Source: paperback via publisher. Thank you Titan Books for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: YA urban fantasy.
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters.
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. 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 secrets are fragile and Kate and August might have a common enemy after all.
First of all, if you hate spoilers, don’t read the Goodreads synopsis. It’s not huge or anything (and I edited some of it out of the text up there) but I went into this book completely blind (my favourite lately) and I’m really glad I did.
I was extremely lucky and received a finished paperback copy from Titan Books, which is the edition I would order in any case as I usually order UK editions whenever possible. It’s gorgeous – and it comes out a full month earlier than its US counterpart. So if you live in the US, you’ll have to wait a bit longer, sorry. Also, indicate if you comments contain spoilers if you’ve read it already! :)
Victoria Schwab has now firmly rooted herself as one of my all-time favourite authors. Not just fantasy authors, either. Her books are auto-buy for me and if I have complaints (which you know I invariably do), they’re always superficial. Her writing, her imagination, her characters – they shine, people. I always have crazy high expectations, too, which is really unfair, but she delivers every single time. And as much as I love light-hearted books with happy endings, she makes me crave more of the heavy stuff because I can tell you, the dark side is looking pretty damn fine when she’s waving from over there.
This Savage Song is the first part of a duology, which I like a lot since the story will be much tighter this way. It’s action-packed and very intriguing, but Schwab also takes a moment to ponder the questions of good and evil, of monsters and humans, which seem to be present in most of her work (if you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend Vicious). As I said earlier, the writing is beautiful and the inclusion of music as a magical component is brilliant. I’m not much of a musician myself (*cough* understatement) but I do appreciate it as an art form.
The world she builds is a very interesting one. It’s a sort of a post-apocalyptic society based in North America, with super-cities and strange zones where no sensible human ever ventures unless enclosed in an armoured vehicle. The monsters are created in a unique fashion: they are the products of violent acts that humans commit. I enjoyed her world-building immensely, especially as there seem to be no large info dumps which can often be a problem when an entirely new society is being introduced.
Kate and August are great characters. I liked them a lot but perhaps felt more of a connection with August than with Kate. The only complaint I have about this book would be about Kate, actually, since Schwab seems to be veering towards writing a type of a girl character: Kate reminded me of both Lila and Mac at times. They are all fiercely independent – so fiercely, in fact, that they wear their self-sufficiency like armor and refuse to let anyone in. Kate does make some decisions that give me hope, though, and I can’t wait to see how she’ll develop in the sequel. August, however, is one of those “I want to hug you and feed you cake” characters, I love them when they’re a bit damaged – what that says about me is a discussion for another time.
Even the villains of the story are fantastic. Can they be called villains, really? Yeah, some of them, definitely, but others are so, so different. I’m not going to name any names because I want you to have an unspoiled experience of this book. You really should just buy/borrow/get your hands on it any way you can and then we’ll chat, okay?
Have you read This Savage Song? What did you think?
Do you prefer your villains to be all bad or are you all for morally grey characters?
I’d love to hear from you! :)