This Savage Song by Victoria SchwabRating: 3.5 StarsThere’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 really enjoyed this!! I’ve been putting off reading this for a while because 1) I was afraid Schwab wouldn’t live up to expectations and 2) I am a terrible procrastinator who borrowed this from the library THREE TIMES before finally reading it. But I’m so glad I finally did! Maybe it wasn’t the most amazing book I’ve ever read, but it was definitely enjoyable and Schwab’s writing is really good, and now I really want to try some of her other books.
I think what makes this book good is the characters. Kate and August were really fascinating to read about; Kate is motivated by her father’s expectations as well as the expectations she holds for herself, and she did some questionable things to try to meet those expectations. Her actions didn’t feel contrived at all though, because her character was developed enough that they all made sense, even though they weren’t the best choices. And August is the best. He is a monster which is the COOLEST IDEA EVER, and his inner conflict was really well developed and made his character really compelling. Plus, he’s a monster (!!!) and can STEAL YOUR SOUL while playing his violin (!!!) and is just the sweetest guy ever (while at the same time being very morally grey WHICH I ALWAYS LOVE. The other characters were all well developed too, as was the world.
Somehow I missed that This Savage Song is more of a post-apocalyptic/dystopian society and so I was expecting a fantasy setting, or an alternate contemporary setting?? I don’t know. It wasn’t either of those, and I was disappointed at first but Schwab’s world is so vivid and her idea of monsters being created out of violence and danger was SO AMAZING that I ended up not minding it after all. Are all her ideas this good?!? I need more!!
So the characters and world were really good, but I had some issues with the plot. 1) The book wasn’t really slow because events move at a fairly fast pace… but there really weren’t that many things actually happening. I was happy that this allowed a lot of focus on the characters and world, but at a certain point I was ready for something to just happen already. 2) I saw aaalll the twists coming a mile away. Yes, this is just me, and really I should just get used to it already because I have NEVER been surprised by a twist, but maybe someday?!? I keep hoping…
But this was really good, and I’m glad I read it! I might even read the sequel…which would be amazing because I HATE sequels. We’ll see 🙂
This is a book for older teens. There is some violence (the book is about monsters… and they kill people…) as well as some swearing. ( the f and s words 3-4 (?) times each and some other more minor words occasionally.