Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sept 1: A Book Review

Wow.  Thirty days of blogging.  Not sure why I said I'd do that.  That's a LOT of words.  So I figured I'd cheat a few times (or like twenty seven times) and do some book reviews.  At first I was going to start at the beginning and review a whole bunch at a time, from Jan and Feb, but I want to give The Bone Season its own post and I want to write it now while it's fresh on my mind.

*I wrote the beginning of this post yesterday and have decided to do two books, possibly three* 

*I wrote that before I wrote the review and have changed my mind and am only doing Bone Season*

This is a newly released book by first time author Samantha Shannon, who was born in 1991.

Let that sink in for a sec.  I'm not math whiz, but I racked my brain (wracked?) and decided that this makes her about twenty two.  And she's written this book and gotten enough people interested and said that she's going to keep going, so someone somewhere has paid her MILLIONS OF DOLLARS for a seven book series.

A debut author.  Who is TWENTY TWO.

This is what the back of the book says.  Or rather, I'm assuming this is what the back of the book says, I haven't held a flesh and blood book for a while, but I figure they still put this on the back.  This is what the description tab on amazon says.

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.
It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.
It's not like a normal future book though, as you go through, you realize that it doesn't have our regular history.  Shannon is British and the setting is London and they talk about British history, but it's not anything Ava learned about in school yet, so I don't know what was real and what wasn't.  But something happened with Queen Victoria's son Edward and he went crazy and murdered people and then the world decided that psychic people were bad and had to be herded together and killed (Hilter anyone? JK Rowling anyone?) and it goes in from there.
I first heard about this in the What to Do This Summer issue of Entertainment Weekly.  They gave a brief summary, a somewhat horrified, somewhat awe-inspiring blurb about the multi million dollar deal, and reported that some people (meaning, not them, that way if it WASN'T true, they wouldn't look like assholes, and if it WAS true they'd look like they knew it all along) say Shannon is the next JK Rowling.
Samantha Shannon is NOT the next JK Rowling.
Wanna know who the next JK Rowling is? JK Rowling is the next JK Rowling. (In defense of whoever these people might be, the EW issue came out before anyone knew about Cuckoo's Calling, so maybe they thought JK Rowling might be done? Casual Vacancy was sort of a dud.)

**********SPOILER ALERTS*********

I'm going to talk about the book openly and without regard for those of you who might be reading it or want to read it.  I haven't figured out a way to talk about books WITHOUT spoilers yet, so...whataryagonnado, amiright?

**********SPOILER ALERTS*********

I liked this book.  A lot.  I LOVED the story, I liked Paige and Liss and especially Michael, and even though I think we're not supposed to (maybe? I got confused) I liked David. I called it that Warden was a good guy (back me up Angela, you know I did!!) but after the first few chapters, I think it's pretty obvious and even morons would be able to call that one.  David...not sure about that.  I think he will do good things, but I hesitate to call him a good guy. 
I thought a lot of the scenes between Paige and Warden were ripped from various Harry Potter fanfics concerning Snape.  I realize that most normal people don't read fanfics, but whatever, I'm not ashamed. Well, I am, but not as much.  The wound cleansing, the piano playing, it was all pretty standard Snape fanfic fluff.  Which isn't a good or bad thing, necessarily, just a thing I want to mention.
I thought Jax was a dick and I can't figure out where she's going to go with that whole arc.  In the beginning, I was immersed in the Dials (and side note, I get to shop there!!! I LOVE LONDON!!!) and her group there, and I was pissed when I realized we wouldn't be going back, but then I got roped into life in Oxford, so I didn't mind anymore. 

