Our Discussion of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Well, we might not have had a huge group this month, but when we met to discuss The Bone Season, we had a lot to say. In fact, I wrote myself a note about halfway through which said, "This discussion was lively and full of outrage." As always, I will try to hit some of the highlights from our discussion:
- Hola started out by stating that she hated the book. In fact, she hated many things about it. For example, she hated that the main character fell in love with the guy who was drugging her. This was something that bothered many readers, including Furry, who said, "It's like a version of Jungle Fever."
- Theresa had started out with the audiobook, which she said was read by an excellent reader. However, on CD number 12, then "Ok, this is the porn scene! Weren't we just at the play?!" One of her complaints about the book was that there were a lot of things that didn't seem to ring true for the main character.
- By this point, many people were nodding their heads. There was a lot of that happening in this discussion.
- Mike said, "Thank God, I didn't read it!" He had started the book, but stopped in the first pages when he discovered, "Oh my God, a flowchart!" For his own reading taste, this was too much and was unappealing. He also stated that he felt the introductory paragraph in the book sounded like a movie trailer.
- Furry said that she felt the book lacked skillful worldbuilding and that many things just weren't logical. She said, "I kept thinking, this could be good." However, she felt it was a mashup of a supernaturl romance and a YA dystopia.
- Menolly offered a few thoughts on her theory of the "no touching" rule, speculating that the Emin and the Rephs are connected to each other, and that touching would create a bond (which made her say that they really should be breeding together to create a super-human). She also referred back to the flowchart and said that she took it at face value.
- This was not, however, the end of the commentary on the flowchart. While one reader found she liked it, she said she liked it more in theory (to imagine different stories) than as a helpful tool. Other readers, however, made comments like this: "And it's a horrible flowchart!"
- There were other flaws that readers found with the book (which are easier, I think, just to list in one point here). Complaints included: no sense of time in the book, that the story was missing stuff to let the reader know where they're going; and that the story was too bleak throughout.
- But then, the comment from Hola was that the story seems like it's all (from the viewpoint of the main character) and is "I hate these people. I hate these people. Oh, he's hot . . . "
- Burt Macklin, FBI noted that he listened to the audiobook (which, frankly, never got better) and also that he remembered seeing a comment on Goodreads that he agreed with, that the author's publisher did a huge dis-service, billing her as the next J.K. Rowling."
- We did have some general discussion about the appeal of this book to younger readers. One of our group, who hadn't been able to make the discussion, had noted that she really enjoyed the book. She found that the writing was interesting and felt a connection to the characters.
- Menolly and Jen had both found elements of the book that they liked, although Menolly said that she felt it just a glimmer from time to time. Jen said that there were some cool ideas here, but that it just didn't make for a great book. Both wondered how this would be stretched to 7 books (which other readers wondered about, as well). Furry agreed that there were some cool ideas here, but that they felt too crammed in.
- However, there was no appeasing some readers. Coming around to the topic of the characters in the book, more than one reader felt frustration. People commented that the side characters didn't feel like you could get to know them well enough to care about them. And, Hola commented, "I was really annoyed that everyone wanted to sleep with her (the main character). And if not, they're gay!" "Also, the sexual stuff is just creepy." Didn't I say this discussion was lively and full of outrage?
- Eileen said that she came to the meeting originally liking the book, although after sitting through the discussion, had changed her mind a bit. She liked the author's prose, but felt that there was too much from the viewpoint of the narrator.
Overall, this book made for a very interesting discussion, even though it turned out that many readers didn't care too much for the book. We gave it the codes UTP, XEN, PNL, ALT, EDP and GB and the averaged-out rating was a 3.5.
As always, we welcome more discussion --- please feel free to leave a comment! And, for anyone who may be interested, The Mime Order (the sequel to this book) will be out at the end of January, 2015.