This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Published by: Greenwillow Books on July 5th, 2016
Series: Monsters of Verity Book 1
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?
This Savage Song tells the story of two very different teenagers living in a world overrun by monsters. There are three kinds of monsters in this world: the Corsai, who feed on flesh, the Malchai, who drink blood, and the Sunai, who feed on souls.
“Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw, shadow and bone will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly, smile and bite and drink you dry.
Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal, sing you a song and steal your soul.
Monsters, monsters, big and small, they’re gonna come and eat you all.”
Kate Harker is the daughter of Callum Harker, the ruthless man who rules the North Side of Verity, which is what the United States used to be. In five years, she has gotten kicked herself out of six boarding schools, but now she is finally coming home, which is all she has ever wanted. August Flynn is a Sunai, but the thing about Sunais are that they look almost exactly like humans. August’s father is Henry Flynn, the man who rules the opposing South Side of Verity, and he is sent to the same boarding school as Kate to keep an eye on her and report back to his father.
The beginning of the book was very slow, and it took me around 150 pages or so to get into it, which is why it took me longer than usual to read. Even though it was a fantasy book about monsters, the beginning just seemed quite juvenile to me, and I didn’t really like Kate. I also was quite confused with the world at first, but it really started to make sense to me more as the characters began to actually be exposed to these monsters, instead of just having them tell us about them.
The action really picked up halfway through the book, and that’s also when the character development really started happening. Before reading this book, I had heard that it had no romance, and honestly, that turned me off a little bit, since I am a huge fan of romance. But I actually really enjoyed the relationship between the characters. They had to get to know each other first, and it wouldn’t have made sense for them to get together in this book anyway, because of their general character and their intense surroundings. Like I said, I found Kate to be really irritating in the beginning of the novel, but by the end, I loved her.
August was also a really interesting character. He is a monster who wants to be human, but his older brother, Leo, is constantly reminding him that this is who he is, and he must accept and embrace it. He was very sweet, though, and I really enjoyed every one of his scenes with Kate. They have such a nice platonic relationship, something that we don’t usually get to see between boys and girls in YA.
“It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.”
The world building was good, and while I don’t want to compare too much, I can’t help but think of the intricate world Victoria Schwab created in her Shades of Magic series, with the parallel Londons, pirates, and evil twin rulers. That being said, I really did like learning about the different monsters and their roles and rankings in the world of Verity, even though I was a bit confused at first.
All in all, this was a really solid book, and while it was a little boring in the beginning, the rest of it made up for it. It was action packed, there was always something new happening, and the ending has got me really excited for the next book. It’s not Victoria Schwab’s best work, and it’s slightly lackluster in comparison to her Shades of Magic series (granted, I’ve only read the first book), but I still enjoyed myself while reading it. And if you’re a fan of monsters, humanity, great character development, and fantasy in general, I think you will too.