Title: This Savage Song
Series: Monsters of Verity, #1
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publication: July 5th 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 464 pages
Format: Library book
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.
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So here’s the alphabetical run down:
Schwab gives her characters such realistic motivation for their actions. Kate and August as the main characters had really complex back stories that gave their personalities depth and believability.
Similar to Lila in Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic series, Kate is tough as nails, but beneath her exterior she has serious motivation for her toughness. August, on the other hand, is such a contrast to the other monsters in the book with his overwhelming desire to be human. The balance between the two of their characters is perfect.
This cover is gorgeous! The red violin silhouette with the city alleyway embedded in the picture fits the story perfectly. The hand lettered looking title is faintly metallic; another detail that is pulled from the story.
The story is not a romance at all. Kate and August’s family relationships and friendship really take precedence and are all so wonderfully complex. Trust and loyalty are main themes of the relationships in the book.
In a less capable authors hands, a story about monsters could have been cheesy, but Schwab is a more than capable author. She’s brilliant! The monsters were frightening, detailed, smart, and murderous at the same time.
The pacing of the world building was perfect. The city of Verity and the different types of monsters weren’t explained at the beginning of the book, which really works for me. I am not a fan of information dumping, where an author wants you to understand the world they’ve created from the first chapter, so they tell you instead of show you. Schwab very cleverly uses everything from history lessons at school to a child singing a song to show you the world she has created. She builds it up piece by piece, until it feels real.
The conclusion wrapped up the first (of two books) nicely, without a cliff hanger, but also left enough unanswered questions that the second book could not come soon enough!
“Good and bad were weak words. Monsters didn’t care about intentions or ideals.”
“‘You have to break them early,’ her father once said. Of course, he’d been talking about monsters, not teenagers, but they had a lot in common. Both had hive minds; they thought – and acted – in groups.”
“You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.”
This is definitely one of my favorite books this year and I highly recommend it! Schwab writes complex and dynamic characters, an original concept, fantastic world building… I just can’t say anything bad about this book!!!