Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Published: July 5, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Goodreads Description: 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.
This is the first book in the Monsters of Verity duology written by acclaimed author Victoria Schwab. I almost didn’t read this book because, in my experience, I found Schwab’s books to be over-hyped. However, the concept really interested me, so I decided to give the author a
second third chance. I’ll try not to spoil too much in this review because I feel like the less you know about this book, the better.
I loved how literal the theme of “violence breeds violence” was. The monsters were like the personification
(or should I say monsterification — ba dum tss.) of the bad feeling left after an act of violence is committed. In this story, a monster is born whenever someone commits a crime, and the types of monsters vary according to how severe the crime was. The monsters don’t go around eating everyone though. Each type of monster feeds according to a set of certain conditions. The conditions under how one type of monster fed in particular really interested me. To put it simply without revealing too much, the monster fed by getting justice.
The book alternated between August and Kate’s point of view, but I found August’s parts more interesting. One thing I found interesting was how he often observed people’s mannerisms and facial expressions and then had to consciously try to replicate them during conversations to appear like a normal human. I also thought him being a monster created a more compelling internal struggle than Kate’s. He wanted to be good like a human, but being good isn’t all there is to being human. In fact, a lot of humans often do bad things
(ahem, Kate). In respect to Kate, I found it amusing how August was scared of her at first even though he’s the monster. He was just too precious.
I really didn’t care for Kate until the end of the book. She did questionable things and, even though I knew there had to be some reason why she acted the way she did, I still found it hard to empathize with her.
In the story, they call the sudden occurrence of monsters “the phenomenon”. I wished the book delved more into the history of the phenomenon as it was only explained briefly in one scene. Hopefully the next book will give a more detailed account of it.
I’m glad that I decided to give this book a chance even though I still think it’s another over-hyped Victoria Schwab book. The book was good overall, but I thought it was missing a certain je nais se quoi that would have made it great. I’m not dying to read the next book, but I am curious to read how the story ends.
i liked it