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Monsters of Verity #1

This Savage Song

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Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city, a grisly metropolis where the violence has begun to create real and deadly monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets monsters roam free and makes the inhabitants pay for his protection. August just wants to be human, as good-hearted as his own father - but his curse is to be what the humans fear. the thin truce that keeps the Harker and Flynn families at peace is crumbling, and an assassination attempt forces Kate and August into a tenuous alliance. But how long will they survive in a city where no one is safe and monsters are real …

411 pages, Paperback

First published June 5, 2016

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About the author

Victoria Schwab

33 books104k followers
Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say "tom-ah-toes," "like," and "y'all."

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.

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5 stars
32,932 (33%)
4 stars
41,955 (42%)
3 stars
17,860 (18%)
2 stars
3,694 (3%)
1 star
1,249 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 15,124 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,992 reviews298k followers
July 10, 2016
She liked the idea that there were a hundred different Kates, living a hundred different lives.
Maybe in one of them, there were no monsters.

3 1/2 stars. Okay, listen: I feel like I shouldn't like this book. Compare this world to the marvelous multiple Londons, crossdressing pirates and evil twin rulers of the author's A Darker Shade of Magic, and hell, does it pale in comparison. But screw it - this was dark, monstrous fun!

Thing is, there are those books you read and you know they are good in an objective way (or as close as is possible). You can't help but appreciate them. This author is way smarter than me, you think. But that's it. You don't stay up late reading chapter after chapter because you need to know what happens. You don't really care.

And then there are those books you know are not actually that amazing. The writing is decent, the world is not that unique, but you just can't put them down. That's the difference between a good book and an enjoyable one. For me, This Savage Song was the latter - a pageturning paranormal thriller with creepy monster rhymes, betrayals and an evil cliffhanger at the end of most of the chapters (I both love and hate when authors do that - don't they understand I need to sleep?!)

Yes, this is a world of monsters: the flesh-eating Corsai, the blood-drinking Malchai, and the rarest, most mysterious of all: the soul-stealing Sunai.
“Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.”

Classic horror movies have made my skin instantly crawl at those creepy rhymes . In fact, I found parts of this book really scary. Schwab writes some tense scenes, the terror rising in the darkness as the situation grows more hopeless and the monsters creep ever closer (did I mention I need sleep?!). Damn, it was thrilling.

Yes, I realize I'm saying more about how this book made me feel, not what actually happens. Probably because, like I said at the beginning, the story and world don't sound that unique. The monsters part is interesting, but it bugs me that this book has some dystopian aspects - it really should have just been a paranormal novel, instead of painting in some vague dysto-US background (this + the male/female perspectives + brewing social unrest = Legend by Marie Lu?).

Fortunately, I liked both characters and the third-person narrative; I also liked that the book had a male and a female protagonist but with no romance. I liked the ending (a nice wrap-up with a little bit of evil to keep us waiting for the next installment). I liked that I didn't see some things coming, and I thought it was a testament to the author's characterization that I was really affected by something that happened to a minor character.

But mostly? I liked the storytelling. This Savage Song won't be winning any originality awards. It won't change the world, or even the face of YA. But it was compelling, intriguing and just the right amount of creepy. I need the second book.

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Profile Image for Victoria Schwab.
Author 33 books104k followers
April 24, 2016
ETA: I just did my final, final read-through of this book, and I have to say, it was a messy road, and a long revision, but I am really freaking proud of the result.


Sin City PLUS Romeo and Juliet MINUS romance PLUS monsters.

This is the strangest book I've ever written. I love it.

It's the story of two teens in a broken world, where violent acts breed actual monsters. Some are shadows with teeth that feed on flesh and bone. Some are corpses that feed on blood. And some can pass for human. Those feed on souls.

It's the story of Kate Harker, the only daughter of a crime boss, and August Flynn, the son of a man trying to hold his city together. She's a human who wants to be a monster, and he's a monster who wishes he were human.

It's dark, and violent, and existential, and the whole thing was inspired by a line from VICIOUS:

"Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human."

8.3.15: EDITED TO ADD: And the official title is...THIS SAVAGE SONG. Why song?
Remember when I said that August was a monster? He’s not just any kind of monster, but one of only three soul-eaters in the city. And these rare creatures (he wouldn’t like that word) use music to bring the souls of their prey to surface.

