Book Review | This Savage Song

I love Victoria Schwab. Every time I read one of her books, I get utterly sucked into a world that is not my own. Her writing is subtle and beautiful, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to love anything that comes out of her genius mind. Obviously, I had to get my hands on her newest book, This Savage Song, immediately. And it completely and totally blew me away.

26074170Kate 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.

You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.

Like most of Schwab’s books, This Savage Song started slowly (for me, not sure why, as the action starts almost immediately). That’s not to say it wasn’t good. It just took me a while to get into it. I didn’t even notice that it was worming it’s way into my bran until it was too late. I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down, and ended up reading almost the entire book in a single sitting. It is so damn good. Obviously, I adore Schwab’s writing. She has quickly become one of my auto-buy authors, and I know I’m getting something unique and fun whenever I dive into one of her books. Her style is the epitome of what I’m currently into/trying to emulate: simple, but beautiful.

Which is kind of the exact opposite of her characters. They’re gritty and real and definitely not simple. And I loved them! Up until TSS, I’d only read Schwab’s adult books (which are amazing, seriously go read them now), so I was curious to see how she’d handle juvenile characters. And they were absolutely perfect. She managed to make them realistic teenagers, even though they’re in a situation that forces them to grow up quickly. They’re not overly mature, they’re not special snowflakes, they’re not annoyingly unrealistic (I’m talking to you almost every single other YA dystiopian/urban fantasy). It’s honestly been a while since I read a YA book and wasn’t distracted by how naive yet overconfident the characters are. So I really appreciated August and Kate. They’re something else.

It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.

And that brings me to…. setting. What can I say? It was amazing? Wonderfully dark and underworldy (yes, I made up that word, deal with it)? Thrillingly fun? All of the above? Okay, I’m done with the rhetorical questions (I’m in a weird mood right now). It was so good. Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman, Veronica Roth, and Suzanne Collins, but also something that is uniquely Schwab. I absolutely adored the monsters – both how cool and unique they are, and the fact that Schwab limited herself to three (nonhuman) species. YES. I was not overwhelmed by vampires and werewolves and angles and demons and half-breeds and hybrids. Just three very distinct types of monsters, each special in their own way.

Rating: ★★★★★

Obviously this was a five-star read. I love this book so much – I’m already tempted to reread it – and cannot wait for the sequel. (Side note: I’m really liking this new duology trend happening right now. Also, this is part of a duology.) If you were on the fence about this book or are just looking for a great new read, definitely pick it up. You won’t regret it, I promise!

Corsai, Corsai,
Tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone
Will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai,
Sharp and sly,
Smile and bite
And drink you dry.
Sunai, Sunai,
Eyes like coal,
Sing a song
And steal your soul.
Monsters, monsters,
Big and small,
They’re gonna come
And eat you all.