Have you finished The Hunger Games trilogy? Read your Harry Potter books to pieces? Been through the His Dark Materials novels too many times to count? Well, this fall, there's a new post-apocalyptic series in town. It's ambitious, complex—and the brainchild of an author who was still at university when she finished the first book.
The Bone Season will be published by Bloomsbury on August 20, and the buzz is already building. It's the first in a projected seven-book series from Samantha Shannon, a 21-year-old who has just graduated from Oxford University, and it's already been optioned for film by Imaginarium Studios. Set in 2059 Britain, a world where psychic abilities are commonplace—and illegal—the book stars 19-year-old Paige Mahoney. Part Lisbeth Salander, part Oliver Twist, Paige is part of an underground gang of clairvoyants who try to undermine the authority of the security force currently in charge of the country, Scion.
But when Paige's rare dreamwalking talent is revealed, she is captured and thrown into a prison colony in Oxford, a city that most believe has been destroyed. Oxford is the realm of the Rephaim, powerful, magical beings whom even Scion fear. And that's just the beginning of the discoveries for our heroine, who develops a complicated relationship with the Rephaim who is charged with her care.
If you couldn't tell by this description, there's a LOT going on in The Bone Season. But though complicated, Shannon's world is meticulously detailed and has a strong internal logic that becomes clear to the patient reader. And while you wait for that to kick in, there's plenty of entertaining action—the pace of The Bone Season seldom slacks off, and the strong and resourceful Paige is a memorable heroine. Early days yet, but this is one buzz book that just might merit its hype. You can watch a trailer for the book here. Will you pick this one up?
Related content: Samantha Shannon was one of our 2013 Women to Watch.