Thanks so much to Bloomsbury USA and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All quotes are from the ARC and subject to change.
Warning: If you have not read The Bone Season or The Mime Order I strongly suggest not looking at this review because it will spoil the first and second book for you.
Author: Samantha Shannon
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia, Paranormal
The hotly anticipated third book in the bestselling Bone Season series – a ground-breaking, dystopian fantasy of extraordinary imagination
Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.
But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.
Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…
It’s no secret that I am a HUGE fan of The Bone Season. So, you can imagine, after over a two year wait, how thrilled I was to finally dive into the third installment. Now that I’ve turned the final page of the book I’m a bit speechless. I had some high expectations going into this after the whirlwind that was the first two books. Guess what? Samantha Shannon took those high expectations and blew the roof completely off of them! The Song Rising left me breathless and wanting more. It’s quite possible that I’ve already found my top read of 2017.
The Mime Order concluded with a jaw dropping, gasp worthy cliffhanger. Paige, who had just won the crown for Underqueen, finds out that her ex-mime-lord Jaxon Hall had a little secret up his sleeve. The first Ranthen rebellion that was quenched all those years ago by a human betrayal? That was Jaxon’s doing. The Song Rising begins on the tremulous notes of that shocking reveal and the consequences of Paige’s actions in the scrimmage as well as Jaxon’s betrayal make themselves obvious pretty quickly. Due to the fact that Paige turned against her mime-lord to win the title of Underqueen a lot of the syndicate, London’s voyant criminal underworld, don’t exactly accept her as their leader. Not to mention the fact that the Ranthen, the Rephaim who turned against Nashira, are questioning her loyalty and ability to lead because of her past connection with Jaxon. Paige’s reign as Underqueen is definitely off to a rocky start as she rebuilds the syndicate from the ground up to prepare them to take action against Scion by joining with the Ranthen. However, a threat lies fast approaching as Scion implements Senshield, a technology that can detect clairvoyance, forcing Paige to make the choice of putting her people into hiding to save them. Senshield is the one thing that could not only spell death for all voyants but ruin their revolution before it even begins so it has to be destroyed at any cost. The Song Rising starts with a bang as you dive head first into a story full of uncertainty, suspense, unexpected plot twists, and so much more as new allies are gained and new enemies rise up.
“That’s what humans do. We make. We remake. We build, we rebuild. And yes, sometimes we paint with blood, and we tear down our own civilizations, and it might never stop. But if we’re ever to unlearn our darker instincts, we have to be free to learn better ones. Take away the chance for us to change, and I promise you, we never will. I’m willing to fight for that chance.”
Hands down, one of my favorite things about The Bone Season so far has been the characters. They’ve become so memorable for me. Samantha Shannon has created these characters with so much depth, they’re not one-dimensional they’re complex and flawed. I mean most of the voyants are criminals turned revolutionaries after all (some reluctantly so). And then aside from the voyants there’s the Rephaim who are still shrouded in so much mystery, but that’s what makes them interesting. Both have characters that are working for Scion and Nashira while both also have characters that are working against them. I won’t go into a lot of detail about all of the characters but that’s mainly because certain things are revealed that I don’t want to spoil. I will say that we do learn a bit about both Nick’s past as well as Warden’s.
“You have risin from the ashes before. The only way to survive,” he said, “is to believe you always will.”
From The Bone Season to The Song Rising, Paige has gone through a lot of changes. Seriously, her character development has been on point! One thing I’ve loved is seeing her step out of that role of reluctant leader and into embracing it and how much she wants to change the world she lives in. She’s someone who is headstrong, stubborn, ambitious, and just cares so much for her fellow voyants. She’s willing to sacrifice anything to make sure that there is a day where they don’t have to worry about whether their clairvoyance will lead them to their deaths. Is she perfect? Absolutely not. In fact, Paige can be a bit impulsive at times which almost always turns out bad. But at heart, everything she does is fueled by good intentions. Going into The Song Rising she has a lot of doubt about who she can trust because of Jaxon’s betrayal, which is something she has to overcome. There’s also so much revealed about her past that I won’t even go into. All I’m going to say is that this book has cemented the fact that Paige is my top favorite female character.
Beyond the familiar faces from previous books, The Song Rising brings with it a full introduction to so many other great characters. One of them, Maria, who we see briefly in The Mime Order has quickly become a favorite of mine. I love her.
“As we watched each other, linked by the barest touch of his fingertips, I didn’t know what I wanted to do; what I wanted him to do. Leave me. Talk to me. Stay with me.”
And don’t even get me started on the romance! I’ve said this in previous reviews so I’m probably becoming repetitive but I love how Samantha Shannon has crafted this incredible, slow burn romance and not made it the main focal point of the books. Warden and Paige, I love them. There’s just something so unique about their connection and with each book I love them more and more. I can’t even really explain it but I can’t get enough of the two of them. The Song Rising definitely played with my emotions where they are concerned. Yes, I’m being purposely vague.
Something else I would like to point out as notable is the fact that almost every single character in power or in a leadership position is female. From the good guys to the enemies it’s the women running the show. The Song Rising, in particular, is rocking some serious girl power! I loved it.
Also, once again, Samantha Shannon has blown me away with her writing and world building! Each book has delved more and more into this horrific and shocking world while peeling away layers that I never saw coming. The Song Rising goes more into the internal workings of Scion, we get to see more of London and other voyant communities outside of London, and there’s so much heartbreaking character backstory revealed. Plus, there is a plot twist that I’m still picking my jaw up off of the floor over.
This book was engaging, suspenseful, and just when I thought I knew what was going to happen the rug was ripped right out from under me. Be prepared to shed some tears and be left on the edge of your seat breathlessly anticipating the fourth book. I for one need said book in my hands right now.
Overall, The Song Rising was not only everything I hoped for but also exactly what I’ve come to expect from this author. It was completely worth the two year wait!
Now I’m off to wallow in my massive book hangover and wish for book four… Are you excited for The Song Rising? Have you read it already? What did you think?