This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity #1)/ ★★★ 1/2
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.
It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he felt human only after doing something monstrous.
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy/Young Adult
This Savage Song was a solid, enjoyable book, and quite easy to fly through considering it’s a little over 400 pages. It wasn’t very difficult to jump right into it, even though I quickly realized it wasn’t really what I had expected. I’d thought it was going to be about unlikely friends who fight monsters with music (I’d only skimmed the summary), but instead, I got a book about a pair of unlikely friends, one of which is a monster, trying to survive in a vaguely dystopian society separated by war- and whose father’s lead the opposing sides.
The first half of this book was a lot of introduction to the world and characters, and I admit that some parts of the world Schwab created left me feeling rather confused, or asking a lot of questions that didn’t get answered once the plot really kicked in. But it was intriguing, and it wasn’t until I was finished with the book that these little discrepancies bothered me (because I thought the book would answer my questions eventually). The second half of this book really picked up its pace in a way I loved, switching over into “adventure mode,” which finally began to play with the elements we were introduced to in the first half. Schwab is really great at knowing when to pick up the pace, and I read the entire half of this book in about three hours.
I enjoyed this book- but once I put it down, I didn’t feel compelled to rush off and order a copy of the second book. This Savage Song was a bit formulaic in the events of its plot and in its characters, and while it was a fun book, I don’t think it really gripped me enough to make me feel like I need to read the second book. But I’ll never say never.
I liked Kate and August enough, but I wasn’t heavily invested in them. Kate is tough, trying to win the approval and love of her powerful father, and August is softer but quietly fierce, trying to find his humanity despite being a monster. I thought the development of their characters and their friendship was very strong, but it wasn’t hard to see where it was going.
I also wanted more from their families. There is a lot of “wrong vs. right” “innocent vs. sinner” concepts going on in this book, and both August’s father and Katie’s fathers, both leaders of their respective sides of the city, have very opposing viewpoints and ways of dealing with these things, but I didn’t feel like I got enough from their characters, or their pasts, to feel for their causes, or their reasons for them very deeply. I’d have liked to feel a bit more for these characters.
Also, what about that nice kid (I forget his name) that befriended August at the beginning of the book and invited him to a concert?? I thought they were going to hit it off and then he just disappeared? Hm?
I think had I felt more invested in any of the characters, I’d feel more compelled to read the second book. August and Katie’s development was well done, BUT a little formulaic. I liked them, but….perhaps not enough.
As always, Schwab writes with a lot of strength. Her writing is solid, bold and never feels lacking when it comes to description, dialogue, or emotion. I liked the pacing of her writing, which made it an easy book to fly through and read large chunks of every time I picked it up. Other than the more plotty issues, I really had no problem with her writing.
Was I satisfied?
I enjoyed this book, but it did leave me wanting something more from it. I wasn’t as attached to the characters as I wanted to be, the world building wasn’t as strong as it could be, and the plot twists didn’t really surprise me. This was a good read, but I don’t know if I’m invested enough to pick up the second book.