by Meera Nair
The Song Rising is the third instalment in Samantha Shannon’s dystopian fiction series, The Bone Season. True to its namesake, the novel chronicles the rising of hope, as the Mime Order attempts to evade the growing power of Scion (a corrupt governmental organization that seeks to rid the world of unnaturals). The new threat that the Mime Order faces makes it impossible for clairvoyants to roam freely in London. In addition to facing off the malicious Hildred Vance, Paige Mahoney has lured a hoard of other enemies. Nashira Sargas, the Emim, Terebell Sheratan are all waiting for her to slip up. Even some of the clairvoyants seem to think her unfit to be the Underqueen. With so many people vying for her failure, Paige is thrust into a ceaseless conundrum.
Elements of brutality, friendship and resilience largely dominate the game-board, making the characters swing this way and that. Paige takes it upon herself to get to the core of what powers the new Scion technology. She soon realizes that her power as Underqueen is plunging at an alarming speed, and thus starts a journey of unrelenting obstacles.
This novel is an experience in dreamscaping. Samantha Shannon paints such a vivid picture that every scene is as clear as a visual representation. It is impossible not to feel what Paige is feeling! The author’s writing style, in addition to being crisp, is inviting. I found the novel to be generously interspersed with cliffhangers and I was in awe of the innovative way in which the author has lathered these plot points together without making it draggy. The character arcs are commendable for most characters; they are devoid of any fluff. Paige has been portrayed to be an immensely powerful character. Her resilience knows no bounds and just when you think that she can’t go any further, she proves you wrong.
Eliza, Maria, Nick and Tom form Paige’s support system. Even though we don’t learn much about their individual stories, their wisdom contributes to Paige’s strength and her ability to decide what’s best. Lastly, Warden. He is the quintessential brooding, bad-boy character. I wish they’d do away with this trope. Anyhow, there’s clearly something between him and Paige, but that aspect of the plot isn’t pursued in this novel. I definitely liked The Song Rising better than the previous book, The Mime Order, because it is more fast paced and intricate. So much is happening simultaneously throughout the novel that it constantly keeps you hooked. However, towards the end all the steam tapers off and I can’t really picture the story continuing. So I am a little hesitant as to what the future entails. There are definitely some tear-jerker moments in the book. And some of these moments made me realize how much Paige has had to sacrifice to hold the syndicate together.
Overall, the storyline is great; the characters add value to the plot; the writing style is gripping. I don’t know how much potential there is for the next book. But we’ll get to that bridge later. I definitely recommend this book to all Dystopian Fiction fanatics.