Follow the author: Samantha Shannon
I learned that humans have a mechanism inside them: a mechanism called hatred, which can be activated with the slightest pull of a string.
I was extremely fortunate to get my hands on a limited edition signed copy of The Song Rising, despite being unable to attend any of the Scottish tour dates. In particular, I love that the limited edition dust jacket is similar to that of the first two novels (I have consistency OCD).
Onto the actual book itself, I was admittedly nervous going into The Song Rising, only because I loved The Mime Order SO MUCH! Thankfully, Samantha Shannon did not disappoint.
From the offset, I did find the tone to be extremely different in this book and it did take a while for me to get into it. Paige seemed to have matured quite drastically within a short space of time, and a lot of change had occurred to our familiar structure of the Syndicate which we aren’t privy to being implemented within the series itself. However, one can assume (having never been involved in a revolution myself), that fast-paced change is an unavoidable necessity when trying to overturn a corrupt governing force.
One of the things that I absolutely adored about this installment was the different locations Shannon took us to explore in this alternate world she has created. Whilst I adore following Paige through the London streets I have visited many a time, it doesn’t quite beat the feeling of reading chapters set in a city that I find myself in once a week. The description of the derelict Edinburgh Castle, to the thought of voyants hiding in the Edinburgh Vaults which used to be home to grave robbers and their like exemplified chills within me that made the story feel more real than it probably should. In particular, the final scenes within Edinburgh were extremely disturbing for me as I was able to visualise with great clarity, the riotous terror Vance was creating within one of MY cities.
Another undeniable strength within Samantha’s series are her characters. Not only are each and every one of them unique in their own way, she makes sure to explore both the good and the bad and none of them are infallible. Paige is often at the mercy of the limitations of her gift, and indeed, she fell multiple times for Vance’s tricks. She gives us enough insight to the supporting cast for us to care for them, whilst at the same time showing no loyalty to their existence within the story. This latter point is something extremely crucial for me when reading a series as I don’t want to feel safety for any of them. Shannon has admitted, at least, that Paige will always be the lead character, so in moments where death may seem inevitable, I find myself questioning how the heck she is going to get out of this one instead of whether or not she will survive, which in a way is more fun.
I want to briefly touch on Jaxon Hall, who was our twist at the end of The Mime Order. He doesn’t come back into the story until nearer the end and he truly is testament to Shannon’s brilliance as he is probably the biggest mystery of this entire series. Is he a goody? A baddy? Is he with the Sargas? Is he double bluffing? Within a piece of dialogue he can have both the reader and Paige utterly confused of his intentions and questioning any theories they may have developed. The only one true thing we can say about Jaxon is that he is self-serving and that is about it. WHAT ARE YOU UP TO JAXON!?
I think my most thought-provoking and impactful part of the entire book was when Nashira and Paige were alone in the Archon and Nashira is discussing the brutality of humankind. Most jarring, I think, due to the fact that she technically isn’t wrong. This whole scene was so well placed too as Paige had a decision to make: fight for survival, or sacrifice for the many. And in ALL honesty I couldn’t say with certainty what Paige’s move was going to be, and again, this merely highlight’s Samantha’s genius in creating truly human characters.
Other small highlights I feel worth mentioning include:-
- I appreciate romance very much being a sub-plot within this series and not a driver
- We get introduced to a transgender character so nonchalantly that it made me smile
- Lots. Of. Women. Kicking. Ass (for good or bad).
- Plenty of twist-a-roos to make us gawp and question
Finally, there truly was only one thing I disliked about this installment: NO ZEKE AND NICK (I’m not sure if a ship name exists for these two). This Swedish-Mexican love affair truly is one of my favourite couples in a series and I need more of them in book 4! Although, with the way it ended I might be in for a disappointment here!
Overall, this was a spectacular addition to the series and whilst answered some questions, probably left us with more which makes the anticipation of Book 4 ever more unbearable! The way Samantha tweets about Book 4 would make us believe it could be the best one yet! Gimmie!!!
Happy reading 🙂
The book world has always been a place that I call home. From a young age, force fed The Magic Faraway Tree by my Mum to exploring my own independent escapism through the Harry Potter Series. My journey through this universe further expanded as I became a Bookseller, a job I dearly loved, which led me to eventually running Children’s Books where I probably read more picture books as a twenty-something than when I was an infant.
I have since left the bookselling world for pastures related to my ‘degree’ – eugh! I know! A literary haven replaced for days analysing health statistics – the horror! Although, I own up to the fact I do love my job and the impact it can have on the country, however, I can’t help but suffer from ‘The Itch’. ‘The Itch’ is what I describe as an incessant need to divulge, whether welcomed or not, my opinions on books to others so that I may spread the word as far and wide as possible!
In bookselling, ‘The Itch’ lay mostly dormant as it was constantly fed in my day to day work, but not so much within the health service. So, this leads to the creation of this blog! A place for me to do bookselling virtually and a treatment facility for my ‘Itch’.