Ｔｉｔｌｅ：This Savage Song
Ｒａｔｉｎｇ：★ ★ ★ ★ ★
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
✩ Kate was intelligent and knew how to manipulate people to get what she wanted. She was also closed off in the beginning and kind of stubborn.
✩ August was kind-hearted and protective of others. I think he was pretty brave too in his own way.
✩ Leo was really self-righteous and a little intense at times. I would say he was also cruel and unforgiving. He definitely saw the world in black and white.
❝ “Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal, Sing you a song and steal your soul.”❞
This has turned out to be another one of those backlist books I’m kicking myself for not having read sooner. Seriously, such a great read! First of all, I loved the world building for This Savage Song. I was fascinated by the concept of a world where monsters were created by acts of violence.
I also enjoyed the brief history lesson we were able to read about early on in the book when the main characters were at school. It was a smooth, natural way to work some exposition into the story. Although it could feel like a bit of an info dump to some, I think it wasn’t information that was terribly crucial to the story, but that was interesting if you wanted to learn more about the way their world had come to be. I enjoyed it, and it really only took up a page or two so I didn’t mind.
Another aspect of the story I could get behind was the alternating point-of-view chapters between Kate (human) and August (monster). I enjoyed being able to see this tentative peace from both sides. I think it added an interesting twist with August being more human than Kate. It highlighted different problems with both characters and it was just a great way to show monsters in a positive light because of the way that Sunai functioned.
And speaking os Sunai–I definitely have to stop here and talk about this special monster! Here are these fearsome and destructive Corsai and Malchai. But then there’s the Sunai who can steal your soul with music–but only if you’ve killed–they don’t even have to touch you. It’s just kind of badass! I loved the concept for Sunai because Schwab was able to take something terrifying and dangerous and twist it into something that could be good. I also liked many of the theories that Ilsa put out about Sunai. Like how the first beautiful sound they heard was how their instrument of choice was decided, or how the circumstances of their birth influenced how their personalities were shaped. Really, just an overall great concept! Definitely would’ve loved to get to know more about the other monsters, but maybe we will in the second book of the duology.
❝ “What’s so funny?”
“You’re a really shitty monster, August Flynn.” ❞
Now I’m going to backtrack a little and go into the characters. I know I touched a bit on them earlier, so I’ll start with the human perspective of the book, Kate. She is the POV we start out with and the way the book starts is just so impactful. I mean, setting a church on fire on purpose is a pretty strong way to define yourself by–not to mention, it’s hard to forget. I felt like I was able to get so much from her character just by reading that first page. She was really smart and manipulative, but in the end, she was just desperate to earn her father’s approval. There was nothing Kate wanted more than to emulate her father and take over. She was so focused on being a Harker that she closed herself off to who she really was and what she actually wanted.
August was our monster point-of-view and was kind of the opposite of Kate. Rather than wanting to follow in the Flynn footsteps, he just wanted to be able to blend in and be human. He hated being a monster and having to feed, even if it was on guilty people. BetweenAugust and Kate, August was the kinder, more emotional, more understanding of the two. Having the roles reversed was a really interesting aspect of the story that pulled me in because I wanted to see how their meeting would change things–or if it would at all.
As far as the plot goes, I thought it was a good direction to take it in. It had almost two levels to it because of the initial reveal about what was going on, but then there was also the monster aspect to it. I can’t go into specifics about it without spoiling it, obviously, but I will say that it was a good way to make the book feel complete but still have material enough to carry into the second book.
I also want to talk about the character development. I liked the way that both characters were forced together and how they exposed each other’s flaws. In a way, they bettered themselves through their interactions, but at the same time they… well, I guess you could say they remade each other. Kate made August embrace his monster side, and August made Kate more human.
Overall, this was a really imaginative story that blurs the lines between what it means to be a human and a monster. It’s one of those series I think everyone should try and I highly recommend it!