This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity, #1
Pages: 464
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: July 5th 2016 

      “Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.
      August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.
      Their city is divided.
      Their city is crumbling.
      Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.
      But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?”

swirl (2)

“They swam in darkness and fed on fear, their bodies sick, distended shapes that looked human only if you caught them out of the corner of your eye. And by then, it was usually too late to run.”

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab is probably not a novel I’d typically reach for, but as the author has written one of the best fantasy series I’ve come across, I simply had to pick up this urban fantasy. I went into this novel knowing very little about it, save for the premise revolving around monsters. Schwab paints a very unique world where the violence of humankind has produced monstrous creatures that lurk in the night and feed on humans. The first half of the book is largely devoted to world-building as readers get acquainted not just with the two leads, but with the world they were brought up in. It’s a really interesting concept to picture these creatures as physical manifestations of violence: the Corsai are bred from nonfatal acts while the Malchai are born from murders, but Schwab adds another layer to these monsters by introducing someone like August, a rare Sunai, produced from an act of violence that has claim multiple lives, who is more interested in being human than monster. For Kate and for almost everyone else, the nature of monsters is very cut and dry; after all, they are products of violence and are therefore bringers of violence as well. There are some truly terrifying monsters in this novel, ones that feed off of fear and who have an insatiable appetite for human blood, but there are also human characters who are just as violent.

Kate and August have been raised by two very different men in a city divided. For Kate, Callum Harker has always been a kind of enigma. Raised largely by her mother, Kate’s father is more like an incomplete image in her head. Harker is willing to do anything to keep North City safe, he believes that he can control the monsters that rove the darkness and he benefits largely from those able pay for his protection. Much of Kate’s character arc revolves around her need to live up to this impossible standard her father has wrought. She is willing to take, threaten, and otherwise demolish anyone who stands in her way. But unlike her father, who is so sure of his right to lead, Kate sees the cracks in this world. She knows that safety is just an illusion in a city overrun with monsters, that the monsters her father offers protection against are not the only monsters in the world. When she meets August, she finds someone who sees the world like she does and who she feels she can be honest around.

August is a character who is really easy to root for. As one of the rarest kinds of monster, August’s nature is fundamentally different. He can pass as human and struggles to rein in the parts of his nature that make him feel less so. I loved that Schwab uses August as a foil to his brother Leo, another Sunai who believes in embracing his darker side, and also uses him as a contrast to many of the human characters who lack the kind of humanity he seems to have in spades. Raised by Henry Flynn, the leader of South City, August has always been treated like a son and perhaps the bond he has with his family is the reason behind his desire to be human. While Harker is very much devoted to controlling monsters, in South City Flynn believes that these monsters must be eliminated, along with the humans whose violent acts have brought them into being.

Overall, Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song is a little slow in developing its world-building, but the latter half of the novel is quite the thrill ride, with its final pages giving me an insatiable craving for more.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

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16 thoughts on “This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

  1. Ah! I’ve really been wanting to read this one! I’m so glad you liked it and everyone is saying good things about it. Music and monsters sounded really good but now it sounds like it’s about humanity also and what makes us human or inhuman. That’s even more right up my alley. Now I can’t wait until I get my hands on this book!

    Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. For whatever reason, I still have yet to pick up a Victoria Schwab book. She sounds perfect for my taste. But, you know that about me already. *wink* I really like how you’ve broken the characters down. August does sound pretty amazing–a monster with a soul. I’ll be adding this to my TBR ASAP. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. I agree with your point on pacing, it really does pick up in the second half of the book. I think this is characteristic of Schwab, she’s meticulous in setting up her worlds so it takes her some time to get to the action (though Kate setting fire to that chapel certainly makes for a spectacular beginning).

    And yeah, August is such a great little monster! I loved the contrast between him and Leo, as well as his struggles against his monstrous nature.

    I’m glad you liked this, Alicia! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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