There are no spoilers in this review.
Let me set things straight before getting into this review: This Savage Song is a book out of my comfort zone. Like, really out, there and far away. I have been getting more and more into fantasy books, different books I ended up loving, these past few years, but This Savage Song was still a massive step out of the usual way I go, with books.
Why, you ask? There are monsters. Like, really bad monsters. If I’m being completely honest here, I’m kind of a wuss. Everything indicated that this book was not for me, yet… I have read the Shades of Magic series by Schwab and was impressed and in awe with her qualities as a writer and world-builder. Also, I asked Kat which books I should buy a couple weeks ago and she told me to get this book. I didn’t know, at first, but then I told myself okay. let’s try.
I did RIGHT. I ended up enjoying this book about monsters. Like, really enjoying it.
Alright, story-time over, let’s get into this review now, shall we.
AN INCREDIBLE WORLD-BUILDING
“He wasn’t made of flesh and bone, or starlight.
He was made of darkness.”
This Savage Song is set into a city divided in two, where monsters, actual, real monsters, live. People don’t go out after dark. People are scared, and so am I while reading this book. Yet I can’t stop. In this city divided in two, where a man named Haker makes people pay for his protection from the monsters on one side, and where another man named Flynn rules the other side of the city… well, everything is weird and scary and here to make you feel on edge, right from the very beginning of the book.
“Good and bad were weak words. Monsters didn’t care about intentions or ideals. The facts were simple. The South was chaos. The North was order. It was an order bought and paid for with blood and fear, but order all the same.”
I am not here to tell the story you’re going to read in the synopsis, but here to talk about the incredible world-building and talent of the author. I was surprised and amazed by her skills in the Shades of Magic series, and I found that again in This Savage Song: an ability to create a three-dimensional world, with rules and incredible details, making this book a vivid read that clearly immerse you right in the heart of this messy, freaky, violent world. The details put both into the world, landscapes and rules of it all, the past of the city, the history behind the conflict, but as well inside the characters’ minds and back-stories, is fantastic. I can say without a doubt that Schwab is one of the authors I admire the most for that: her abilities, not to write books, but worlds you immerse yourself into. Worlds you are so into that you find yourself a bit dazed once you get out of it. She makes you feel everything.
TWO GREAT MAIN CHARACTERS – ONE I TRY TO LOVE, ONE I WANT TO HUG
Told from a dual POV, This Savage Song takes us into the minds and hearts of both characters opposite of each other in this city at war. Kate, daughter of Harker and August, son of Flynn (sort of). All she wants is to make her father proud and gain his respect. All he wants is to be human, feel human, be something he is not, but he is a monster.
“I live in a world where shadows have teeth. It’s not a particularly relaxing environment.”
As the story goes on, we get to know both characters, get details on who they are, why they do what they do, their back stories and so on, making us slowly fall in love with them. I had a bit of a hard time loving Kate, it took me a little while to grow attached to her, but eventually I understood her and wanted her to be okay, even if at times… I dreamed of slapping her. She struggled to be who she wanted to be for her father and what she really is, inside. I loved that internal struggle.
“It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.”
August is precious, in a way that I wanted to hug him right from the start, even if he is a monster. All he wants is to escape who he is, but sometimes that just can’t happen and he broke my heart. I JUST LOVE HIM OKAY.
A HEART-POUNDING, ORIGINAL (AND A BIT CRAZY) RIDE
This Savage Song was a heart-pounding, fast-paced read – once you get into the story and the first part. I don’t know if all of Schwab’s books work this way, but I found myself feeling the same way as I did in the beginning of ADSOM: it was a bit slow to get into. But it only serves the story well, in the end, because this time taken at the beginning perfectly sets up the world we are in, only to allow ourselves to get more immersed into it right after-wards.
There was fight, there was blood, there were moments where I wanted to close my eyes and moments I didn’t enjoy reading – yes, still out of my comfort zone a bit, all of these bloody monsters – …. yet, I surprised myself by enjoying this story a whole lot. The originality of the plot, the way I grew attached to the characters, rooted for them and wanted them to be okay. AND THE PLOT TWISTS AND BAD GUYS and I shall put no spoilers here but there is someone I LOATHE okay.
If you like Schwab’s work, aren’t afraid of a dark, urban fantasy story and monsters, I’d heavily recommend this one. It was a wild ride and I’m definitely going to read the sequel – hiding under a blanket, in case something bad happens to my babies. Especially August.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Trigger warnings: violence, murder, attempted murder, torture.
Victoria Schwab, This Savage Song, Published by Greenwillow Books, July 5th, 2017.
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.
Did you read This Savage Song? Do you want to?
Did you read any other books by Victoria Schwab? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in comments!