The Mime Order, by Samantha Shannon
The Mime Order is the second book in The Bone Season series (which also happens to be the title of the first book). The books cross several genres, because they focus on a dystopian London, which has been invaded by creatures from another plane of existence with technology far greater than ours, and clairvoyants of many different varieties. The main character in both of these books is a dreamwalker named Paige Mahoney.
In this book, Paige has escaped from the penal colony Sheol I, only to find that she is the most wanted person in London. Her image is plastered all over the television, and her only hope is to return to the mime-lord Jax’s gang of clairvoyants. The other fugitives who escaped with her have it rough, and she does what she can to provide for them and see them. Some have gone missing in the flight from Sheol I.
Paige’s struggle to inform people about the Rephiam who control Sheol I and feed on clairvoyants are hindered by Jax, by disbelief from others, and from her lack of evidence. Paige finds her opportunity to speak to all of the underworld of London when the Underlord is killed. But, will Paige survive being the main suspect in his murder? What happened to Warden after the escape? How will she spread the word about the Rephiam without Jax’s help, and be believed?
Samantha Shannon’s ability to build a world from scratch is positively amazing. The details involved in describing the world in which Paige Mahoney lives are really part of what makes the book for me. This book also combines three genres, which isn’t an easy task. The author is also quite interesting. She was born and raised in West London, studied English Language and Literature at St. Anne’s College in Oxford, and her first book, The Mime Order, was published when she was just 23.
Samantha Shannon will be at the library on Tuesday, February 10th for a Salon @615 event. More details on the Salon Website.
We Are Pirates, by Daniel Handler
We Are Pirates is a novel for adults written by the same author who wrote the A Series of Unfortunate Events novels for kids, under the name Lemony Snicket. This book was filled with a lot of the same snark that his children’s novels have, but the subject matter is a lot darker. This book is modern fiction, laced with high adventure.
The book is told from the perspective of three characters – one who appears only in the beginning and end without really getting a name, Phil and Gwen. Phil is a radio producer who is struggling to find his next big break. He wants so much more than what his current life offers him, but he fumbles through interactions with other people as if he were off on another planet.
Gwen is Phil’s teenaged daughter. She is incredibly bored with her life, frustrated at the lack of privileges her parents give her, and terribly embarrassed about a burn mark on her leg from a childhood accident. In the beginning of the book, she is caught shoplifting at a local drug store.
Both of these characters seek something more in their lives – adventure, success, true friends, and love. While Phil goes off to present his latest show idea with his young secretary in tow, Gwen gathers together a band of outlaws (including a man from a local senior home who she has been spending time with) to steal a boat and head out on an adventure on the high seas – of San Francisco Bay. If you expect this book to have a happy ending, much like his popular children’s series, you will be horribly disappointed.
Daniel Handler’s book could be considered a commentary on some of the excesses of everyday life. Here we have two characters that have just about everything they need in life, and yet they are bored. They want more. While the book is both humorous and dark, he turns a critical eye on we handle age and how we treat the world around us, and take it for granted.
Daniel Handler will be at the library on February 14th for a Salon @ 615 event. More details on the Salon Website.