Song Rising’, this year, refresh your memory so you can indulge in some relaxed and well-informed reading. You’re welcome.
Be warned, the rest of the article will contain spoilers for the first two books!
Set in the year 2059, this sees the future of our world as a rigid and segregated dystopia. Since the time of Edward VII individuals have started displaying clairvoyant traits. Those not displaying such ‘unnaturalness’ are indoctrinated to think of the former as lesser beings, by the patriarchal governing society, Scion. These feared and ‘unnatural’ individuals are given two possible futures: to busk and beg at the mercy of the Scion citizens, or to join one of the seven ‘mime’ gangs and use their prohibited clairvoyance to commit crimes and earn money for their Mime Lords.
The protagonist, Paige Mahoney is an Irish immigrant. After seeing her cousin brutally murdered in the riots against the Scion government, that sought to take control of Ireland, she has no love for authority. She also has a vague memory of a poltergeist encounter and suspects she may be one of the ‘unnaturals’ they warn against. Following the riots, and when she was just a young teen, her father moved them both to the heart of Scion control – London city.
Paige struggles to fit in, haunted by her one clairvoyant encounter until she met Nick Nygard. Nick leads a double life. He is a renowned Scion doctor by day and a powerful clairvoyant by night. He introduces impressionable Paige to Jaxon Hill, and through them both she is welcomed into the underground clairvoyant community.
Jaxon, or the White Binder as he is known underground, clawed his way from homeless gutterling to wealthy mime-lord through the production of his pamphlet, On the Merits of Unnaturalness. This details the seven distinctions of clairvoyancy and orders them from least to most desirable. This has become the bible for clairvoyants and made Jaxon a popular and wealthy individual.
Paige clawed her own way to becoming Jaxon’s second-in-command, as his mollisher, aided by her gift as a dreamwalker. By claiming one of the most rare and elite gifts as her own, she also earns her own title – The Pale Dreamer. Between them both, they rule their underground sector of London with a firm hand.
Life for Paige and the rest of the clairvoyants wasn’t without its fears but these were realised when Paige was caught by Scion: every clairvoyant’s worst fear. Instead of the expected public execution, Paige was transported to Oxford. Destroyed by fires centuries ago, this sector of Britain was thought desolate and in ruins. Little did anyone realise that it was actually a clairvoyant prison camp controlled by the Rephaim.
These immortal beings originally dwelled with the other deceased souls, beyond the eather. The increase of clairvoyant individuals, who used the eather for their skill, saw a thinning of the material between the two worlds and the rephaim became able to cross this boundary.
They were not the only evil to invade our future world, however. With them came the emim, or ‘the buzzers’. These creatures, that could not be fathomed in anyone’s worst nightmares, fed on the flesh of humans and were notoriously hard to kill.
The rephaim worked in partnership with the Scion government. Every ten years a ‘Bone Season’ was held, where undesirable clairvoyant individuals were transported to Oxford, and given to the rephaim. Here they lived in poverty, starved and beaten daily, but with the free use of their abilities. They became slaves and entertainment for the rephaim and guarded the city from the emim. This is the fate Paige had been dealt.
Or so she thought, until she realised her new rephaim owner, named Warden or Arcturus Mesarthim, was actually in league against his own kind. He used Paige’s mortality as the face of the rebellion and together they sought to free the slaves from Oxford.
Of the 200 human slaves, just over 20 made it to freedom. Warden stayed to fight the leader of the rephaim, the blood-sovereign Nashira Sargas. His ultimate failure meant Paige’s return to London saw her a wanted fugitive by immortal and humans alike.
Her return did not also give her the freedom she desired. She started to see her old life as a cage. Her mime-lord’s protection felt more like a iron-grip on her individuality and autonomy. When he forbade her to speak of the rephaim, and warn the rest of the clairvoyant communities of the impending danger, she saw now alternative than to duel him for leadership of their community.
Her win was bitter-sweet. The man who once protected her and gave her a life, a home and a family had now became her enemy. Her love and respect for him, allowed her to let him leave unscathed but Paige soon learned that was to be her biggest mistake.
With the entire clairvoyant community at her disposal and under her protection, Paige finds the voice she always wished she had. But will she be able to protect them? Will the clairvoyants and the few rephaim that sided with them be able to work together? And will this new following be enough to overthrow both Scion and the corrupt rephaim?