Name: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity
Source: July Uppercase box
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: July 5th, 2016
Page Count: 427
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.
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.
Greetings and salutations! I can’t believe I’m about to start writing my first official book review (alright, keep it cool). Today I’ll be discussing This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab as pictured above. I received this book as part of my monthly subscription to Uppercase Box. At first I wasn’t sure if i would read it right away, which meant that it would fall in my huge to-read pile. However, as I was checking the Sunday panels for the San Diego Comic Con I saw that the author would be there, and so I decided to bring the book with me. I didn’t start reading the book after I saw the author. It was all because she kept referring to it as an “identity crisis” novel, something that sounded very interesting. Thus began my journey into this monstrous world…
Warning: This review will contain spoilers, if you wish to remain unspoiled then you shouldn’t continue reading this. I you don’t care for spoilers then keep on reading but consider yourself warned.
Book cover & title
I am a sucker for beautifully designed book covers (honestly, who isn’t?) and this is one of those. I think it’s one of my favorites. At first glance it doesn’t look like much, but it features an important element of the story, music. It does so by having a violin (August’s instrument of choice) front and center and inside the violin shows a city (V-city most probably) creating a multilayered image. Another thing that makes this cover great is the colors that were used: red and black. When I noticed the colors the first thing that came to mind was blood and mystery, which I think can extend to the main characters (August and Kate), we’ll talk more about them later on. The colors also help the tagline become more credible “there’s no such thing as safe.” From those two aspects, the instruments and the colors, the cover suggests that some mystery will be looked into, there will be violence, and that music will somehow be involved. I think that covers some of the big aspects of the story and any cover that is able to encompass so much of the story like that is an amazing cover.
Now on to the title! The title appears twice in the book jacket, on the front and the book’s spine. The font used for the front is very aesthetically pleasing and it makes me think of music; I think it’s my favorite thing from the cover. The spine’s title looks like a neon and it reminds me of the Stranger Things title card. The words that make up the title completely relate to the book down to the pronoun “this”. The word “savage” is usually used to describe creatures other than humans and that’s exactly what monsters are or how they are seen. Then you have the word “song” which encaptures the musical aspect of the story. Moreover, I truly believe that the title for this book is spot on.
This story contains two main characters, Kate Harker and August Flynn, the daughter and son to the different leaders of V-city. I will talk about them separately and then I will talk about their relationship with each other, so here we go…
Kate Harker -> Her main goal is to become someone who her father will be proud of. To her that means getting rid of human feelings and emotions which she believes are weaknesses. Her biggest issue is becoming like her mother, whom she believes to be a weak person because she could not deal with her father after he became the leader of North V-city.
I really liked Kate, she was badass but not fearless. I admired that she was tough and kept her head when overwhelming situations arose. Even though she tried to be like her father she couldn’t, and I think it comes down to morals. She wasn’t the most righteous of them all, but she did her best to help August even though he was a stranger and a monster (which she doesn’t particularly like). She saw beyond the word monster and discovered who her father really was.
I love the game she plays of “where are you?” because I think it tells us about her true nature and that this person she wants to become is not want she wishes for deep inside.
I enjoyed getting to read how Kate dealt with things and I found myself wondering if she would really become her father’s daughter, I was uncertain of what her fate will be. However, when she did this I knew that she would stray from her goal:
“Kate swallowed, then tugged her pendant over her head. The weight of silver was solid, reassuring. She didn’t want to get rid of it, but she couldn’t stay here on the side of the road, either. She held it up for the driver to see.”
To me that is her defining moment. She is not going back to be fighting for the daughter spot anymore, she knows that she is better than that.
August Flynn/Freddie -> My poor baby monster. I found him adorable, maybe that isn’t the best way to describe him. Oh well.
August is a monster, a Sunai. All throughout the story he refers to himself as “lost.” I believe this stems from him not knowing where he came from because he was just created. Besides that, I don’t think he was that hard to figure out. He knew he was different from his siblings and especially different from his brother Leo. I believe it was a matter of accepting what he was in order to become who he is (does that make sense?). He wasn’t afraid to act afraid, and he also reacted well under pressure when it came to healing Kate. You could also say the he was reckless because he was starving himself but that came from him to accepting himself and now he knows the consequences of that. Another thing that I enjoyed about August was his relationship with his family. He really loved his father dearly even though he really isn’t his father and his father seemed to care for him too. He really cared for his sister too and I’m sad about what happened to her. Hopefully we will see more of her in the next one.
Victoria Schwab mentioned that there was a Sunai who got souls from painting, could that be her?
I liked the whole “started with a bang and ended with a whimper,” it was his thing like how Kate had her “where are you?” She was more open about it than him though. I was also very interested in learning about August’s power. Like what could he really do, I guess I was like Leo (his brother) in that aspect because I wanted him to live to his fullest potential. Moreover, my favorite part was when he went “dark” and the leading up to it. I loved that we got to see that part of him and I’m excited to see the aftermath of it.
Kate & August’s relationship -> I enjoyed their time together they made a good team. I think what brought them together was that neither of them knew what they were, who they were. I believe they were both lost and they saw that in each other. The difference was that August admitted to himself that he was lost while Kate thought once she was with her dad she would be found, she was wrong.
I think some of their best moments were in the house. She held his hand all the way through even though it hurt her and she promised she wouldn’t let him turn. He didn’t judge when she killed that person.
Going on that journey together made them understand themselves to a certain extent. I also like that their change wasn’t made by love for each other, that was great. Just people who relate to one another and help each, friends I guess. That was very interesting to read and very refreshing as well. A lot of these books center on how opposing parties fall in love and bring everything together. I think a friendship is much more powerful in regards of the brutal world they live in.
I loved both characters but I found myself more interested in August’s story at some points.
The story focuses on the rift caused by opposing parties to a city ravaged by violence and as a consequence monsters. V-city is part of the territory called Verity; there’s more territories aside from the one the story takes place in. This territory has been ravaged by violence, as aforementioned, and so as a consequence those acts result in monsters.
There were three kinds of monsters: corsai (acts of violence but not death), malchai (homicide), and sunai (mass acts of violence). The monsters are familiar but with some twist. The most interesting one is the Sunai, I mean they steal the souls of sinners. That is really amazing, I would love to be able to do that but then again no.
Anyway, the story is somewhat fast paced which is good and develops fairly quickly. However, I have to say that I did not really care for the whole school part of the story. I know it was a way for the characters to meet and all of that but I just felt very okay about it nothing too thrilling. I feel like that part was also the slowest part of the book. When they met that’s where it picked up for me.
The main conflict is that the characters are afraid that a war will break out between North and South V-city and the monsters are right at the helm of it, or so it seems. I think the main villains were pretty obvious because they were shady from the start. I liked that no side was good or bad, both parties had villains in them.
What really got me were the scenes at the farm-house and the aftermath of that. Also, that ending..what does it mean? What is happening in the other territories? Is the person really THAT person? I need to know!
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was an interesting concept with a refreshing outlook. At parts it had me confused and I wish there was more description about the monsters. However, I’m really looking forward to the next installment in the series. Also, will be reading more from this author since her writing was very easy to follow and entertaining.
Man, this was longer than I thought it would be. I spent way too much time talking about the characters but that’s only because they were my favorite part of the story besides the monsters. I hope you enjoyed reading this really long review. Please let me know what you think of it as well as how I can improve 🙂
Rating: ◯ ◯ ◯ ◯
All the links attached to the author’s name lead to her different social media.
Also, here’s the goodreads link for it