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In the not-too-distant future, London is controlled by a totalitarian force called Scion, whose sole purpose is to discover and destroy the "unnatural curse" of clairvoyance. When Paige Mahoney, a dreamwalker (a rare type of clairvoyant), is captured by Scion agents, she believes her life is about to end in torture and death. But when she awakens in Sheol I, a prison camp dedicated to teaching voyants to fight an enemy called the Emim, Paige discovers that the world she thought she knew is not at all what it seems. To escape and survive, Paige, who has been renamed XX-59-40, will find herself making unlikely allies as the line between enemies and friends has become blurred almost beyond recognition. With this debut, young British author Shannon (she is getting her degree in literature at Oxford University) has created a world with a very 1984 feel to it. Throw in some otherworldly creatures, some who are supposed protectors and others who just want to eat people, and you have the makings of an epic sf/fantasy series. However, while there is plenty of action and tension, this foundation-building book ends on a nice round note; sadly, readers will not be breathless with anticipation about what happens next. VERDICT The first in a series of seven titles, this book sets the stage for a journey of discovery for Paige who may very well discover that she has to save the world whether she wants to or not. It will be interesting to see what Shannon does in her next installment. [The book has been sold in 18 countries, and actor Andy Serkis's film company has optioned it as well.-Ed.]-Elisabeth Clark, West Florida P.L., Pensacola (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* We are the minority the world does not accept, Paige Mahoney tells us, referring to the struggles of clairvoyants, from soothsayers and mediums to her own high standing as a dreamwalker. In Shannon's galvanic debut, the first in a series of seven novels, she brings us to Scion, a totalitarian state in England circa 2059, where voyants are designated unnatural and clairvoyance is outlawed. Torn from her beloved home in Ireland as a misfit girl, Paige, whose exceptional psychic powers are matched by nearly superhero physical prowess, found sanctuary in London's criminal underworld, working for Jaxon Hall, a gang leader in the clairvoyant syndicate, until her arrest. Now she's imprisoned in a penal colony, Sheol I, formerly the city of Oxford, a netherworld ruled by ectoplasmic beings called the Rephaim. Will Arcturus, Paige's Rephaite keeper, prove to be as diabolical a tyrant as she fears? Not only has Shannon dynamically and shrewdly imagined every element of this spooky yet earthy world-at-war, from its unforgiving hierarchy to vile if essential herbal concoctions, encounters with monstrous predatory creatures, and the terror of spirit combat, she has also tapped into the timeless wellsprings of fear and prejudice, repression and resistance. The result is a dazzlingly brainy, witty, and bewitching tale of outrageous courage, heroic compassion, transcendent love, and the quest for freedom. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An energetic, multifaceted print and online campaign, including viral teaser trailers, will launch this exciting debut, the first in a thoughtful fantasy series by a brilliant young writer.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Shannon offers up a richly imagined debut, opening a projected seven-book series about clairvoyants used as catspaws in the year 2059, two centuries after mysterious events changed the world. Paige Mahoney possesses the illegal and extremely rare power of dreamwalking, using it to serve a criminal syndicate in a London controlled by the organization known as Scion. She's captured and sent to Sheol I, a hidden penal colony established in Oxford and maintained by the extradimensional Rephaim. Claimed by the enigmatic Warden Arcturus, she's trained to be a weapon, all the while dreaming of rebellion and escape. When Paige is drawn into schemes both political and far-reaching, she must fight for her life. The internal mythology is complex and intriguing, the emotional struggle is captivating, and the pace rarely falters as Paige unravels the mysteries and dangers of her new home. This extremely strong beginning will have readers eager to see whether Shannon can maintain her stride for a lengthy series. Agent: David Godwin, David Godwin Associates. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.