The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy book 3) by Jen Williams (book review).

‘The Poison Song’ is book three in ‘The Winnowing Flame Trilogy’ by Jen Williams. This review will contain spoilers for books one and two, proceed with caution.

After getting to the end of book two, ‘The Bitter Twins’, readers will know that our heroes have lost a few of their friends and more will be lost in this book as they try to fight back against the Jure’lia. Tor, Noon and Vintage have to try to gather forces from the disparate people around and in Sarn to try and fight the Jure’lia. They have to stop them covering their country in green varnish and turning their people into walking corpses eaten inside by hideous bugs. This book is not for you if you have any kind of fear of bugs. The Warbeasts and their riders must become closer than ever and try to figure out how to beat their eternal enemy.

I don’t know about anyone else but I’m always confusing the Warbeasts names with what kind of animal they are and who their rider is. I’d love to have some kind of drawings of them alongside a little background for them at the beginning or end of the book for those of us with poor memories. Oh and a map of the of the countries mentioned would be fabulous, too.

Following Tor’s sister Hestillion within one of the Jure’lia ships is really illuminating as to why they are doing what they’re doing. Their reasoning is completely understandable once we learn why they have to change the planet. I really do like to hear from the ‘baddies’ in stories to see what their reasoning is as it shows that often they are understandable. This is one of the great things about Williams’ books, each character has an intricate and well-developed back story, even side characters and baddies. They all have their own baggage and reasons why they behave the way they do.

I really enjoyed the little snippets from Agent Chenlo’s private records of how she and her troop gathered up girls to take to the Winnowry. Between that and the others bits we learn about how the flame was given to some girls in this world, this book really is mostly about Noon and her background. There really is a lot about the Winnowry and Fell Witches in general and how it all works in terms of where their power comes from. We also get a lot more background of Noon and how she wound up in the Winnowry and what makes her special.

Even though I didn’t get on as well with this book as others by Williams, I still ended up ugly crying at the end of the book. We have so much drama in the final few pages of this book, it was all incredibly emotional. As you expect people are lost, while others have to carry on with their lives having been in this terrifying final battle. It’s hard to remember but this whole trilogy started off with Vintage being her usual nosy self and hiring Tor as a bodyguard, how far we’ve all come.

Overall, I’m glad to have finished this series, to see what happened to everyone and how it was all finally finished. I do feel that my favourite series by Williams was her ‘Copper Cat Trilogy’ and I await further books from her.

Sarah Bruch

September 2020

(pub: Headline, 2020. 566 page paperback. Price:£14.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-47223-523-7)

check out website: www.headline.co.uk

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