The Song Rising (The Bone Season, #3) by Samantha Shannon

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

1.) The Bone Season ★★★
2.) The Mime Order ★★★

First and foremost, this chart will save your life, especially if it has been a hot second since you’ve read The Bone Season and The Mime Order:

Next, it’s confirmed that the wait for the next book is going to kill me. When I received an ARC of this book, I thought this was going to be a trilogy, little did I know it’s actually going to be a seven book series and the wait for the fourth one is most likely going to kill me. I guess there are worse ways to go.

Parts of this book completely broke me. Samantha Shannon really knows how to make her words cut, and she doesn’t pull back. I actually felt like everything Paige was losing, I was losing. It’s a huge talent to be able to immerse readers the way she does, and for that alone I think it is worth giving this series a try.

AND THE ANGST! Oh, Lord, please, if the waiting for the next book doesn’t kill me, the slow burn angst romance will. I am so emotionally invested in Paige and Warden that at this point I can’t think of another fictional couple I’d rather have together. Please, just let these little babies have happiness with each other!

Speaking of broken hearts, Ivy and Róisín about ripped my heart out, too. Seriously, I’m unhealthily obsessed with these characters and I need to know everything about them, these precious little cinnamon rolls. Please, Samantha Shannon, please!

The Underground was such an amazing experience to read about! I said in my review of The Mime Order how much I loved Wrynn and the Jacobites, and in this book we get them and a whole other civilization we didn’t even know about!

I will say that the first third of this book is a little slow. I was very fearful of what my rating would be until I hit about the 35% mark. Then, I was unable to put this book down, because it was so action packed, eventful, and just so damn good.

The Song Rising picks up right where The Mime Order left off: Paige is now the Underqueen and has so many new responsibilities that revolve not only around saving her people, but saving the world that is unaware of the monstrosities that are coming. Uniting the clairvoyants of London seems impossible, Paige can’t even imagine uniting all of Europe, and the thought of uniting the entire world seems so impossible.

“Never allow yourself to believe you should be silent.”

Speaking of uniting countries, some of the themes and quotes of this book should be mandatory reading for all of the United States, right now. I promise, I try to keep my reviews nonpolitical, but I just can’t help it lately. Governments lying to people and using scare tactics to only unite fear is VERY real in my world right now. Pieces of fiction like this give me hope.

“Some people believe that if they keep their heads down and stick to their safe routine and trust that nothing bad will befall them, then it won’t. They see things happening to others, but they think they’re different; they’re special; it could never happen to them.”

Also, it would be impossible to read this book and not make a million different comparisons to Paige and Katniss from The Hunger Games. Both are self sacrificing, both are very talented in fighting that doesn’t involve strength, and both are the face of their world’s uprising. Seriously, I could go on for days about their similarities, and once you notice it, it feels impossible to ignore.

But their similarities aren’t a bad thing. Hell, I could read about strong female protagonists that are saving their worlds all day long. Being strong and defiant in the face of evil is a trend I’m looking forward to in 2017.

Another important thing to note is that Paige is traumatized, and is suffering with PTSD throughout this book. I know this series doesn’t have a ton of diversity, but it does have some, and I really appreciated seeing Paige dealing with her disorder, and realistically struggling with her disorder. Paige hasn’t had the easiest life in this series, and she has had to witness so many of her loved ones die. Traumatic events from her childhood are explored even more in this book, and seeing Paige exposed to more dangerous events is utterly heartbreaking, but sincerely appreciated.

With this third installment, I finally feel like the main story is finally starting to take off. Sort of like Harry Potter, I feel like the fourth books is going to be where we start our uphill climb to the big boss fight. Paige is essentially starting over, and we have so many different threads, in so many different locations. I truly believe this is the start of something beautiful, and the coming together of all these threads is going to be something unforgettable.

Even though I love Paige, this series’ shining light is truly the side characters. Samantha Shannon has crafted some amazing characters that you can’t help but love and root for. Nick, Maria, Eliza *sings name like in Hamilton*: all phenomenal, and I would preorder and devour any spin-off book starting any of them. As for the Rephaites: Terebell has got me shook and Warden has got me making heart eyes.

Yet, the villains are truly a tier above most YA villains, too. They are complex, and they are mysterious, and they are completely addicting. I have nothing but high hopes for this entire cast in the books that have yet to be released.

“Jaxon had been right about words. They could grant wings, or they could tear them away.”

The next book is going to be such a different reading experience. I can’t say much without giving away spoilers, but ME AND MY SHIP, steered by Warden and Paige, ARE SO HERE FOR IT!

