Review: The Song Rising


Goodreads Synopsis:

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 re-read the sequel to refresh my memory (and just because I love this series) before going into this third installment, especially after the delayed release. On top of the later release date the publishers ‘revamped’ the covers. I personally am not a fan of the new look, but fortunately all of the remaining books in the series will have a special collectors edition in the old style. I’m very pleased my bookshelf will remain in sync.

Shannon is improving with every novel. The slowness in the first two was obliterated in this installment. There is non stop action, movement, and progress. We are moving more into the meat of the rebellion and starting to see action against Scion. I liked how we also got to see more of the Scion capitals around Britain and the politics going on with their unnaturals.

Paige is under a lot of stress in this installment, and her anxiety with the Mine Order and Jaxon are exacerbating all the insecurities she has about everything else. It’s sad to see her question her trust in Warden, especially after all the progress they made in the second book. She also is struggling with her trust in herself, and in her determination to make progress for the fight against Scion she begins to make some questionable choices and fears she will turn into the people she hates and fears the most.
We get a handful of new characters who were introduced in the second book, but become major players in this chapter. Maria, Glym, Tom, and Eliza all play such a bigger role in this book and I really enjoyed getting to know them each better and watching Paige use them as allies and friends. We are also introduced to a new Rephaite, Lucida, who is perhaps the funniest of the group we have seen so far. I loved all of her cameos and hope to see more of her in the future.
Paige and Warden go through a lot in this installment. They are trying to maintain a tentative alliance while orchestrating a rebellion and struggling with their feelings for each other. It’s a lot, but even when they are struggling with growing their relationship and the needs of their revolution they always rely on each other for practical and emotional support. I look forward to the next book as they finally get some time together and are no longer the linchpins of the revolution in London. I am also very intrigued to see how the rest of Europe is faring.
This was such a solid installation in the series. We see so much more of the world, and it’s only going to grow. Our characters are growing  more as well, Paige is coming to terms with her role as a leader and becoming her own woman – finally out from under the two main structures that controlled her. Warden, while I can’t really say is growing, is continuing to reveal pieces of himself and we are getting to know him better. Nick is always such an anchor for Paige and he continues his role, on top of moving into more of a leadership role himself. I can’t wait to see how the next book moves all of them forwarded.

The Mime Order


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Goodreads Summary:

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

I loved The Bone Season, and could not wait for this to come out (it was originally scheduled for October of ’14). Well, the wait was worth it, this book was amazing. It started a little slow, but all the information was important. Paige was struggling with how to proceed after the prison camp, not wanting to go back into power struggle with Jax, becoming a wanted fugitive by Scion,  trying to protect other escapees, and becoming a target within her own community – ya, there was a lot going on.

Watching Paige cope was really interesting, she had moments of PTSD and was constantly looking for a way to change the way the syndicate worked to get word out about Sheol and how voyants were treated. I also loved her shifting perception of Jax. In the first book she basically idolizes him, even while admitting that he is a douche; but by gaining her freedom in the first book, she’s come to realize that he’s little better than any of the wardens in Sheol. The power struggles these books focus on are so interesting and complex. Most characters when in situations like these just leave and somehow make it on their own, but Shannon is realistic with Paige, her options are really limited if she is going to make a difference for anyone beyond herself.

And let’s be honest, part of the reason the beginning of the book felt slow was because Warden wasn’t there. As soon as Warden and Paige are back together they work seamlessly as a team. That’s why I love them! And their chemistry is exicuted beautifully, even though their intimate exchanges are a minority of the story, when they are together the depth of their relationship is redifined each time and made stronger. And when they are working they never stand in each others way or ask for anything the other can’t give. Both of them realize they are in a “doomed” relationship (though I hope they somehow persevere of course), and whenever the other is doing something dangerous, instead of begging them not to risk anything, they acknowledge that the other has to do this to remain true to themselves and support each other  – it’s just such a great example of a mutually respectful relationship.

Beyond the complex personal relationships, the depths of depravity within Scion and the syndicate is crazy. Shannon has woven such a complex and detailed world. And seeing the voyants using their various gifts in this book was really interesting, the bloodless battle they can wage on each other was so intense and imaginative. And the foreshadowing in this book has me thinking of a lot of plot twists to come, I hope I am right with some of them!

Basically, I can’t wait for the next book. This is supposed to be a 7 book series, and while I am excited it will last that long, I also can’t stand that I have to wait 5 years to get them all!

The Bone Season




Goodreads Summary:

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

I read this right after it came out in 2013, and decided to re-read it in preperation for the sequel, which was supposed to come out tomorrow, but has been delayed until January! I really wish B&N would update the publish dates on my pre-ordered books on the Nook, not just the website . . .

Anyway, I really love this book. It’s a little more grown up, which I appreciate, while still carrying the themes of YA that I love so much – self-exploration, personal growth, questioning of the world around you, etc. This book is also an interesting combination of fantasy, dystopian, and some historic references that I really appreciate. The whole concept is amazing and so intricate. The world building is fantastic, not only are you sucked into the world of clairvoyance, but of otherworldly beings, complicated relationships, and politics.

I absolutely love the relationship between Paige and Warden. It doesn’t start as anything remotely romantic, and you don’t even get the romance until the last couple chapters – and even then it’s not something smothering or immature (which a lot of YA books are, not that I don’t love those relationships just as much!). Warden and Paige grow to trust one another, they slowly show each other their weaknesses, they force themselves to look past the general stereotypes their people have against each other – and they form a solid and undeniable bond. All of this happens before they explore a romantic side of this relationship, and they both know that it’s doomed from the start (which is the most romantic thing ever right?). I also love that these two still part ways, they know the only way to reach their ultimate goal is to fight this war from multiple sides – as there are multiple players. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t wait to see them reunite, they make a great team!

I also really like the relationships between Paige and the other Seals – basically the relationships in this book are amazing. Her bond with Nick is really interesting: guardian, turned first love, turned best friend. I believe Nick truly has Paige’s well being as a top priority, but he also seems to fail to see that she is growing up and becoming her own person – he wants to protect her, but doesn’t really notice that she doesn’t need protection, she needs support. Jax is intriguing, Paige has this unique need to impress him, but he treats her horribly, like something to own, not an independent person – I hope to see Paige escape from under his thumb.

It will also be really interesting to see how all of the threats that were introduced in this book play out in the following ones. We know the Scion is bad, and we know some of the Rephaite are bad, but how do they all play together, and what other factors are going to be introduced? Can’t wait for The Mime Order!