Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Song Rising


Book Title: The Song Rising
Author: Samantha Shannon
Series: The Bone Season #3
Date Started: June 1st 2017
Date Completed: June 11th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Dystopian, Romance
Quality Rating: Four Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Five Star
Final Rating: Five stars

I really enjoyed The Song Rising. Way more than I expected, actually. It's been a while since I read The Mime Order back in early 2015, and the series had somewhat paled in my memory. The Bone Season held the top position on my favourites shelf for a long time, so I don't really know why, but I was quite apprehensive going into this third book in the series well aware that the wait between them is only likely to get longer, and the complexities of the story I have to remember even harder. But you know what, the wait was well worth it.

Shannon is a very good writer. We know this, but her work reestablishes it every time I open a page too. Her grasp on the balance between politics on a lower and upper-class level, relationships and rebellion make these books very engaging to read, not to mention enjoyable. Personally, I love her for the worlds she creates by twisting our own; Shannon uses culture so well to give herself a basis of customs that we're familiar with to build on further. I know we're heading across Europe later in the series, but even just the way she heightens English and Irish culture and locations with her fantastical elements is a joy to read.

Despite reading the last book more than two years ago, I actually remembered a lot of the world building and plot points. And The Bone Season series is a complicated world to say the least; it's magic system to start with has a ridiculous number of variations that I honestly don't know (but hey, doesn't take away from the story so it's all good). This basically means that the whole series much be pretty solid if I can remember where we were both for the government, the rebellion and the protagonist at the end of The Mime Order - not to mention a fair few smaller character roles too.
Something that I get worried with from longer series like this is the ability of each book to be a story within its own right, as well as moving the series plot line on. It's a problem you get a lot in trilogies - filler book syndrome, as I call it - where it only really exists to set the characters and story up for a later book. The Mime Order bordered a little too close to that from what I remember, so approaching The Song Rising I did have that looming in the back of my head. It was a nice surprise then, to find that this novel had a good plot in its own right, as well as in the series as a whole. The characters are given a goal at the beginning, and they work towards that throughout, but new problems have been brought to their attention by the time they have completed their mission.
I'm not really in this for the romance side of the story (though I'm sure some people are), but I'm not going to turn down a pairing that's actually realistic in their behaviour given the circumstances. The whole 'you're a distraction, we can't do this' trope was at least attempted by the characters before they realised it just wasn't going to fly like that - something I'm happy to see people actually realising and not stubbornly continuing anyway. And, I admit, Paige and Warden are enjoyable to read together. It's a nice diversion from the main story for a few pages every now and then.

Oh boy, there's a lot of characters in this series, it feels like Game of Thrones sometimes. Likewise, they're all believable and developed even if I can't keep track of every single one of them. Having said that, there's a lot of people that I was able to remember. Within a few chapters I could place the position of Paige's friends pretty well considering how long it's been.
Paige herself is an awesome protagonist. She's very doubtful and scared of her power and responsibility, but her bravery in the face of it is what makes her a hero. This was the first time we really got to see her in control of her own fate - which can sometimes be the downfall for poorly-written characters - but I felt like I was seeing her at her very best.

I'm so happy that this series is back and kicking. The time in between books definitely made me forget how much I enjoyed the world of Scion London and Paige Mahoney - I mean, The Bone Season was my favourite book for quite a while. I missed it a lot more than I expected and I'm very excited about where the series is heading.

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