Writer, 22, the next Rowling?

Writer, 22, the next Rowling?

New writer Samantha Shannon has gone from a teen with a dream to a six-figure book deal with Bloomsbury for a projected seven-part series of fantasy novels.

Thanks to the hype over her dystopian dark fantasy world, the 22-year-old was being hailed as the next J.K. Rowling even before her debut book, The Bone Season, was released in stores last month.

But the young Brit does not appreciate the parallels being drawn.

In a telephone interview from her home in London, she says: "I find the comparison quite uncomfortable because J.K. Rowling is one of my favourite authors and why would you be looking for the next someone when the original one is still going strong?"

A better analogy might be found with other popular teen dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games.

The Bone Season is set in the year 2059 and stars feisty heroine Paige Mahoney, a clairvoyant who works in London's criminal underworld before she is kidnapped and taken to a savage training school to develop her psychic powers.

Add a mysterious alien overlord for romantic interest and several tributes to the Bronte sisters, courtesy of Shannon's recently received bachelor of arts degree in English language and literature from St Anne's College in Oxford, and the result is a rip-roaring page-turner that is receiving reviews almost as good as the advance hype.

Britain's The Globe And The Mail selected The Bone Season as among "the best of the bestsellers" this month, alongside another dystopian thriller, Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam, while the Telegraph called Shannon's debut an "original and enjoyably escapist fictional world".

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