**********SPOILER ALERT IS OVER*********

So yeah, great story.  Great.  My problem was the writing.  Do any of yall read James Patterson? I cannot for the LIFE of me figure out how he is a multi million dollar, best times selling author.  I read The Lakehouse and it was so painful I literally cried while reading it.  The doorbell rang.  She got up.  She answered the door.  It was Karl.  Hello Karl, she said.  Hello, he said.
Fuck. My. Life.
I don't get it!!! How can people read like that?!?!? I mean, whatever, I want everyone to read anything, no matter what.  I read Twilight, I won't judge.  But still!!!
Anyway, a lot of Bone Season was like that, short choppy sentences where there should have been elegant prose (which you know Shannon is capable of, because there's also a good bit of elegant prose) and the grammar errors were more than I'm willing to chalk up to the Kindle conversion of her manuscript. I don't know what an editor's job is SPECIFICALLY, but I have an idea that cathching simple grammatical errors is part of the description. 
This will be my only rant on this particular issue. I wanted to just skip it, but I can't let it go.  Ready?
EveryONE, someONE, no ONE, these are are SINGULAR.  As in, to be followed by HE, SHE, I, HIM, HER, ME.  Got it?
So when Shannon says (and this isn't a direct quote because I already deleted the book off my phone so I can't actually look anything up) "Someone grabbed my shoulders and lifted me into THEIR arms" it drives me BATSHIT CRAZY.
And Shannon does it a LOT.  A shit ton, you might say.
I know it sounds awkward, and I know people don't talk like this (which I will adress in just a second) but what she SHOULD say is "Someone grabbed my shoulders and lifted me into HIS arms." Or "Someone grabbed my shoulders and lifted me into HER arms." Or even, most awkward of all, "Someone grabbed my shoulders and lifted me into HIS OR HER arms."
I realize that in a world where TWERK, SELFIE, and BADASSERY (which I love, by the way) have been added in a ACTUAL WORDS, proper grammar might be a lot to ask for.  But for a multi million dollar book deal, concerning an author who LITERALLY JUST GOT OUT OF COLLEGE, I expect more.
Now, obviously, writers have the freedom to get around this awkward phrasing when their CHARACTERS are talking. If Paige were to shout "Someone is here, I can hear them banging on the door!!!" instead of "Someone is here, I can here him (or her, or him or her) banging on the door!!!" I would OF COURSE not have a problem.  Paige is not an author.  Paige isn't being paid millions of dollars for this sentence.  But I just can't believe that Shannon's editor didn't redline that, or circle it, or fix it, or do whatever it is that editors do.  And it wasn't just once or twice, it was a LOT. 
Am I being too picky? Probably.  But I could have let a few mistakes slip, a few choppy sentences, especially since the story was so good.  But knowing how much she's been paid, knowing that I spent ten bucks for this book THE DAY IT CAME OUT, so excited was I about THE NEXT JK ROWLING, knowing that I will be invested in these words for years to come, I expect more.  I held her to a higher standard than those fucking Twilight books, and I expected more. 
Phew.  I feel better.  Poor Nick gets bored with my rants, so he'll appreciate my getting it all out on here instead. I am going to steal a rating system from one of my FAVORITE blogs (go meet Meredith, she's AMAZING, you will NOT regret it) and rate this book as Drop Everything and Read. 
That might seem strange given that I just ripped Shannon a new one about the grammar and choppy sentences, but I really did love the story, and I think this book is going to be a big deal, so you might want to get ahead of the curve. 
Now I'm confused about her ratings and can't figure out which is better, Drop Everything and Read, or Stayed Up All Night. I'm assuming Stayed Up All Night is the best, so that's what I'm going with.  The Bone Season wasn't worth staying up all night for, but it was just a SMIDGE under that. I'd better make up my own rating system.
Did you read it? Are you going to? Wanna talk about it?
Engelbrecht out. 


  1. Am so glad you are back to the blog! I don't know you, but you sound so much like me it's scary!
    I had a hard time with short choppy sentences in A Million Little Pieces, do you remember that book...the one Oprah got all upset about because the author lied. At least the choppy was more relevant in that book to the nature of the character. Even so I began to skim some of the conversation. That being said...I wasn't even going to read this book, but now I'm thinking I might have to do so. Thanks for the review!

    1. I never read it. I feel so dumb, but I can't get into non fiction. I know it ended up NOT being non fiction, but still. Everyone is reading all these memiors and smart stuff and I'm like YOUNG ADULT!!! KISSY FACE!!! FASHION!!! Ugh. But whatareyagonnado, right? Anyway. I cringe when people read books I recommend!!! If you hate it, I'll feel like I made you waste your time!!!

      But I still recommend it, mainly because I think it's going to be big and people will be talking about it a lot.


  2. due...due to the nature. Sorry, I stink at proofreading. Ahh, that's why I'm not a book editor!

  3. Four things:
    1. I'm excited you are blogging again.
    2. Keep the book reviews coming. You haven't steered me wrong yet.
    3. Writing dialogue scares the shit out of me.
    4. Speaking of shitting while scared, I'll bet that young author of yours was more terrified than excited when she got her 7 book deal. Can you imagine the pressure of being compared to JK when you aren't? Yikes.

    Oh, five things. Are you on Goodreads? You should be.

    1. That's funny, when I write I feel like it's ALL dialogue!! Like, this is WAY too much dialogue, you're not writing, you're just copying a conversation. Weird, right? I am on book seventeen for the year and I plan on reviewing them all, that's the only way I can realistically blog for thirty days straight. Either that, or review my favorite socks.
      And thankyou, honestly, I'm not being snarky, I never really thought of how Shannon must be quaking in her boots about being compared to Jo. It just never occurred to me, I sort of thought of her as a stuck up bitch who thinks she's the coolest thing since sliced bread, but it's fairly obvious from the writing style that she's NOT a stuck up bitch. And I peeked at her blog, she's sort of the typical writer (read: nerd alert.) So maybe I'll cut her some slack. Which is rare for me. I can't imagine how much pressure must be coming with that book deal, I guess I only really thought about the money.
      I am on goodreads, but I haven't quite figured it out yet. Mostly I've been using it to get around my 'don't read the ends first anymore' rule and read spoilers in the reviews :(