The Mask Falling (The Bone Season #4) by Samantha Shannon

Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.
The mysterious Domino Program has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim-her former enemy-at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.
As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them-and could end with them…

Fantasy, 528 pages, published in 2021

Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.
The mysterious Domino Program has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim-her former enemy-at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.
As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them-and could end with them…
[Goodreads]

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content Warnings: PTSD, possession/loss of autonomy

For some reason, I can’t quite give any of the books in this series a full 5 stars, despite absolutely loving them so far! I think this one is my favorite so far because it had some of my favorite scenes.

THE GOOD

The beginning of this book was one of my favorite parts of the series so far. Since the beginning, Arcturus and Paige have not really had a chance to just…be who they are with each other for any amount of time, so it was nice to see their non-emergency personalities come out.

Paige really went through it in the end of the last book, and she definitely deals with it in this one. I hate when characters go through something traumatic, then suddenly don’t seem to remember it happened.

There some tense scenes in the rest of the book! This is the middle book of the series, so this definitely felt like it was ramping up to the second half of the series.

The end of this book definitely gave me the biggest range of emotions so far in the series.

THE BAD

Each book has a new setting, though this one was the most different. The main characters are in a new country, interacting with a (mostly) new set of characters. It takes place in Paris, so learning all the new characters with French names was a little hard on my brain. The amount of relevant side characters in this series is hard for me in general.

I RECOMMEND THIS FOR…

I love this series, but I’m not sure who the target audience is. It definitely feels like fans of YA would enjoy this if they are looking for something darker (and it does get dark). It doesn’t seem like something fans of typical adult fantasy typically enjoy. This series a mix of urban fantasy and sci-fi, so it’ll be a shift for fans of the classic medieval fantasy.

If you’re interested in following one central character throughout a series, find futuristic technology combined with magic and government secrets interesting, or are just looking for something unique, I’d recommend this!

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The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon

After escaping her imprisonment, Paige has to figure out how to live in the world outside again, as well as struggle against higher powers in order to tell the truth about their society.

Fantasy, 510 pages, published in 2015

After escaping her imprisonment, Paige has to figure out how to live in the world outside again, as well as struggle against higher powers in order to tell the truth about their society.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content Warnings: violence/gore

Aside from my few small issues, I am continuing to really enjoy this series! I’m glad I’m reading it so soon before a new book comes out.

As with the first book, the magic is the weakest part of this for. I just don’t feel like I got a good grip on it in the first book, so I don’t think I will unless I reread that one. I understand what it can do, but not how it works, which is actually fine for me. I can accept that a character can do a certain thing because that’s just how their magic works. I did like that this book dove into different types of magic, as well as how society views people based on what magic they have.

The setting of this book is very different than the first one, and I honestly preferred the setting of the first book better.

There was one character that drove me insane throughout, but I think that was the point. Every time they would mutter their catchphrase, I just had to roll my eyes.

I thought there was a fair amount of action in this book. The first one kind of felt like an exploration and education of the world, but in this book, there were a lot of different high stakes scenes.

The romantic/sexual tension in the book was *chef’s kiss* perfect for me. I think I remember Samantha Shannon saying somewhere that she writes one kiss scene per book in this series…that’s a surefire way to get me on board. I love this relationship’s progression from hatred to tentative curiosity to attraction to something more. It does make me a little nervous that this relationship is presented so early on in a projected seven book series though…

Speaking of which, I am very curious to see how this series will be seven books. I think the first two books both have endings that are dramatic and change the trajectory of the story, but I’m curious what the overarching goal will be.

Anyway, I really did enjoy this book! I’ve been listening to the audiobooks for this series so far and the narrator is really growing on me. I can’t wait to read more!

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The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon

In the year 2049, Paige is employed to use her powers break into people’s minds for the crime lord she works for. People with her powers are sought out, so after being captured, she is forced to live in a secret society that harnesses her powers.

Fantasy, 446 pages, published in 2013

In the year 2049, Paige is employed to use her powers break into people’s minds for the crime lord she works for. People with her powers are sought out, so after being captured, she is forced to live in a secret society that harnesses her powers.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content Warnings: murder, violence, slavery, sexual assault (attempted), torture

After reading (and loving) The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon last year, I knew I wanted to check out her series. I had started reading the ebook a while ago, but I got confused. When I picked up the physical book, the beginning once again confused me. I finally turned to the audiobook and made it through the first 30 or so pages. My biggest complaint about this book is that beginning bit, and I saw recently that the author said she wishes she could rewrite that. It was just so confusing and there was just so much information, so it definitely turned me off of the book several times.

I think in general, the magic could have been explained better. I kind of went along with it, but I never really had a deep understanding of it, possibly because I was so confused by the beginning. The magic is pretty much all based in the mind, so there was no tangible elements to go along with it. I’m hoping I’ll understand it better through the next books.

Other than the confusing magic and worldbuilding, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I absolutely loved the atmosphere of the secret society Paige is taken to. It is so dark and there were some elements of it that were quite messed up and dark, but it was just so cool and interesting. Paige keeps rebelling against her position, and after seeing and experiencing the new world she is supposed to just accept, it is totally understandable.

