Better Politics Than Reality – a review of The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

My endeavor into this BookTok recommended series continues. So far it has been on the up and up. I will say that this book has improved from its predecessor, The Bone Season, so it intrigues me still.

But you want the juicy details, don’t you?

After returning from Sheol I and escaping the slavery of the Rephaim, Paige knows that the rest of London’s clairvoyant gangs need to stop this force that has aligned with their already oppressive government. But her gang lord Jaxon threatens her to keep her mouth shut or get flung out onto the streets. She must instead find a new way to circulate information by teaming up with other escapees, finding new allies amongst rival gangs and betraying her own. But how deep does this corruption go when the price on Paige’s head keeps rising?

Shannon absolutely shines in her worldbuilding, which finally got a chance to flourish in full in this book. While it was an interesting choice in the series to introduce the magic before the world (which I have seen in common beat sheets or at least seen comparisons of), it perfectly makes sense in the story and the world to do it in that order. The worldbuilding and when things were revealed helped us learn of the threat followed by what was at stake. And what was at stake was both bleak and beautiful at the same time. So much character was brought into the world and you can tell how much has been carefully put into Scion-ruled London and what is found within their shadows.

This is yet another book that made me realise how much I love sci fi and fantasy based politics. That is frankly ironic considering I want to be more knowledgeable on real life politics but I can never be bothered to pay attention until election season. Maybe if magic and monsters were involved I would be more interested, like in this novel! Gang wars and power balances were prominent in this world as Paige tried to work out how to save her allies in the underworld. And boy, does some juicy stuff happen – let me tell you.

Characters and their relationships greatly improved in this novel compared to The Bone Season. This may have been because Paige returned to relationships that she already established, but it was still great to see her connect and think over her new allies around the city. It was good to see Paige not as isolated and ostracized as she was fighting with in the previous book. She felt so much stronger and defined as a character with these connections she had made, fought for and against.

In spite of all these highs, I found the main fallback to be pacing. And that being quite a low. Too many points were reiterated too many times, and a few of the days that went by many of them could be skipped. This made some parts of the novel a slog as it told me things were happening and being set into motion, which they weren’t. A lot happened but it’s difficult to tell what was worthwhile aside from what coalesced in the climax.

Speaking of the climax, it left on quite the note. I eagerly await the chance for me to read book three.

The Mime Order gets a score of 4/5. The main lesson from this novel is that politics needs magic and monsters.

Yours in writing


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