I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury India in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Paige Mahoney led as normal a life as “unnaturals” did in Scion London. Under the facade of working in an oxygen bar, she ran with the underground mobsters, a.k.a the mime lord and his crew of I-4 – The Seven Seals. Using her clairvoyance to pry on other people’s minds while warding off unneeded attention from the group; Paige had only ever heard of Oxford in whispered conversations of a city no more.
But after her captors drag her along with many other voyants and amaurotics (non voyants), she sees for herself what has become of this city. A race of powerful, merciless beings called Rephaim dominate the land of Oxford, now known as Sheol I. Where the unnaturals of London are being held as slaves. A barter between Scion and the Rephaim that conveniently rids the city of unnaturals at the same time providing man force to the Rephaite. Here, in Sheol I, the voyants are trained by their keepers to fight and any disobedience is met with brutality. So when Arcturus Mesarthim, Paige’s cold and calculative keeper, shows more signs of understanding than expected, she is dubious about his intentions. From thereon she seeks to unveil his motives and do what it takes to leave Sheol I with the rest of the captives.
This book is a lot complicated than the average dystopian novel because of the system and rules constructed by Samantha Shannon. I don’t deny that its commendably done, but in the beginning things are a little hard to process; there’s a lot of unfamiliar terms (explained in due course; plus the glossary at the end helps). You just have to get through it and its like seeing the sun through a dissipating fog. Beautiful and awe inducing. Paige’s character is one of the most believable protagonist’s I’ve read in awhile. She fights her way through difficult situations and has a killer luck that swoops in to save her. Warden/Arcturus might seem like your typical dark, mysterious bad boy but he is not. He is much above and mature than that stereotype. It just goes to show that external demeanor doesn’t always match one’s internal conflicts and outlook.
This being the first book I’ve read by the author, her writing style was very welcoming. Easy to understand with the right amount of focus on details. The maps also helped to picture the area being spoken about. Paige’s friends back home, i.e, The Seven Seals, have known her for a long time. They create that ambiance of home and are integral to the person she has become. I really liked scenes with them because each of them are so different, they dazzle when they are together. The plot is so rich and complex, its challenging and fun all together. I thought it might be predictable but towards the end I was proved totally wrong which made me rather happy cause a good book makes you think you know it, but in actuality you don’t. And that’s the mastermind’s trick. Kudos to Samantha Shannon for this absolutely satisfying and thrilling journey through the realms of 2059. I can’t wait to get done with the second book! Recommended to all scifi, fantasy, dystopian fans. A wonderful treat 🙂
Ratings – 5 stars on 5.