Monday, 2 February 2015

The Mime Order


Book Title: The Mime Order
Author: Samantha Shannon
Series: The Bone Season #2
Date Started: January 25th 2015
Date Completed: February 2nd 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Romance, Action, Mystery
Quality Rating: Four Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Four Stars
Final Rating: Four stars

This book was really hard to get into and, like the first book, was full with information all the time that made it hard to keep up. But that conclusion - especially the action - pushed the enjoyment of the whole book up for me.

I do like Shannon's writing style, but the information dumping does get in the way a little while reading. It's a brilliantly original and vibrant society created within the pages of these book, and I adore the whole system of voyants and the Rephaim and everything. But it's just so hard to keep up with - I feel like I need to keep checking the glossary and charts at the back (and that doesn't solve the character problem) - and this means I felt like I was missing half of the story as I was reading. I wouldn't say it reads exactly like adult fiction, but the world can definitely be classed that high. Eventually, I did get into the swing of things, and from them I loved this book, but this was quite a way through.
However, while grappling with the world, I did notice the really nice contrasts in atmosphere compared to the first book. Paige was clearly a lot calmer around here than in Oxford - as was to be expect - and this really enhanced the familiarity and comfort I felt as a reader, despite being in a completely new place.

In the first part of the book - where I was really struggling with the world building and the identities of characters I hadn't read about in over a year - it just seemed like there were chapters listing descriptions of locations and characters one after another. I understand now that it was to get the reader used to the city of London and all the characters that'll be important later, but it really didn't help with trying to get used to the world I remembered, as well as taking in all this new and complex information in. Shannon's books aren't exactly easy on the reader: three main plots seemed to be happening in The Mime Order, and that along with the new world education wasn't easy to learn in time to get more than a little out of the story. When things started to depend a bit more of action rather than theory, things started creeping towards greatness. It's just a real shame it took about 400 pages for me to really get into the world.
But, I absolutely loved the ending of this book. The climax action scene was awesome: I was so impressed by the writing of the action especially here, as well as the general handling of a whole battle like that involving physical and voyant fighting. Even past that, with the 'politics' and tying together of the actual plot, I think it was done really well and we're in a really interesting place for the start of the next book.

Though I liked most of the principle characters, there were just so many with only limited involvement that I soon started to forget who Paige trusted and who was out to get her and who belonged to which syndicate and...
I do like Paige as a protagonist, despite her vaguely irritating start before she got a reality check from Nick. She is definitely capable and her stubbornness is used for more than antagonising others, which is common with female protagonists these days. But, I hate to say it, but Paige seems too nice to be a successful gangster. I get Jaxon's desire for her gift, but other than that why does he want her as his mollisher? Surely he still gets to keep her gift if she's just part of the gang?
Warden reacted realistically to things that had happened in the previous book, which made me really happy. I was worried at his reintroduction at first, thinking it would go the typical way and he'd be pushing the story forward again and Paige would stop being the stronger character she had grown into, but actually he took a smaller role than I'd first thought and it really benefitted the story in my opinion.
I was really excited to get to know Jaxon, but I have to say he didn't form as a completely sold character to me. his personality was a bit over the place, and by the way Paige had described him in The Bone Season, I was expecting someone a lot more fierce. Having said that, Jaxon did have that dangerous side, but it never pushed the limits of what Paige was up against elsewhere to me.

The pace itself in The Mime Order wasn't too bad, but it's just so hard to get into this story when you don't know the world as much as the author does. Things just seem unimportant as you're reading because you don't get their significance until much later. This makes quite a few of the chapters drag along. The whole knack to these books is sorting them out in your head before you can really enjoy the narrative itself. It's just easier said than done.

The Mime Order is a good continuation of the Bone Season series, but it wasn't as consistently exciting as the first book for me, which was quite disappointing. However, I think where we've left off leaves a lot of interesting things to happen in the future. If you like dystopian, sci-fi/fantasy books with some action and a good bit of romance then this series is really great. Though I wouldn't call it 'the next Harry Potter' as it's being called, it's still a great series and is going to get better and better.

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