This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab, arrived with OwlCrate’s July box. I had heard lots of great things about this book, so I was really excited to have received it. As seems to be my pattern nowadays, I’m about two months behind the OwlCrate reads – and even longer posting the reviews. But better late than never! And at least I’m consistent 😉 (For now 😛 ) This book was both eery and lovely and I’m looking forward to seeing what Schwab has in store for us next. (Can something be both eery and lovely? Yes. Veela, sirens, jellyfish – need I say more? Didn’t think so.) Read on for my spoiler-free review of This Savage Song!
YA, Fantasy/Supernatural, Dystopian
YA and above, as long as you’re interested in this particular genre
Overview (from book jacket)
Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.
August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.
Their city is divided.
Their city is crumbling.
Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.
But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?
The story follows two characters in particular – Kate and August. They’re complex and shrewd and Schwab does a great job of endearing readers to them. And by “readers” I mean me, since I obviously can’t speak for anyone else.
What I Liked
I’ll start out by saying that this reminded me of a Romeo and Juliet story in a universe where monsters are real. But without the romance. So….a platonic Romeo and Juliet story? I’ll address the romance bit in the next section.
Anyway. Now that I’ve mentioned Romeo and Juliet twice (third time’s a charm!) and you’re probably hating me because you think I ruined it for you (“I thought you said spoiler-free, D! What the heck!”) – hold on a second! It’s not what you think. Leaving it at that would be a horrendous over-simplification and would NOT do the story/plot justice. Because! This is actually one of the most unique and novel ideas I’ve read in quite some time. It doesn’t go the way of R and J and doesn’t conclude in the same manner either. It just reminded me of R and J in specific ways and I’m sure you’ll catch my drift once you start reading the book. So again, it’s not what you think! We good? Good.
The writing and delivery were great! I love the way Schwab tells her story and gives life to the characters and the relationships they form. I was drawn to one of them in particular – I won’t tell you who.
I also loved the uniqueness of it all. Schwab created an entire world (although we only see a teeny part of it, if you’re taking “world” literally) that was dark and hopeful and confusing as heck. That line from the book jacket really resonated throughout the entire book – “how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?” This notion was perfectly evident throughout the story and it was great.
What I Liked A Little Less
This is not a romance novel. I repeat, this is NOT a romance novel. And it doesn’t claim to be one. However, given my penchant for romance, I feel the need to state that, personally, I was a bit put off by lack thereof. But again, that’s just me. (I’ll still be hoping for more in the next book(s) though. Fingers crossed!)
I also thought the pacing was a bit slow in the beginning and it took me a while to really get into the book.
I gave This Savage Song 4/5 stars. It was avant-garde, dark, layered and a bit disconcerting in regards to right versus wrong, monster versus human. There were a couple things that held me back from being in love with this book, but the writing and story are great and I’d definitely recommend it.