Straying into fantasy

HCover of The Bone seasonave you ever had a book turn up as a hold and you have no memory of why you might have requested it? After getting an email telling me The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon was waiting for me at my local library, I was puzzled as to why on earth I might have requested it, since it’s a book in the fantasy genre. As a rule I am a hard core mystery and thriller fan – give me a Louise Penny, Michael Connelly or Michael Robotham and I’ll be happily content.

Cover of Club DeadBut fantasy? With characters and things in the story that don’t exist in real life? Not my thing, thanks. My only exposure to the adult novel world of fantasy is limited to the occasional foray into the weird and wonderful happenings in the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. After all, who can resist a sexy vampire or werewolf every now and then for a bit of escapism?

However, as The Bone Season was there, and I was short on things to read so I decided to give it a go, on the assumption that some time in the forgotten past I must have read a review of the book and been sufficiently intrigued.

And I’m glad I did! Although the four pages of the ‘seven orders of clairvoyance’ at the start of the book, did make me pause and reconsider my decision momentarily. Set in London in 2059 under control of a security force called Scion, nineteen year old Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld as a dreamwalker, whose developing skill is breaking into the minds of other people. Clairvoyants or ‘unnaturals’ are a hunted species in this world and when Paige is captured she finds herself held prisoner by The Rephaim, an otherworldly powerful group of beings in Oxford, the city that has been kept secret for two centuries. Life is grim in Sheol 1 and Paige finds herself with little option but to try and work with her enigmatic master Warden Arcturus.

Shannon writes well enough to hold a non-fan of fantasy in thrall of the developing story – and the ending satisfies while clearly setting the scene for the second of what will be seven books in the series. Film rights have already been sold, so no doubt Bone Season the movie will appear on screens in due course.

If you want to keep up to date with the fantasy publishing world, you can subscribe to the monthly newsletter or you can get your fill of your preferred genre by checking out more of the same from Christchurch City Libraries If you Like suggestions.

I suspect I’ll be on the waiting list for when the next book in The Bone Season series comes out, have you strayed outside your reading comfort zone lately?

Christchurch – this week in history (February 17 to February 23)

February 17, 1908
30-metre whale stranded at Okarito. The skeleton is now on display at the Canterbury Museum.

February 17, 1939
New Millers Department Store building ( the former Civic Offices) opens. Designed by G. A. J. Hart, the building contained the South Island’s first escalator.

February 18, 1982
Internationally famous writer Dame Ngaio Marsh dies at her home in Cashmere.

February 19, 1873
Anglican synod decides (by a narrow margin) not to sell the present site of ChristChurch Cathedral.

February 22, 1909
New “Press” building in operation in Cathedral Square. Designed by J.J. Collins and R.D. Harman, it was the city’s first ferro-concrete building.

February 22, 1960
New airport terminal (designed by Paul Pascoe) opens.

Photo of first house on the Canterbury Plains, Riccarton

The first house on the Canterbury Plains, Riccarton [ca. 1890]

Christchurch chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

More January and February events in our Christchurch chronology.