This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Published by Greenwillow Books on July 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 464 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased
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.
Alright I’m officially declaring 2016 my year of Victoria Schwab! Her stories have bewitched and broken me and she has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Surprisingly This Savage Song is my first YA read of hers but it impressed me just as much as the Shades of Magic series. Lines have been drawn in the city of Verity, the designation between human and monster has blurred, and Kate Harker and August Flynn are right in the middle of it all.
Harker & Flynn
It all comes down to Harker and Flynn. While Callum Harker controls the Corsai and Malchai in the north, Henry Flynn holds the south with the Sunai. This leaves their children in the crossfire. Kate is a vicious little thing, setting fire to a chapel right at the start. She wants to command attention and instill fear like her father. August, on the other hand, loves his family and wants to help but also rejects what he truly is.
Both of them just want to belong. Kate to get home and prove herself to her father and August’s desire to fight the hunger and try to be as human as possible. This common bond brings them together and allows their friendship to form and thrive. They struggle with each decision made but they persevere through it and rely on each other. So refreshing to not have any romance between them.
Corsai, Malchai, Sunai
The monsters of Verity are such terrifying constructs bridging on horror. The way these monsters come into the world is such a frightening concept and has stuck with me since I finished reading. Each of the three takes its own shape and has its own quirks. Just check out this little diddy:
Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They’re gonna come and eat you all.
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!
I honestly want to sing this song to all the little children. I must be a Sunai then using music to feed off of evil souls.
This narrative really dissects what being monstrous truly means, how there are so many shades of gray when tackling this question. Humanity is a fickle thing and each one of us needs to understand the layers of a person. The complexity of it was handled with such care and I applaud Schwab for this foray into the murky waters of humans and monsters.
Overall This Savage Song was another excellent book from Victoria Schwab. She just keeps blowing me away with her dark, intense stories filled with vibrant, complex characters. Kate and August have found a special place in my heart and I cannot wait for the next one. In the mean time I’ll be working my way through the rest of her backlist but I definitely will be recommending this one to everybody.
So are you as head over heels with Schwab’s writing as I am? What did you think of This Savage Song? Have you read any of her other books? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!