There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from 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.
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.
My Goodreads rating: 3 stars (3.5 stars)
Sigh. I really, really wanted to love this book. I really did. From the outstanding amount of 5-star ratings this book received, I was kind of hoping to finish it and be completely mind-blown. As well as that, this is my first book by V.E. Schwab (I’ve got Vicious on queue) and I had high expectations. Why do I always end up being the disappointed odd one out???!!
First of all, let me just say that I LOVE THE PREMISE. Monsters created from crimes committed by humans? That’s freaking awesome! A POV of one of the monsters? Um, hell yes! Fancy names for these different monsters? Slay! I was so hyped, and I was totally expecting a dark AF story with some serious scary moments and a nice ‘ol roller coaster ride of exhilaration. What did I get instead?
Three quarters of a book worth of meh and a kickass final quarter. What? I mean, WHAT?
Okay. From the get-go, I noticed that the writing, which could have been amazing, suspenseful and wildly descriptive was, in fact, greatly average. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it was typical of a YA story, and really riding on the simplistic side of YA writing. It got the job done, which is all I can ask for, but it was one of the biggest problems I had with the book, because it just didn’t allow the author to create suspense in the way she could have. As well as this, I found quite a few lazy similarities between this book and other YA novels. I don’t know if that is accidental or not, but it wasn’t great to see.
The direction of the story itself was interesting. I don’t really think the Dystopian setting was necessary, and in my honest opinion it took away from what could potentially have been an amazing book. The world-building was quite lazy, even by my ridiculous standards. It wasn’t terrible, because we get the information we need that is necessary to the story, but it really could have been set in present times. That’s how little difference the future, unstable society made.
Another point: I get that authors like to reveal information slowly as the book goes on, often giving little tidbits of storylines here and there to keep us in suspense until we get the big reveals. And I don’t know if I’m just slow, but I spent at least the first half of the book in a state like this:
It’s the first book in this series, so a lot has to be established. And I’ve said before that I hate being ladled with intense world-building all at once. But I got tired of being given the barest of info and having to strain my brain to understand what is going on. I was just confused about the monsters themselves, Ilsa’s backstory, the history of Harker and Flynn, etc. It’s probably just me, though. I should work on that. Sigh.
As for the characters, they were one of the redeeming qualities of this book. I love August. I kind of wished more of his monster status was explored, because he just read like an average, confused human teenager. But I totally understand that he just wants to be human, so I really shouldn’t be complaining about that. His character is caring, conflicted and so tortured that I literally cried during the final quarter of the book (multiple times) all because of how strongly I felt sympathy for him. Kate was also really well done as a character; she is strong and independent, unafraid and toughened, all without being completely robotic or ridiculously mean. The opening chapter with her was really cool, so I applaud Schwab for being a kick-ass story starter. Kate’s relationship with August is amazingly developed, and I really liked how there was no romance between them. It makes a difference in the sea of YA.
Finally, I’ve simply got to talk about the final quarter/ending of the novel. It was amazing, and I’m a little sad that I had to wait that long for the book to pick up. Up until that point, the book wasn’t nearly as dark, sophisticated or interesting as I had hoped and expected it would be. But closer to the end it started to pick up.
“Kate,” he gasped. When he dragged his head up, the light was gone. His eyes were wide and black. “What have you done?”
The ending chapters are what picked my rating up. They were terrifying, fast-paced, full of suspense and truly heartbreaking (AUGUST MY BABY). I’m sure people who share the same opinions as me will agree on this.
So, overall, This Savage Song didn’t really live up to my expectations but it was still a nice, enjoyable read. 3.5 stars isn’t bad by any means. If you loved the book and disagree with my review, then let me know below.
And that’s it for today! I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to write another blog post, I’ve just been so busy with all the college stuffs, you know?. I totally didn’t forget I have a blog or anything. Wait, who said that?
Thanks for reading! More soon this week (definitely). (Probably). (Maybe). (Hopefully?)