Published by Greenwillow Books on July 5th 2016
Source: ARC also obtained at a Blogger Christmas Party
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed 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, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.
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. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.
~ I really like the way Victoria Schwab’s mind works, because I have yet to read so much as a tweet by her that I haven’t liked. So I was excited about this book before I had a chance to read it- and it didn’t disappoint!
~ But because this is the first book in a duo, and because it’s got a lot of world building to do, the first part of the book was a bit confusing. I appreciate that Schwab doesn’t do an information dump, but I feel like it would have been better to have more revealed earlier on. I was already invested in the characters and in Schwab herself, so I stuck with because I knew it would all start to make sense. And it did.
~ The book opens with Kate Harker setting fire to her school’s chapel.
~ ^ This is why I love Schwab’s books. She writes amazing, strong, flawed, terrible, wonderful characters, female and male.
~ Kate does this because she wants to get kicked out of school. She wants to reunited with her father in V-City, and it’s clear her father is a powerful man.
~ Then we meet August Flynn, also the son of a powerful man (and this is where my confusion really ratcheted up). Let’s just say that August isn’t your typical youngest son.
~ Without giving too much away, August and Kate’s families are on opposing sides in V-City (Verity)- the Harkers run the North, the Flynns run the South. There’s a super, practically see-through, fragile truce between the two families.
~ August and Kate end up going to the same school (August under a false identity, Freddie), and their interactions are pretty great. Kate is so badass and August is so calm.
~ Here there be storyline spoilers, so proceed with caution~
~ There are real monsters in Verity. They appear to be created by acts of violence (which kind of blew my mind, Schwab). There’s the Corsai, the Malchai and the Sunai. Corsai arise from non-lethal acts of violence and they eat flesh, Malchai arise from murder and they drink blood (kind of like vampires, but not), and the Sunai arise from the worst acts of violence- the massacres, the shootings, the bombings were innocent blood is shed. The Sunai are very rare.
~ Throughout the book, Kate is determined to prove to her father that she’s a worthy heir. Her mother died from what Kate perceives to be weakness and her inability to adjust to a world literally filled with monsters, and so Kate feels she has to be cold and hard and badass.
~ August is a stark contrast to Kate, he’s got secrets on top of secrets, and is quiet and is the opposite of cold and hard. But he totally doesn’t put up with Kate’s bullshiz, which both she and I respect.
~ Uncovering the cloud of secrets surrounding August was worth the pay off.
~ There’s a lot more that happens, some of it violent, some of it heartbreaking, and some of it darkly humorous. But I don’t want to ruin it for you. Just go ahead and pre-order this beauty of a book.
Kate Harker- she burns down school chapels, ya’ll, don’t be asking her to define herself here.
August Flynn- um, what can I say without giving away spoilers? Hmm, he’s a quiet, tattooed young man, a year younger than Kate, homeschooled until recently. He really likes to read and loves to play music.
Callum Harker- Kate’s emotionally unavailable father- he runs his part of the city like the Mafia, employing monsters and offering protection for a price. Physically, he sounds super hot. Sorry, Kate.
Alice Harker- Kate’s lovely, sweet and dead mother.
Henry Flynn- used to be a surgeon before taking over the half of the city not run by Harker. He deals with the monsters by hunting and destroying them.
Emily Flynn- August’s mom. His badass mom.
Isla Flynn- August’s sweet sister, who has even more tattoos (stars) then August.
Leo Flynn- August’s older brother, very dedicated to his role in their father’s fight. He’s kind of a jerkface.
Paris- ally to the Flynn’s, and the woman who helps August attend school in the North.
Sloan- top Malchai in the Harker empire. Creepy creeper.
Allegro- a cat that August, uh, obtains.
Various Monsters, both of the monster and human variety.
Pretty much anything to do with Ilsa’s character, but most especially when she visits August in the hotel.
Stop the Clock:
What if our violence bred actual monsters? Although, I guess you could say that it already does, Schwab answers that question with an amazing book that after the first 50 pages or so, I couldn’t put down. Yes, it’s a little confusing in the beginning, but the payoff is huge. In my opinion. And the ending… let’s just say I need book 2. I would offer to cage Schwab up until she finishes it, but I follow her on Twitter and she’s literally writing all the time. I think in this case, she’s her own worse jailer. Hell, I’d probably give her a day off now and then. 😉
This Savage Song gets a Midnight Book rating of:
*if I still gave out half ratings, this one would get 4 and 1/2. On