Kids Book of the Week: The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

Kids Book of the Week: The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

9781408879726Reviewed by Nicola Cayless

To be honest, if you haven’t heard of the fantasy series by Samantha Shannon taking the world by storm, you’ve been living under a rock. The three book series, comprising The Bone Season, The Mime Order, and now The Song Rising, has taken the world by storm and captured the hearts of millions. The series has been a bestseller, and fans have eagerly awaited the latest installment of the planned seven book series, The Song Rising.

For those who haven’t read The Bone Season yet (and if you haven’t: drop everything and do it), the story follows a dystopian London, part Orwell’s 1984 and part Hunger Games. Magical abilities are part and parcel of this world, but clairvoyants are hunted down and persecuted by the totalitarian regime Scion, which aims to eradicate all unnaturals from the streets of London. The only sanctuary for clairvoyants is the criminal underworld, comprising gangs and their turf, which follow a strange kind of morality and set of laws. Our heroine is Paige Mahoney, a clairvoyant with a rare ability – Dreamwalking. But everything goes wrong when she is captured by Scion – not executed, as one would expect, but instead taken somewhere strange and unexpected . . .

Without spoiling anything, it’s safe to say that The Bone Season sets into motion events that can’t be stopped. A whole host of characters – Jaxon, Paige’s eccentric boss; Nick, her best friend; and Warden, a strange being we barely scrape the surface of – circle around Paige as she rises through the ranks and becomes involved not just in street crime, but a revolution. In this way, The Bone Season reflects a trend in YA novels today – increasingly so, teenage novels reflect dissatisfaction and anxiety in the face of a conservative landscape. Following into The Mime Order, Paige and her friends (and enemies) are embroiled in an intense revolution for the sake of what’s right and just.

The Song Rising continues that theme, as the title would suggest. Paige, newly instated into a position of power among the rabble of criminals that is The Mime Order, seeks to mobilise the troops, and fight back. After what happened to her in The Bone Season, it’s hardly surprising that she wishes to change things for the better – even when it seems impossible. Throw in a healthy dose of magic, politics, and of course, romance, and The Song Rising is a gripping continuation of Paige’s story.

While a book for young adults, The Song Rising does not talk down to its readers. As mentioned, it deals with themes of police brutality, fascism, and xenophobia. Following in the trend of novels such as The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Tomorrow, When The War BeganThe Song Rising weaves fantasy and reality together thoughtfully samantha_shannon-9480bwand carefully. That is not to say that the book ever feels heavy handed; Shannon uses humour and action to break up some of the more intense political themes that underpin the story.

For lovers of fantasy, there’s the intricate magic system that follows rules of logic, and constantly comes with new surprises and abilities. There’s also the threat of another world encroaching on our own, with strange creatures, sometimes benevolent and sometimes not, infiltrating the human world. There’s action and fighting, sure to enthral anyone who loves a fast-paced crime story (and being from the criminal underworld, there is lots of crime). And the characters are intricate and dimensional, with their own (sometimes opposing) agendas – and a healthy dose of romance. If you’re anything like me, following Paige’s love story will keep you turning the pages as much as the political intrigue. It’s never heavy handed or cliche; and you’re left rooting for the love story as much as you are the return of justice.

Excitingly, The Bone Season has been picked up The Imaginarium Studios (of Andy Serkis) and 20th Century Fox. So not only do we have four more books to eagerly await, we’ll also get to see Paige’s story come to life on the screen.

The Song Rising is suitable for ages sixteen and up, and we mean up. Adults of all ages will find something to love in this book, and it’s the perfect series to start talking to your teens about politics and morality. Do yourself a favour. Pick up The Bone Season and start reading. If you’ve read the first two, well, we don’t need to tell you to read The Song Rising – you’re definitely already drawn in.

Purchase a copy of The Bone Season, The Mime Order, and The Song Rising, then head to our Kids Facebook page to get all the Samantha Shannon and kids content you could want.

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Synopsis

It is a dark time for clairvoyants. Scion is in league with the Rephaim, an extraordinarily powerful, otherworldly race, who wish to make humans their slaves.In an unprecedented feat of bravery, Paige Mahoney has succeeded in leading a mass break-out of the brutal camp, Sheol I, where she and other clairvoyants have been systematically imprisoned.Paige is desperate to reach the safety of the London underworld, but the ruthless leader of the Rephaim, Nashira Sargas, is not likely to let her escape so easily…

Publisher details

The Bone Season
Author
Samantha Shannon
Publisher
Bloomsbury
Genre
Fantasy
Released
01 February, 2014

Synopsis

For the past two hundred years the Scion government has led an oppressive campaign against unnaturalness in London.Clairvoyance in all its forms has been decreed a criminal offence, and those who practise it viciously punished. Forced underground, a clairvoyant underworld has developed, combating persecution and evading capture.Paige Mahoney, a powerful dreamwalker operating in the Seven Dials district of London, lives a double life, using her unnaturalness illegally while hiding her gift from her father, who works high up in the Scion regime…

Publisher details

The Song Rising
Author
Samantha Shannon
Publisher
Bloomsbury
Released
22 February, 2017

Synopsis

A rebel who becomes a queenThe hotly anticipated third book in the bestselling Bone Season series – a ground-breaking, dystopian fantasy of extraordinary imaginationFollowing a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London's criminal population.But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…
Samantha Shannon
About the author

Samantha Shannon

Samantha Shannon was born in west London in 1991. She started writing at the age of fifteen. Between 2010 and 2013 she studied English Language and Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford. In 2013 she published The Bone Season, the first in a seven book series. The Mime Order followed in 2015. Both were international bestsellers and have been translated into twenty-six languages. The film rights have been optioned by the Imaginarium Studios and 20th Century Fox. In 2014, Samantha Shannon was included on the Evening Standard's Power 1000 list. The Song Rising is her third novel.

Books by Samantha Shannon

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