ARC review: The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #3)

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

Series: The Bone Season #3

Publication: March 7th 2017 by Bloomsbury

Format: Paperback Pages: 384

ISBN13: 9781408877852 (Hardback)

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… Goodreads.

The end of The Mime Order saw Paige win the scrimmage and become Underqueen, sustaining injuries in the process. After discovering the shocking truth about Jaxon and his alliance with Nashira, Paige is in a pretty sucky situation at the start of The Song Rising.

I always hated how loyal Paige was to Jaxon when he was clearly a complete tosspot. But it sort of made sense at the same time, Jaxon was, weirdly enough, a father-like figure to her. His betrayal is a constant source of confusion and anger for Paige in The Song Rising, and I appreciate how realistically Shannon handles Paige’s emotions in this series, especially in The Song Rising, where Paige is probably the most conflicted we have ever seen her. We learn more about Jaxon and his history with the Rephaim, notably Nashira Sargas, in The Song Rising. Admittedly, the prick is a fascinating character with an interesting background.

The character development is one of my favourite things about this series and after two whole novels preceding it, I’ve grown very attached to some of the characters like Nick and Eliza. Shannon shares more of Nick’s past in The Song Rising and it’s more heartbreaking because we’ve had two whole novels to warm up to the guy. Ivy’s past comes to collect as she faces trial in The Song Rising for her hand in selling out other voyants to slavery. I felt bad for Ivy, but also had to admit that she had it coming. We find out more about Paige’s experience with ScionIDE in Dublin as a child, and it’s terrifying and intense. After having all this time to really root for Paige, her tragic past elicits an emotional reaction.

I enjoyed the female friendships in The Song Rising, Eliza is more involved in Paige’s new team and is actually her mollisher and another female character with a key role in this novel is Maria, who is also an active and constant part of Paige’s new team. I loved her straight away because her character provides that bit of humour at the right times, she likes to suggest burning things down and her loyalty towards Paige is pretty awesome.

Paige is portrayed as a normal person and not a special snowflake, she makes mistakes throughout this novel and her reactions to them are realistic. She doubts herself a lot and acknowledges the role the people around her play in keeping her from messing things up entirely.

Since Paige won the scrimmage, her goal as Underqueen was to do something about Scion and to show everyone the truth. She definitely makes some progress. The Song Rising sees Paige involved in more than one heist, as well as her travelling across the country, encountering other clairvoyant syndicates and working with/against them to defeat Scion. I found this particularly interesting because the clairvoyant communities in Manchester, for example, are very different to London. Scion’s operations and efforts in these other areas of the country are also different. Manchester’s Scuttling Queen and her sister are formidable, and Paige’s discovery of Liss Rymore’s aunt is emotional (she also finally gets to have her cards read properly). There isn’t a lot of contact with Nashira in The Song Rising (although she does make an appearance), Paige is mainly concerned with Scion and its deadliest recruits in this novel, as well as a scary weapon being produced by Scion with Rephaim collaboration. 

The novel started off a little slow but it improved as I read on, the pacing improved dramatically in the second half. Shannon is particularly good at building atmosphere and tension, there’s a lot of that in The Song Rising. The presence of Emim in England and the aftermath of one of their attacks is chilling. There is more tension between Warden and Paige, Jaxon’s words concerning Warden haunt Paige, and as usual she’s really divided on who to trust in her life. I feel like Paige is being smart with how cautious she’s being in regards to her love life and how much she’s trusting the Rephaim trying to help her. It wouldn’t make sense for her to blindly follow their lead after everything she saw and experienced in Sheol I. Amongst the Rephaim, Warden is the only one I like so far. Terabell, though trying to help, is also an absolute arse. I don’t like how she relies on the humans’ support but continues to treat them as inferior. Pleione is another difficult case. 

There were a few climactic scenes that were well executed, as previously mentioned, the second half was amazing. I couldn’t put the book down at that point because all of the action scenes were really well written. I feel like there’s a bit more to Jaxon than what we’ve seen and read so far, I’m hoping to learn more in the next instalment.

Overall, I enjoyed reading The Song Rising. I feel like the series is moving along well, character development is fantastic. The world has been established now so there isn’t a lot of info-dumping, it’s fairly easy to understand what’s going on and to get to grips with the story. The storyline itself continues to be compelling, Shannon is taking her time with what she reveals and where, but she drops enough hints in the novels to make you want to know more. I love how The Bone Season dealt with Sheol I and the Rephaim, The Mime Order told us more about the clairvoyants and the Underworld, and now The Song Rising has given us more information about Scion. As this is a seven book series, I appreciate the time that’s being taken in crafting The Bone Season world. I expected the series to be slow but rich in detail and worldbuilding, and that’s exactly what I’ve been getting so far.

I was sent The Song Rising by the publisher for an honest review and I am a Bone Season Advocate.