The highly-anticipated third instalment in The Bone Season series, The Song Rising is ultimately my least favourite so far. Personally I haven’t had the best ride with this series; the first book had me proclaiming it was my favourite series since Harry Potter, the second disappointed but left me optimistic for the third, and now … honestly, I’m a bit worried.
The Bone Season gave us original, fantasy/dystopian magic. It was wonderful and everything I never knew I wanted. The Mime Order was a Victorian murder mystery jaunt around London and, though I could appreciate it, it wasn’t to my taste. And now The Song Rising, which just felt like Mission: Impossible in a slightly more futuristic London and everything fell just a little bit flat.
It picks up where the second left off, with Paige having won the crown of Underqueen and discovered the terrible truth about Jaxon. And then … we just flounder for a few hundred pages. Paige becoming Underqueen was not a story choice I really got on board with, mainly because of the way this book panned out with Paige’s queenliness as a theme just did not work for me. In this book there is a high focus on dry politics in a criminally focused dystopican underworld, which is … exactly what we got in The Mime Order. But now there’s even more focus … because Paige is their Underqueen. I felt like there was next to no time spent on core elements such as clairvoyance, ghosts, Rephaim and emim – the elements that were truly the halmark of this series, making it so unique to me. Instead, what we get is just more and more Scion politics and gang-stuff, in another atypical plot that just does not stand out. And what is frustrating to me is that there is so much more to this world that Shannon has created – but it keeps being swept to the side. But for things that have already been explored. We don’t need another half-chapter dedicated to Paige and Warden wanting so badly to touch each other but abstaining because *forbidden*. What I’d really love is a bit of something new, or hey, how about delving into all those unanswered questions that are still left over from book one? No?
The Song Rising felt like filler. When I pick up a new instalment in a series, I’m asking for something fresh and new, and for the story to progress in a meaningful way, for questions to be answered and subsequential ones to be lain. I don’t feel like I found any of that in The Song Rising, all that really showed up for me was frustration. However … the world and the premise still compels me. The supernatural elements, and a handful of secondary characters really captured me, and have done for three books now. And though, sadly, I don’t have a positive review for The Song Rising, I’m very much hoping this is where that trend ends. I’m choosing optimism, lads! Let’s see what the next one has in store for us …
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