Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

9781408857397

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.

Back in July, you might remember me being deliriously happy that I’d received the early sampler of The Mime Order; now, in October, I am completely and utterly ecstatic to have been able to get a hold of the uncorrected proof as part of Bloomsbury’s advocate scheme! Huzzah!

Before I get onto the actual book, I need to talk about how wonderfully packaged it was. As soon as it arrived, I posted this tweet showing off the beautifully drawn map of I -4 it had been wrapped in. This and a few more maps appear at the beginning of the book, as well as some other deliciously designed tid-bits which are placed throughout the novel. It is a beautiful object, even at the uncorrected proof stage. The map itself was printed on lovely paper too, and we all know how much I love paper.

Bloomsbury really put effort into this ARC and it was definitely worth it.

You may have seen various reaction tweets in the last hour or so of my reading. If not, you can see them here, here and here.

24 hours later, I stick to my guns. It is fan-bloody-tastic, brilliant and all sorts of other positive adjectives. The writing has gotten stronger and often left my heart pumping. When I said I was tense in that first tweet, I really meant it. Samantha Shannon is a queen when it comes to building apprehension and making it last, slowly blossoming outwards in the pit of your stomach. Even thinking about it now, my stomach does little flips and turns.

I had expected a lot of this book, even before I read the sampler – it’s a big series and as such, it has to deliver. It does not disappoint. In fact, I like it even more than its predecessor, The Bone Season, and I liked that book a lot. So much that I have been urging people to read it since before its release date and still do. I will be doing the same with The Mime Order.

It is notoriously difficult to pull off a sequel that is as good as the book that came before, let alone one which is better – it’s a fantastic achievement and I feel a readerly sense of pride.

We see a lot of character development, particularly of members of the Seven Seals who didn’t get much air-time in The Bone Season. Other returning characters offer gasp-inducing twists and have a lot more depth than I had anticipated. We are introduced to a lot of new characters, some in more detail than others and I have high hopes to see a lot more of them in book 3 (which I need, I know it’s not written yet but I need it, someone find me a time machine).

As I said when I talked about the sampler, we get a huge insight into voyant politics and this may be why I love the book so much. I love the voyant society and its workings, from penny dreadfuls and pamphlets to scrimmages and spirits. It is a society of change and intrigue and I can’t help but get sucked in by it.

I can’t go into much more detail without giving away spoilers so you’ll just have to take my word that it is fantastic; the plot is twisty, turny and mindbogglingly brilliant; the characters make me want to hug them, love them and keep them safe, and throttle them all at the same time; and the design is beautiful. You really need to buy this book when it comes out.

It is due for release on the 27th January 2015 and you can go to the Bloomsbury website to be notified when it is available, or alternatively you can preorder it from Waterstones!

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