Title: This Savage Song
Author: V. E. Schwab
Series Status: Duology
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Hey, guys! Today I’m here with a spoiler-free book review of This Savage Song by V. E Schwab AKA Victoria Schwab. I recently picked this book up from Waterstones and couldn’t wait to jump straight into it. Before reading this book I had heard great reviews from Booktube and Goodreads so I had very high expectations going into it. This Savage Song is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy novel that is written in the third person and follows two main characters, August Flynn and Kate Harker. This is the first Victoria Schwab book I have ever read and it definitely did not disappoint. Going into this book I didn’t know too much about the premise so it was definitely interesting figuring out the world that Schwab built. I thoroughly enjoyed the book as a whole and it has many great aspects to it. In this review, I’ll be going further into detail about Schwab’s world building, writing, characters and themes.
Firstly, V. E. Schwab creates a fascinating world where monsters exist and roam the city, Verity. Verity is divided into two halves; North City and South City. Callum Harker, the father of the main protagonist Kate Harker, is the ruthless leader of North City. In North City monsters are free to roam the streets and citizens pay for protection from Harker. The South City is run by Henry Flynn, the ‘father’ of August Flynn, who works to protect citizens and fight the monsters. Six years prior the events of This Savage Song a truce was made between the two sides but as the novel begins it is on the verge of crumbling. V. E. Schwab is undeniably great at world building and creating a brand new system. Schwab creates a unique concept by taking the term ‘violence breeds violence’ and making it literal. In this world, when humans commit crimes real monsters are made as a consequence. Schwab creates her own monsters by using well-known creatures and beings to sculpt her own. There are three types of monsters; Corsai, Malchai and Sunai. Schwab makes each monster unique and different in many ways. Corsai are made of shadows with teeth and are born of non-lethal acts. They feed on flesh and bone, alive or dead. Corsai are resemblant to demons. Malchai are products of murders and hold an eerie resonance of the human that made them. Malchai are resemblant of vampires which is evident as they feed on blood. The last monsters; Sunai, are the rarest with only three in existence, August Flynn, Leo Flynn and Ilsa Flynn. Sunai are born from mass tragedies and can only feed on the souls of people who have committed their own crimes and those who have made monsters. Sunai are resemblant to angels in the sense that they can only feed on guilty people. V. E Schwab even referred to them as a ‘cosmic cleanup crew.’ It’s really great to read a YA book that has such an original concept and that doesn’t rely on tropes that frequently pop-up in YA fiction. The world Schwab creates is hauntingly violent, dark and intriguing.
Furthermore, the two main characters are wonderfully complex and interesting. August Flynn is a Sunai monster who desires to be human. He’s an extremely likeable character and Schwab manages to create a monster that is both terrifying in its ability but also extremely sympathetic. August is a highly emotive character which I think is really great to see in YA literature as I feel that in too many YA books male characters are presented as strong and invincible but it is great to see that Schwab portrays August as vulnerable. The other main character, Kate Harker is also very complex and interesting. Kate is human and thinks that the only way for her to survive in a world full of monsters is to become monstrous. She is incredibly headstrong and badass throughout the book. It was really great to see the growth of August and Kate’s alliance and friendship throughout the book and also to see their individual character development. Romance took a backseat throughout this book which I thought was great as you don’t see that too often in YA books.
Additionally, Schwab’s writing is incredibly engrossing and immersive making it an excellent and quick read. The book is full of action and therefore extremely fast paced. As well as a great narrative and a fast-paced plot Schwab also delves deeper into gothic themes such as good vs evil and what it is to be monstrous. Throughout the entire novel, Schwab constantly blurs the line between the two and does a fantastic job at exploring the nature of humanity.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend anyone who hasn’t read it to read it. I can’t wait for the release of the sequel Our Dark Duet (June 13th, 2017) so that I can read the continuation of their stories. After reading This Savage Song I’ll definitely be picking up some of Victoria Schwab’s other work such as the Shades of Magic trilogy.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,
Caitlin Lauren Grace x