Title: The Mime Order
Author: Samantha Shannon
Genre: Science fiction, fantasy, dystopian, adult fiction
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London...
As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city's gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.
When I picked up this series, I was really curious and excited about a world that was full of clairvoyants and spirits. I was intrigued by the idea of a psychic mafia and an unknown entity secretly pulling the strings.
While the world was exciting, I can't say the worldbuilding was. For most of The Bone Season, I was really confused about all the terms that were being thrown around. Not only were there dozens of clairvoyants/voyants with non-intuitive names, there was also lots of British slang that was unfamiliar to me. There's a glossary, but if you have to keep flipping to the back of the book every other page, something's not quite right. In The Mime Order, I had a better handle on what was going on so this wasn't as much of an issue. It was still hard to keep track of everything as new characters and types of voyants were introduced, though. The entire book felt like the author was trying to cram in every detail about the world. It was very detailed, yes, but a lot of it was unnecessary/confusing/presented in infodumps.
This wouldn't bother me so much if I had connected more to the characters. In book one, I was not a huge fan of Paige because she was so selfish and was always complaining about her relatively good situation while her peers were truly suffering. Despite everyone's interest in her potential, she herself was almost cowardly and it wasn't until the very end when she started to show signs of putting others before herself. I was hoping Paige would continue this in The Mime Order, and to some extent she did, but the majority of the book was still Paige being whiny and selfish. I really enjoyed her transformation at the end of this book though. She really owned her identity (in more ways than one) and finally took a step towards defending what she believed in instead of being someone's puppet.
While the plot of The Bone Season was full of revelations about Scion, the Rephaim, voyants, and the spirit world, this book is more focused on the aftermath of the escape from Sheol II. I enjoyed seeing things more from the Scion London perspective, especially with all the politics and betrayals that went along with the voyant underworld. Jaxon was a fascinating character, and I'm glad he had a larger role in this book.
I'm not sure if I will continue this series, but I did enjoy this book. I'm not hugely invested in these characters, but it's not a bad series and I can see that there's a lot of potential for revolution and earth-shattering consequences in future books.
*A free ecopy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*