This book… I’ve been waiting for this book for years. Like, at least two years. When it was delayed I thought my heart would break because I had to wait another 5 months for it, and after the reveal at the end of the last book that seemed like a cruel and unusual punishment. For those of you who don’t know, The Song Rising is the third book in The Bone Season septology and the first one to end on what I would consider to be “not a cliffhanger”. If you’ve read the first two books, you can see my reaction to The Mime Order (spoiler-free) here.
Since the book has only been released for about a week, I will be keeping this review as spoiler-free as I can but it will be hard to talk about The Song Rising without mentioning one or two things that happened in the previous books so if you’re reading this before reading The Bone Season or The Mime Order you can expect some spoilers for those books.
The revelation about Jax that came at the end of The Mime Order is the very first thing addressed and although I had a slight inkling of where it was going after my reread a few weeks ago, I would not have guessed it without thinking long and hard about it first.
The Grey Market which was discovered in The Mime Order as the means by which Voyants were brought to Sheol I is given a whole new dimension in this book. Ivy (poor, poor Ivy) gets her trial for being a part of the Grey Market (and pretty much the only person left alive that was part of it) and suffice it to say that the Voyants aren’t happy with her.
Nick, my beloved Nick, my favourite character in this series so far is now Paige’s Mollisher Supreme meaning that if or when Paige is dethroned as Underqueen, he’s first in line. He gets a lot of character development in the last few pages with regards to his relationship with Paige. As you’d know from reading The Bone Season, Nick is the reason Paige lived after a childhood encounter with a ‘Geist and also the reason she started working for Jaxon. After the Scrimmage at the end of The Mime Order, when Nick joined Paige and Zeke went with Jaxon the ship seemed sunk and there was not a lot of mention of either Zeke or Nadine in The Song Rising other than to say that they went back to Seven Dials after the Scrimmage and that Nadine still fancies herself more important than anyone gives her credit for. It doesn’t get confirmed but my guess is that they left the country when they left the Dials.
Danica, beautiful, smart Danica, does what she needs to do but I’m not all that happy about it to be honest. Part of me, however, thinks that what she did, she did on orders (or suggestion) from a person who will remain nameless because spoilers. and part of me understands that she did what she did because it may have been needed and she also felt guilty (can’t go too much in to this without breaking my no spoiler thing though, sorry).
Jaxon Hall, where do I start with this person. Considering how little he’s in the book (only a few scenes) a lot is revealed about him, his personality, his motivations, I’d even go as far as to say his desires (not in a romantic way though because Jax is confirmed by Word of God to be an aromantic asexual). It’s clear that he cares about Paige to some degree but, as Paige says, it’s more in the way one would care about a possession rather than a person. The more I know about Jaxon, the more I’m convinced he is, at least to some degree, a sociopath. He knows what he’s doing is wrong but it gets him something that he wants so he does it anyway. This, I believe, will be his downfall eventually.
The story itself takes place across England and Scotland and a lot of things happen considering it’s not a very long book (my copy is a Collectors edition, UK hardback and only 350 pages) but it doesn’t feel rushed. It feels more like the tension builds constantly with very few breaks for you to catch your breath. As with the last two books, there’s a bit of a twist at the end. The Bone Season had the Seven Seals helping with taking the Voyants from Sheol I, The Mime Order had the end of the Scrimmage and Jaxon’s reveal shortly after but the ending of The Song Rising was the first real cut in the narrative, a chance to breath and really absorb what’s happened. While the entire series so far has taken place over about 9 months, the events of The Song Rising happens within the space of two months and you get the feeling that Paige hasn’t really stopped since the Scrimmage which is why I feel like the fast pacing in the book works.
You can follow Samantha Shannon, the author of The Bone Season series on Twitter here.