The Mime Order

17901125by Samantha Shannon
Fantasy/Science Fiction
4 of 5 stars
sequel to The Bone Season, part of a seven-book series

This series does a lot of genre-bending, so “fiction” just about works for me. There’s some magic, some dystopian aspects, some steampunk nuances, the Rephaim are aliens so you could say there’s some science fiction thrown in as well…this series is its own animal. Maybe a sleek leopard with one clunky peg-leg (a metaphor for the enormous amount of indexed terms, voyant orders, and large cast of characters that can blur together at times). For the most part, this leopard makes for a smooth, focused read, but occasionally it develops a limp. Enough with the peg-leg leopard.

My Goodreads review of The Bone Season is as follows: Very good, but I was not “wowed.” Bit of a slow start filled with some confusing exposition, but about 250 pages in, it becomes a much more impressive debut. Biggest credit goes to having a villain (Nashira) that’s not stupid or prone to monologuing, as well as to the enigmatic Warden, who never says too much.

Full disclosure: I was put off enough by the first book that I didn’t re-read it before jumping into the Mime Order. I remembered enough of the general plot that I figured anything else was superfluous, and I was mostly right. A couple moments were alluded to that I didn’t recall, but that’s my due. However, I enjoyed this book a million times more than its predecessor. Maybe because the structure was clearer and I was already familiar with the world, but Shannon’s growth as a writer is very evident. But if a huge cast of characters and lots of made up slang annoyed you before, it still will. That said, this was enough of an improvement from the first one that I will probably read the rest of the series. It was as theatrical as the cover (which incidentally, this book is one of the most beautiful in my collection) and there’s so much more to love here, if you give it a chance.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, The Mime Order is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads: 

  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – This is a slow-build plot with intense world-building and lighter character development. I confess, I didn’t finish it, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be someone else’s cup of tea.
  • Lirael by Garth Nix – Again, a slow-building plot with a reasonably compelling female protagonist.
  • A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer – Teenage Faris is sent to finishing school by her corrupt uncle so he can continue ruling her dukedom for her. When she realizes Greenlaw College unofficially teaches magic, things get interesting. The comparison to Harry Potter isn’t accurate, I’d peg it for being more similar to A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – Kell is one of the last Antari, magicians that can travel between the four parallel worlds that converge in London. But when he accidentally transports a piece of Black London to Red London, all hell breaks loose. See my review here.

If you want something that moves a bit quicker, try these YA authors:

  • anything by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes – She writes very fast-paced YA fantasy.
  • The Hunger Games or Divergent – dystopian worlds by Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth, respectively, both with female protagonists. See my review of The Hunger Games here and Divergent here.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – We follow a girl trying to survive after the zombie apocalypse. See my review here.

Obviously, if you want to take Shannon’s world to a darker, more realistic level, refer to these masters of dystopian worlds: George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Margaret Atwood


11 Comments (+add yours?)

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