ARC Review – The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) – Samantha Shannon

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Summary:

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.

One Sentence Review:

The rare sequel that outshines its predecessor.

Review:

Okay, so perhaps I was a bit harsh on The Bone Season. While I stand behind the meat of my review, I think the completely pointless comparison to Harry Potter pushed me over the proverbial edge. That said, I really was mixed on that book and I honestly don’t know if I’d given this one a chance had the 100-page sampler not turned into a download of the full text if you were patient enough to wait for it on Net Galley. I’m glad I did though, because I quite honestly enjoyed this book, and feel like there were improvements almost everywhere I looked.

First and foremost: the slang. In the first book there was so much slang I was left with the two awful choices of losing any moment by constantly looking up terms and not bothering and missing out on part of the story. I decided the latter choice was the lesser of two evil options, but I unquestionably felt like I was missing out. Whether or not she cut down on the slang, my perception is that it is greatly reduced. No longer do pages throw half-dozen or more terms at you. You can use context to get an idea of what’s going on, and I only felt the need to look up a term once. It’s a vast improvement. Also greatly reduced are references to The Troubles. The world is complex enough that it just wasn’t necessarily, so it’s nice to see they’ve at the point where it’s easy enough to ignore.

More important than those stylistic changes, however, are changes to the story pacing. The Bone Season was a ridiculously busy book between setting up the world of the Underground, Sheol I, introducing the Rephaim and of course plotting and escaping. It was a LOT and the book almost felt like it went at a breakneck speed. For The Mime Order it felt like Shannon realized she had six more books to tell this story and has taken a step back to slow down, in a great way. There’s really only two concerns here (once you get past the obligatory wrap-up of the rescue): the state of the Voyant underworld and her quest to get the word out about the Rephaim and Nashira. In fact, the Rephaim definitely take a back-seat. Although their presences can be felt, they maintain a minimal presence (this extends to Warden, though fans of Warden/Paige should ultimately be happy with his appearances) in this book, and I think the book is stronger for it. There’s an enjoyable twist at the end, and by taking this book to set things up for the future, the later books should ultimately be more satisfying for it.

Finally, this time around, I definitely liked Paige more this time. I had trouble buying that she’d want to save other Voyants during her escape in The Bone Season, but all of her actions made sense here. If she fails, she’s dead. It’s pretty much that simple, plus in her crusade she’s not recklessly endangering herself to save some people she has a tenuous connection to . Ultimately, she’s more relatable.

So yeah, all around this is just a much better book. Fans of the first book should enjoy this for sure, and fans on the fence like myself should give this a shot because you may just be pleasantly surprised as I was.

Verdict: Buy It

Available: January 27th

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