- Characters are divided into three types that you need to keep track of: human regulars (amaurotics), human voyants (commune with spirits), and Rephaim (weird humanesque beings from a neighboring world).
- The book is set in London.
- Voyants are technically illegal, but are allowed to live in certain areas of the city, where “mime-lords” fight for power and commerce.
- Voyants are captured when they are found in the wrong place at the wrong time and they “disappear” – assumed killed.
Our 19-year-old main character Paige Mahoney is a rare kind of voyant, a dreamwalker. She can send her spirit into the minds of other people or animals, and she can sense spirits around her. She is a member of the Seven Seals, followers of the most powerful mime-lord in the Dials, the center of the city where the voyants can live fairly openly.
Paige gets captured on the subway and is taken to the Tower of London to a cell with other voyants that are being held, not killed. They are transported to the city of Oxford, which is off limits to all citizens because of some kind of radiation rumor, but really it’s a walled in slave city run by the Rephaim, who feed off the auras of voyants and use them for entertainment and protection. The leader of the Rephaim is able to kill and absorb the abilities of voyants, and is searching for a dreamwalker to complete her skills. She assigns Paige to her consort, the Warden, for training and safe-keeping. She is expected to strengthen and expand her gift, and once she does she will be killed and her git absorbed.
We also find out that there was an uprising where some of the Rephaim (the scarred ones) tried to help humans escape this slavery back in the 8th year of this weird harvest (called Bone Seasons) and it was quelled but there are Rephaim among them that were a part of it and are working on earning their forgiveness.
This book was good, but there was WAY too much going on. For example, Paige is apparently famous for her involvement with the Seven Seals, but they only talk about it like 3 times. She’s referred to as the Pale Dreamer but it has no weight because they don’t talk about it. Also there is no sense that she and the Warden have any kind of romantic connection, but then suddenly like 40 pages from the end they do, and they heal a flower and it makes the leader of the Rephaim really angry but we don’t understand why outside of the fact that her fiance is making out with the human she’s about to steal an ability from?
When you read this book, there isn’t a lot of backstory. You’re placed right in the middle of the action at the moment that you enter, and you just observe Paige as she moves through her plotline. The author doesn’t do a whole lot of exposition, which isn’t such a big deal until she tries to fit in a million things in the last 100 pages that mean nothing without some kind of buildup or information. I am going to give book 2 a shot to see if maybe I get what I want there, but there are other YA books that do this kind of fantasy dystopia much better.