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.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Book Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Release Date: July 5th 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
A city full of monsters and humans trying to live peacefully amongst one another is tricky. Some people, like Kate Harker’s father, believe they can control the worst of these monsters, promising safety to any of the city’s denizens who buy a talisman from him. Followers of Harker wearing these necklaces are bought with this promise of protection from the monsters, knowing Harker will take down any monster who does not abide by these rules. For others, like those following August Flynn’s father, Henry, they believe the worst of the monsters should be eradicated. August Flynn and his two siblings help with that. As one of the Sunai, who feed on the souls of the sinners, August helps when it is necessary to get rid of the worst of these perpetrators. Unlike his brother Leo though, August fights the nature of his being. He hates what he is and would do anything not to be a monster. Then there’s Kate…
Kate had the too-tough girl act from the get go, and I wasn’t so sure I was going to like reading from her POV throughout the rest of the book as a result. Once I got to know her character a little better though, it became more tolerable when I realized it was all just an act. In order to come back to the city and get away from boarding schools, Kate has to rebel at each and every school her father sends her too. I felt sorry for her on numerous occasions, because unlike August who has the love of Henry who isn’t even his actual biological father, Kate is unable to get her father’s attention despite her best attempts. Whether it’s burning down the chapel in her Catholic school or picking fights with other students, he just keeps sending her to new boarding schools. Eventually she wins out and gets to come back to the city and live with him.
I was REALLY excited about This Savage Song after going to the book signing for it last week at Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville. Although I have yet to read anything by Victoria Schwab before I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Shades of Magic Series she’s written. Then when she described the premise of This Savage Song and how dark it was, I knew I wanted to put a pause on the book I’m currently reading in exchange for starting this once I got home.
I will say though, I was a little disappointed at the outcome. While I do think her writing closely resembles that of Holly Black (I’m thinking of the Curse Workers Series and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown) who I am a big fan of, I don’t think it worked out as well in her favor. I almost felt like Schwab was trying too hard to write like Black in this book and the execution wasn’t what I hoped for. Yes, I liked the idea of the plot and August and Kate were relatively good main characters, but I wanted to read more about the city and what was going on around them. The book is dark, but for YA I didn’t think it was actually that bad.
I don’t want to end on a low note, because I did enjoy reading this book a bit and I was happy that it was told from both a male and female’s POV. Although I was originally intending to give this book a rating of 3 stars, the last two pages of the book threw a curveball that I was not expecting and that made me decide to give book 2 of this series a shot. All in all, This Savage Song is a rather quick and easy read, but I am a little disappointed this was one of the first books I’ve read by Schwab as I didn’t get on with it as much as I’d hoped.