Published by Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: January 26th 2016
I don’t read a lot of young adult science fiction but when Samantha Shannon’s first book The Bone Season came out I was intrigued enough that I was curious about the next chapter in the life of her protagonist, Paige Mahoney. Shannon returns Paige to London after she escapes from Sheol I, a penal colony, in The Mime Order. As what is known as an Unnatural (a human with some kind of supernatural powers) she is sent there to be trained by an alien species known as the Rephaim to hunt her own kind. Instead, Paige and her guard/mentor, known to her only as Warden, strike up a relationship and he helps plan the uprising that leads to her escape with a handful of other prisoners. Now back in the Citadel (a portion of London where the Unnaturals are forced to live), Paige is wanted not only by the head of the Rephaim, Nashira, but is also a target for the Scion, the security corporation that hunts down the Unnaturals. Her only option is to return to her boss, a crime lord known as Jaxon, and hope for his protection so that she can slide back into her old life.Unfortunately, shortly after her return the Underlord of the Unnaturals’ syndicate is found murdered. His death creates an opening for the remaining Lords and Queens in the six cohorts to compete to become the new leader of the Unnatural Assembly. Paige is expected to fight alongside Jaxon, even with a bounty on her head.
Sound like a lot? It is and I haven’t even gotten to the various talents each type of Unnatural can possess. It’s enough to know that Paige is a dreamwalker,the rarest of the Unnaturals—a clairvoyant who can get into other people’s minds. Add to that the groups and subgroups in London, their territory and the mystery of why the Underlord was murdered and it’s easy to see why the novel comes with maps, an organizational chart and a glossary. If that scares you off, it shouldn’t. I read The Bone Season back in 2013 and yet was able to fall right back into Paige’s world after the first chapter. Mostly because The Mime Order is in the order of novel that takes you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final word. As in a lose-sleep, think-about-getting-back-to-it kind of book. Yes, dystopian YA science-fiction is well-covered territory and there are hints of books/movies such as Divergent, and The X-Men in The Mime Order, but, Shannon creates a worldscape that stands on its own. My least favorite thing about the novel is that it is only book 2 of 7 and book 3 won’t be out until November. That’s good news for you because if you start now and pace yourself (not likely!) you can immerse yourself in Paige’s world and not have to leave for a very long time.