The Lightning Tree by Patrick Rothfuss

1.) The Name of the Wind ★★★★★
2.) The Wise Man’s Fear ★★★★★
2.5) The Slow Regard of Silent Things ★★★★★

The Lightning Tree is a short story that is set in Patrick Rothfuss’ world from The Kingkiller Chronicle. You can find The Lightning Tree and other short stories that are curated by GRRM himself in a bind-up anthology titled Rogues.

This story is set in Kvothe’s innkeeper days, and surrounds his mysterious friend Bast. For the record, I absolutely adore Bast, so when I found out that there was a short story that starred him, I literally jumped for joy. Also, The Name of the Wind is my favorite book of all time, so I am absolutely biased with this review.

I can’t even really give a summary without major spoilers, but I loved this story mostly because it has the same magic that made me fall in love with this series to begin with. Seeing Bast help the locals who live around the Waystone Inn warmed my heart to no end. Bast is such a young hearted character, and truly does whatever he wanted, while making people believe what is easier for them to accept.

At this point, I’d rate Patrick Rothfuss’ napkins five stars, because everything he touches has this amazing magical feel that I can’t quite put into words. I just want more from this world, especially with the announcement of the tenth anniversary edition being released this year! I cannot wait to see illustrations, better maps, and to find out if Skarpi really knew Kvothe’s name, all that time ago!

Also, the Game of Thrones reference to GRRM about killed me. I was giggling like a child, and I wish that I could have seen George’s face when he first read Pat’s story. It was seriously the perfect touch on an already perfect short story.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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This story was so magical, so whimsical, and so perfect. I was skeptical, because I’m pretty much the only person on Goodreads that did not like The Night Circus, but this didn’t remind me of The Night Circus at all. Well, at least the 15% I read before I couldn’t force myself to read more. I mean, I can see where people would draw the parallels because of the plot, but the writing in this is much more reminiscent of The Raven Boys or Heartless. The prose is the epitome of lyrical, with descriptions that were nothing short of magical, and I devoured it all with a smile on my face.

“It looked like a storybook come to life. She peered down at bright pointy rooftops, moss-covered towers, gingerbread cottages, gleaming gold bridges, blue-brick streets, and bubbling fountains, all lit by candled lamps that hung everywhere, giving an appearance of time that was neither day nor night.”

Can we talk about how this is Stephanie Garber’s debut novel? I am seriously shocked, because this is not the writing of a new or amateur writer. She has perfected her craft, and made just a really addictive and impressive first story. I hope and pray she wins 2017’s Best Debut Goodreads Author award, because she is so deserving with this masterpiece. I’m in awe of her talent, honestly.

God, the writing was so good. The descriptions were perfection. I understand this might not be for everyone, but this world consumed me and I didn’t want to leave when I turned the last page. I know this book is about a magical place, but it truly ended up being a magical experience that I’m not going to forget anytime soon. Caraval is the first book I gave five stars to in 2017, and it is so very deserving of that title.

The plot of this has a perfect thriller tempo, too! Yes, I’ve been raving about how magical and lyrical this book is, but I have to emphasize that the pace is fast, too! Each chapter holds a new mystery, and I felt so compelled to never put this book down. Caraval truly is a fast and magical journey that I can’t help but recommend everyone take!

Caraval is a magical game that is played once a year. Not everyone can go, but the lucky ones are sent tickets, and once they arrive they are able to choose if they’d like to watch the game or actually play the game. Scarlett has been writing to the master of Caraval, Legend, her whole life in hopes to acquire tickets for her and her sister, and after all these years she finally gets a letter back.

And the sibling love in this is so amazing. My brother and I are really close, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for him. Scarlett’s devotion to her sister warmed my heart completely and I loved reading about it. Also, seeing them pick each other over boys is my freaking jam.

This book also tackles the hard topic of parental abuse, emotional, mental, and physical. This topic is so important, and doesn’t seem to be in much YA, unless it is the center of the story. So many kids grow up being abused, yet, it doesn’t become the center of their life. Seeing Scarlett realize she is not the value of her father’s rage was beautiful. We need more books that handle this issue, because Uncle Vernon and Harry Potter isn’t close to being the epitome of an abusive relationship. Many parents can be manipulative, abusive, terrible, and it isn’t the victims fault, ever.

“People think no one sees all the nasty things they do in the dark. The foul acts they commit, or the lies they tell as part of the game. Caraval takes place at night because you like to watch, and see what people do when they think there are no consequences.”

This book does border on unreliable narrative though, because as Scarlett is learning the rules of the game and the magic of Caraval, so is the reader. Caraval is a facade, it might be a beautiful facade, but it is still a facade. The reader is never sure if what they are reading is true, and that is because Scarlett never knows if what she is experiencing is true. I loved the mystery factor and thought it worked perfectly, but I can see where others might not like it as much as me.

