Book: The Song Rising (The Bone Season #3)
Author: Samantha Shannon
I picked this one up at YALC at the end of July, but didn’t get to it until recently, I had several books I was really excited for in August and this one just happened to end up at the bottom of the pile, I’m glad I waited though as there’s nothing better than having a brilliant book to read on a five hour train journey up to Scotland! This is definitely my favourite book of the series so far, the plot was tighter, the character development was excellent and I loved the expansion of the world that Shannon has created with two additional Scion citadels that we got to see in this book. It also ends in a really exciting place with the indicator that action within Scion Europe is going to be happening in the next book so I am seriously excited about that. Here is a short synopsis of this book:
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…
I mean the book starts with a map, and you really can’t go wrong with a good map. It’s just a map of the UK, but Scion’s Britain isn’t separated into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it has different sectors in each of the different countries of the UK (eg Lowlands and Highlands is Scotland, Westlands is Wales & North East, North West, South East, South West and Midlands are England. Ireland is an entire entity rather than being split into North and South).
I liked that the book picked up right where the last book left off, as it was a rather big cliffhanger, so it would have felt weird if it had time jumped right away, instead there is a prologue which starts with the events directly after the end of the Mime Order.
Shannon always does a killer opening paragraph, she definitely has a way of making me get hooked instantly from the first paragraph of her book!
The book does have a short time jump, of about three weeks after the prologue, which I get was necessary, as you want to see Paige as Underqueen after things have settled a little, but it was still a little jarring.
I can definitely say I found the pacing so much better in this book. The chapters were shorter, the action was faster and the plot had one single purpose, finding and destroying Senshield and all of the characters’ actions are towards this goal, there’s no windy paths to the ultimate endgame like there was in The Mime Order, it was simple and straightforward which I liked.
Paige’s character development was another thing I loved. Paige has grown so much since The Bone Season, she still makes mistakes and a lot of them to be sure, but if she didn’t then she wouldn’t feel like a realistic nineteen year old, but she’s also a clever leader, she’s brave, she does what’s best and truly cares about the voyants in her care, she’s brave and much more confident than she was previously, it’s just brilliant to have seen her grow into this amazing young woman. It’s great to see her dreamwalking gift having improved as well. I like that even though she has this really rare gift, she doesn’t come off as being special-snowflake like, she’s still flawed and fallible even with this amazing gift.
It was nice to see more of the other characters in this as well, I loved seeing Paige’s relationship with the members of her Unnatural Assembly explored. I especially liked seeing her and Eliza together, as I always like a good female friendship. We also got a bit more background on Nick which was cool, and some background on Maria. It was cool to see the changes Paige made to the Syndicate and how this changed her relationship to the people in it.
I like that LGBTQ rep is so easily woven into this story, there’s nothing about it being illegal in Scion or people frowning on it or anything, it’s just there, which is exactly how it should be. Nick was confirmed gay in the first book (it was so sad that Jax came between him and Zeke!) and in this book Ivy was confirmed to be LGBT (it’s not clear whether she’s lesbian or bisexual, but she is confirmed to have had a female lover). I feel like Wynn might be a lesbian but that’s not on page canon so don’t quote me on that!
I’m still not really into Paige and Warden as a couple, I was actually quite pleased that they were separated for most of this book and Paige was focused on things other than Warden! I don’t know, Warden still kind of eludes me as a character, three books in and I still don’t really feel like I know him at all. He was missing for a few chapters there and when he turned up again, I found that I hadn’t really missed them! They did have a nice moment towards the end of the book when he buoys her up after she’s feeling down but that’s about it. I don’t know, I feel they might be better as friends than lovers? Maybe I’m just not really feeling the romance vibe! I did love that when they did have a somewhat steamy scene, Shannon showed consent at all stages of physical contact, this should be a more normal thing!
I loved that there was so much underground stuff in this book, I have a big thing about caves and tunnels, my current WIPs contain both, so whenever I see books that have them, I get really excited!
I love the structure of the book, the three sections with the named chapters and the small interludes between each part, was great!
The world building expansion in this book was great, I loved getting to see other Scion citadels, with Manchester and Edinburgh, and how they differed from the London citadel, I especially loved the parts in Edinburgh because I live near there whilst I’m at Uni and I’ve actually been to the Edinburgh vaults! The stakes also felt a lot higher, Scion is clearly upping their game what with Senshield and everything and it truly felt like there was a large possibility for failure for Paige which is always good. We also got to see some of the other Scion incursions which was pretty cool and the end of the book seems like there is going to be huge scope for the rest of the series, which is awesome. There was a great bit where the entire syndicate conduct a mass seance to send a message to other voyants which I thought was really cool.
I liked that everything wasn’t easy for Paige, she really has to struggle to get anywhere in this book, which yes is frustrating for her, but it’s good to see because it shows her overcoming obstacles and makes her victories seem more well earned than if she got everything she wanted easily. I also liked seeing her struggle as leader of the syndicate and make mistakes because it made me root for her more. Her decisions didn’t always make sense to me, but I know she was doing what she thought was best.
There were a lot of great action sequences that I really enjoyed and even a few twists that I wasn’t expecting.
This is totally off topic, but I really appreciated the pun in ScionIDE!
I liked that we got a little bit more about Paige’s past in Ireland, we got to see snippets of it in the first book, but it played even more of a role in this book. I’m hoping that at some point in the books, Paige will return to Ireland!
I wasn’t sure about Samantha Shannon’s writing initially in The Bone Season, but it’s clear that she’s improved a lot over the last few years and I actually really enjoyed the writing style in this book.
I really loved the ending, the entire last part was definitely my favourite bit of the book, it was definitely a very satisfying conclusion. I wish I could talk more about it without being spoilery, but I can’t! All I can really say without being spoilery is that there is a really cool dance scene and the plot of the book is resolved in a satisfying way, whilst also being open to some awesome possibilities for the rest of the series.
Overall, this is definitely my favourite book of the series so far, I enjoyed the more streamlined plot and faster pace, I was initially worried about how much shorter this book was compared to the other two, but I think it worked in it’s favour. I also loved the character development of Paige and the expansion of the world and I think that this book has set up for the next one to be really great. I was sceptical about this series to begin with, but I’m so excited to see where the rest of the series goes from here, I thought seven books would be too long, but there are so many possibilities for this series, I can’t wait to see where Paige ends up (though I’m not going to lie, much as I have enjoyed binging this series this summer, I’m not looking forward to the wait for the fourth book!).
My Rating: 5/5 (my first since ACOL in March!).
My next review will be of the second book in the Red Queen series, Glass Sword.