One thing that I saw a ton of backlash for in negative reviews was the romance, which I disagree with. All humans in this society are chosen by a master, and Paige is no exception. Her master does restrict her at times, but it is more out of the need to protect her by fitting in with societal norms. I don’t think I would describe their relationship as a romance, especially because Paige spends a good portion of the book hating him. I would say it is more of curiosity and tension that evolves into attraction and understanding. Either way, I really enjoyed this portion of the book and I am very excited to see what happens in regards to their relationship in the rest of the series.

I think overall the plot was a little hard to find at times. A lot of the book is Paige just kind of trying to escape the terrible circumstances that she’s in.

This book definitely had it’s issues for me, but I think it created such a cool world and really was fun to read after I got past the confusion. I am very excited to read more books in this series!

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Series I Hope to Start in 2020!

I’ve been putting off starting new series until I have caught up with other series that I’m reading, and 2020 happens to be that time! I’m only going to be listing series that have at least two books out.

I’ve been putting off starting new series until I have caught up with other series that I’m reading, and 2020 happens to be that time! I’m only going to be listing series that have at least two books out.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (currently 3 books, 7 books planned)

After reading and loving The Priory of the Orange Tree last year, I decided I wanted to check out other works by Samantha Shannon! The three books in The Bone Season series are the only thing that she has written.

The Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin (completed at 3 books)

I have heard such amazing things about this series! I always want to start getting into adult fantasy more, but most of my experience so far has been limited to Brandon Sanderson.

The Iskari Series by Kristen Ciccarelli (3 books currently, ? planned)

My best friend recommended this series to me and the more I look into it, the more intrigued I get. It seems that the books can be read in any order. I’m not sure if there are more books planned in this series.

The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks (completed at 5 books)

This is another adult fantasy series that I have heard great things about. I attempted to read Brent Weeks’ The Way of Shadows, but I could barely make it 10 pages. I have heard that this one is better though.

The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb (completed at 3 books)

I have not heard a ton about what this series is actually about, but I’ve heard plenty of good things about it. I think it fits into a larger series, but for now, I just want to see if I enjoy this trilogy. Also, these covers have turned me off of reading this series, but I do want to read them.

The Rebel of the Sands Trilogy by Alwyn Hamilton (completed at 3 books)

This was another recommendation from my best friend! It seems right up my alley and I trust her judgement in books and her knowledge of what I like.

What series do you want to start this year?

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Synopsis: Ead is a lady-in-waiting at the Inys court, where she is an outsider and is tasked with secretly protecting the queen. Arteloth is a Inys nobleman sent in exile to be an ambassador and spy in a land that has turned to the ways of worshiping Wyrms. TanΓ© is across the sea in Seiiki, where she is training to be a dragon rider when she gets caught up with a forbidden outsider. The doctor Niclays has been exiled from the West for trying to do the impossible. As the threat of the Nameless One, approaches, everyone must prepare for the coming conflict in their own way.

Genre: Fantasy

Published: February 26th, 2019

Pages: 827

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: Ead is a lady-in-waiting at the Inys court, where she is an outsider and is tasked with secretly protecting the queen. Arteloth is a Inys nobleman sent in exile to be an ambassador and spy in a land that has turned to the ways of worshiping Wyrms. TanΓ© is across the sea in Seiiki, where she is training to be a dragon rider when she gets caught up with a forbidden outsider. The doctor Niclays has been exiled from the West for trying to do the impossible. As the threat of the Nameless One, approaches, everyone must prepare for the coming conflict in their own way.

Non-Spoiler Review:

I have to say, this book was so intimidating!! It is the biggest book physically I own, so carting it to work for over a week was quite tiring.

All I knew about this book before starting was that it had to do with a queendom and dragons. That isn’t wrong, but it really is a lot more than that. The complexity of this story was really refreshing, and while it was slow at times, it wasn’t very hard to follow. At first, it definitely took me a little bit to get oriented in the world.

There are four different points of view in this book, which is usually something I enjoy, but I definitely found myself favoring Ead’s point of view to the point where I found myself getting disappointed when it wasn’t an Ead chapter. At the end however, I did find myself not really minding the other points of view. Overall though, I understand why we needed those other points of view throughout the story because they were important for a full rounded view of the world.

My one problem with the writing style was that the word “learnΓ¨d” was repeated so often. It was used sort of like a title, but it wasn’t a fomal title. Other than that though, I thought the writing was easy enough to follow and not overly descriptive.

I think the magic system in this world is very cool. I feel like the magic itself is kind of a spoiler, so I won’t go into it, but I liked it. Also, the dragons sounded super cool, and I liked that there was a distinction between dragons and wyrms.

I absolutely adored the romance in this book. It definitely isn’t overpowering to the story, but it is still fairly prominent. I think it was done so well and I’m really happy with how things ended.

Speaking of the ending, I really, really liked it. I was crying over characters that I previously hadn’t cared about at all. I guess an 800-page book will let you get connected to the characters! I like how things resolved, but the ending was still kind of left open-ended. It felt hopeful, like the characters still had things to accomplish and lives to live, even though the story was over.

I really, really loved this book! I definitely think I want to reread it in the future, though the sheer size of it will probably stop me from doing it anytime soon.