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. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.
“People are users. It’s a universal truth. Use them, or they’ll use you.”
I don’t exactly know how I’m going to write a “review” that summarises my thoughts about this book, but I’m going to try my best. This Savage Song is out-of-this-world good. It is also literally out-of-this-world (I do love me some puns), and set in a paranormal alternate universe where the city of Verity is divided into two: the North and the South. The North is under the protection of Harker whom the people pay to keep the monsters at bay. The South is protected by Flynn, who keep both the monsters and the sinners in the city in control. What monsters do I keep referring to? Now, that’s the interesting part.
In the This Savage Song universe, monsters are created out of acts of violence, and they can be either Malchai, Corsai or Sunai. The clicker you need to know here is that all three eat people, albeit their methods and ways are different. Most Malchai and Corsai are under Harker’s iron fist, but the Sunai—supposedly the strongest of the three—have willingly allied themselves with Flynn. But This Savage Song isn’t about Harker and Flynn. It’s about Harker Jr and Flynn Jr and their highly adventurous journey, navigating the monster mob.
“The city is such a big place. It’s full of holes. Don’t fall in.”
The story begins with Kate Harker burning down the school chapel because she wanted an out. Now, I didn’t exactly agree with her methods. That screams irresponsible and crass not rebellious. BUT before that first impression was set in stone, Kate managed to change my mind about herself. She did everything, all of it to get her father’s attention, believing that she belonged at his side, and knowing her story as I do now, I am not surprised. She wasn’t a half bad protagonist, and as the story progressed into deeper, more complicated situations, I was rather impressed by her resourcefulness and strength. The other part of the puzzle is August Flynn, violin extraordinaire. Also, he’s a Sunai who eats the souls of sinners. Yeah. So much fun, this guy. In all seriousness, August was my favourite character. He was the kind of guy you’d want to wrap in a blanket and shield from all atrocities and love all the time and give all the nice things to.
Victoria Schwab’s writing is what brings this entire world to life. She got it just right with her descriptions, and keeping the reader in the dark in the beginning and the mystery that she weaves around the masters of the city. There were grey area characters, villains with motives and stories, and the non-romance between the two non-heroes that didn’t let me set the book down for a minute! There was action and adventure and so. much. blood and it made me hella happy. Not a dull moment to be found anywhere in the book, and that fact that it has a fantastic cast of characters and highly dangerous situations is definitely going to put it high up on the fan favourites this year!
“It was a cycle of whimpers and bangs, gruesome beginnings and bloody ends.”
I WAS PROVIDED A FREE EARC OF THIS BOOK BY Greenwillow books THROUGH EDELWEISS IN EXCHANGE OF AN HONEST REVIEW. THIS DID NOT IN ANY WAY, HOWEVER, INFLUENCE THE CONTENT OF THIS REVIEW.