And the characters and players in this world are so wonderful! Scarlett was my favorite, and I feel like it would be almost impossible not to fall in love with her. Her sister, Tella, has a good heart and her actions were coming from a good place, but she was a little frustrating. Hopefully, in the next book, my love for Scarlett will carry over to Tella. Julian is the other main character you read about, alongside Scarlett. His character was so endearing and I absolutely loved this story-arc and twist(s). Not knowing whether to root and cheer for him or wish him dead was a unique experience to say the least!

I loved this book. I loved it with my whole heart. I read this in one day; I couldn’t put it down. This book is the definition of a sensory read. Please give it a try. I understand that not every book is for everyone, but this book is pretty close to perfection, in my eyes. I whole heartedly expect this to show up on my “Best of 2017” list, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel.

I’ll be honest, between this book and Beyoncé announcing she’s having twins, I feel like the world is trying to ease the blow of Donald Trump’s next executive order.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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The Underground Railroad was the group book for #DiverseAthon, which was held from the 22nd to the 29th of January 2017!

This important and very needed readathon is being hosted by Christina Marie from Christina Marie, Joce from squibblesreads, Simon from SavidgeReads, Monica from shemightbemonica, Mara from BookMarauder, and Naz from Read Diverse Books!

“And America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes–believes with all its heart–that it is their right to take the land. To kill Indians. Make war. Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn’t exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty. Yet here we are.”

This powerful and moving story starts out by introducing us to a woman named Ajarry, who was uprooted and stolen from West Africa and sold into American slavery. Later, she has a daughter named Mabel who is somewhat famous for being a successful runaway slave, but the victory is heavy on the heart, because she left behind her own daughter, Cora.

The story’s main protagonist is Cora, and we follow her through an actual underground railroad, not metaphorical. Every stop Cora makes feels like a brand new world, but the fear of being caught never truly subsides.

Trigger warnings: graphic violence, abuse, and rape. And MILD/MINIMUM SPOILER WARNING: nothing major, but please use caution before reading if you’d like to go into this story completely blank!

“Stolen bodies working stolen land. It was an engine that did not stop, its hungry boiler fed with blood.”

Georgia – This is where Cora starts her life. She is dealing with a broken heart from abandonment, and unwilling to get close to anyone. We get to see, first hand, how truly terrible slavery is and how some scars don’t leave a mark. Others get many, many, cruel and unjust marks. This is truly the most heartbreaking of all the places Cora lives. The Randall Plantation is a place of nightmares, and I hope that everyone reading this story realizes that this was an actual reality in our country for so many. Thankfully, another slave named Caesar asks Cora to run away with him, because people believe that Cora is a good luck charm because of her mother’s successful getaway.

South Carolina – This is the first stop with Caesar, and the first time Cora is lulled into a false sense of security. Sadly, not all of the blacks are treated as well as Cora was. We are also introduced to a slave catcher named Ridgeway, and Cora is forced to run, but this time by herself.

North Carolina – This time Cora is by herself when she is taken in by a couple that is very scared that they will eventually be caught housing slaves. Martin and Ethel Wells make Cora’s time with them feel like a prison, until Ridgeway finds her again.

Tennessee – Ridgeway takes Cora here, because he has another slave to catch. Cora finds out that slave owners and catchers care a great deal about the message of bringing a slave back to their owner/plantation, because it relays a message to other slaves and diminishes their hopes of running away, where Cora’s mom gave very many slaves hope. Cora ends up fleeing with a man named Royal.

Indiana – This is the best place Cora has named a home. She is living on the Valentine’s farm with a large number of escaped slaves that are just trying to make a new life for themselves. Cora shares a house with a mother and a young daughter who she grows very attached to. Cora also allows herself to fall in love and begins healing from the years of abuse, trauma, and fear she has had to live. Cora, also, falls in love with reading and education, and I felt such happiness and hope for her. But as we learned from South Carolina, it is dangerous to ever feel safe as a runaway slave, even if your plantation owner has died. Cora is again forced to flee, this time leaving many pieces of her heart behind.

The next, and second to last, chapter of this book is in Cora’s mother’s point of view. It was heartbreaking, and I could barely read with the tears that were constantly blocking my vision. If this book ended on this chapter it would have been an easy five stars. My heart breaks for Ajarry, Mabel, Cora, and every single family that has been impacted by the horrible violence and violations from slavery.

Also, the prose and metaphors in this book are truly in a league of their own. Colson Whitehead has crafted such a unique and important book, and his talent seeps through and onto the pages. I will recommend this to everyone and anyone.

But I truly disliked the last chapter of this book. I’m not saying that every book needs a happy ending, but I’m not the biggest fan of open ended endings. From being such an impactful and meaningful story to then juxtaposing a bland and open-ended ending just felt wrong. I could completely be in the minority with this feeling, but I’ve been thinking about this ending for a couple days and it upsets me every time.