I still don’t know why I put off picking up This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1) by Victoria Schwab. Actually, I might blame it on the fact that I heard it involved music and that reminded me of the most boring book I picked up and ultimately DNFed last year, Passengers. But I will never doubt goddess Schwab ever again, because this book was just amazing.
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.
I’ve come to recognize Schwab’s writing style to almost be soothing. You’re probably like, Larkin has lost her mind and must be thinking of a different author. But fear not readers, I have not lost my mind… YET. Just kidding! Anyways, what I mean when I call her writing style soothing, I mean that it reads at a steady pace (or it does for me anyway). Even when there’s tons of action going on, the pacing never changes for me but just continues along. I think that really emphasized the darkness of this book, almost giving it a surreal quality while reading it. It made the tragedy of the situation that much more terrible and basically highlighting the fact that it can only end one way, tragically.
It’s time to just all agree that Schwab is the queen of strong and independent female characters. If you loved Lila Bard, then Kate Harker is going to be your next obsession. She’s incredibly strong, cunning, and full of enough snark and attitude to keep you grinning through the entire book. Yet, you can see how vulnerable she is. She’s just a typical teen looking for her father’s approval. Then you have August, who is in constant battle with himself to stay in control and not lose any of the little bit of humanity that he does have. He refuses to be the monster that he is. I found August to be one of, if not the most, complex character that I’ve read about so far this year. I really enjoyed being able to experience his struggles along with him. At times he seemed even more human than the actual humans. I especially loved his interactions with his fellow Sunai and being able to see the differences between each of them.
The world-building in this book was amazing. Schwab took the typical dystopian setting and completely turned it into something unique and engaging. The idea that our negative actions actually morph into physical monsters is such an interesting concept. You can see that Schwab was actually using this metaphor to commentate on the evil that occurs every single day. I love it.
I think my only issue with this book was that I struggled in the beginning to understand what was going on. You’re immediately thrown into the story and are not really explained as to what is happening until further on. I found myself confused by all of the different terms used to describe the monsters. Luckily, things do eventually get explained but I don’t think that happens until after about 50 pages into the story.
I totally recommend this book. It’s dark and isn’t full of rainbows and sunshine, but it will make you think and have you hooked from the very first page. If you haven’t read any of Schwab’s novels before now, I do recommend starting off with this duology to get a feel for her writing style. You will not be disappointed!
Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars
Have you read This Savage Song? What did you think of compared to Schwab’s other novels? Did you like August or Kate better?