But it’s more than that. This book isn’t a solo. It’s a duet. A song played by two very different teens trying to survive a very broken world. There are moments of discord, and a few of harmony, and through it all, they have to keep the melody alive.
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews176k followers
July 28, 2016
*Full video review can be found here: https://youtu.be/v8lOwIbJZtU

I went into this knowing I would love it, but I'm leaving it loving it even more than I expected to. I'm constantly impressed by Schwab's ability to create such unique stories. The two main characters had such a fantastic dynamic & I loved seeing their interactions. The story itself left me wanting more & I'm sososo happy that we get another book with August & Kate.

(Also I really want August & Kate to meet up with Mackenzie & Wesley. ;D)
June 22, 2016
For a book with such an epic setting, this one is quite generic. The setting is pretty awesome, I mean, imagine a post-apocalyptic world where monsters roam free.
“Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.”
“Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul.”
Hell, one of our protagonists is a monster himself. But outside of the setting itself, I found this book emotionless and just...rather dull.

First, the main character. Kate Flynn. Insert cookie-cutter-YA-bad-ass-chick here. Me, I would call her a bitch. There is a difference between a strong, fierce female character, and one who is a rebellious jerk just for the sake of being one. I disliked her from the first page, as she ruthlessly set fire to a school run by nuns for the grand, noble reason of "I don't want to be here."
The night Kate Harker decided to burn down the school chapel, she wasn’t angry or drunk. She was desperate.
Burning down the church was really a last resort; she’d already broken a girl’s nose, smoked in the dormitories, cheated on her first exam, and verbally harassed three of the nuns.
Yeah. No. I want a character with inner strength. I don't want a character who does whatever the fuck she wants just to get her own way.

The male character isn't all that great either. He's one of those emo, martyred, tortured souls that one seems to find sooooooooooo wonderful and so poetic *sigh* and love so much when one is 12 years old. Then one grows up and realize that hearing your partner whine about how his life sucks all the time is stupid and depressing as fuck.

Honestly, I felt like both of the characters had no personality at all. A well-written character rises from the paper, make me feel connected to them, make me feeeeeeeeeeeel things (JON SNOW!!!!!!!!!). These characters are just flat.

The storytelling was not to my tastes. I have not read Schwab's books before. I tried reading the acclaimed The Archive and gave up within the first chapters a few years ago. Now I remember why. There is nothing wrong with her writing. It is quite good, in fact, it just doesn't tell a story that interested me. It's not the type of narrative and storytelling that pulled me in. I can only explain this as a matter of book chemistry, and her style of writing did not mesh with me.
Profile Image for  Teodora .
329 reviews1,779 followers
April 2, 2023
Taking only 5 ⭐ out of Ilsa's so many and putting them here

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺
"Plenty of humans are monstrous and plenty of monsters know how to play at being human."

The synopsis of the book makes me feel like I am being held in a winery basement listening to a dark classical orchestra while in dystopian times and I am not complaining.

This Savage Song is the first book of Victoria Schwab’s duology, Monsters of Verity . Probably, I would’ve picked this book up by some point in life and read it, but if it wasn’t for the book club I am part of, probably it would’ve been much later in my life. I would’ve done a huge mistake.

The concept of the book came to me like a slap on my cheek – I wasn’t expecting any of that. Now I understand why there are so many humans obsessed with Schwab’s works. I get you, people. I get you. It’s okay. I am part of you now. Let us suffer the beauty of Schwab’s mind together.

The book is so messy and packed with action that I just have to admit that I still didn’t understand it properly, but that didn’t stop me from actually loving it, which is such a hypocrite thing to say, but after all, we don’t understand life either, but we're still living it to the fullest every day, even if we like it or not.

Now, agreeing that I didn’t understand the book, but I loved it to the fullest, which is a stupid concept but you’ll pardon me for that, let’s get to the part where I explain to you what I felt about it. What got to me.

The V-City is divided into two sides – the North City and the South City, separated by a truce line called the Seam, each part ruled by another family – in the North, there is Harker; in the South, there is Flynn.

I liked the way the two rulers were presented – Callum Harker as a true cult leader, cold and ruthless, insensitive, a Godfather in dystopia, and Henry Flynn as a leader of the people, trying to help, trying to prevent, being there to protect, not to attack; kind-hearted and somehow vulnerable.

The main characters of the book are the children of the two leaders – Kate Harker, a girl who suffered so much in order to find her own way and August Flynn, one of the only three Sunai monsters of the Flynn family.

There is a whole story about how Kate and August meet and blah. I am not going to talk about that; there’s everything you need to know about that in the book. Instead, I would like to dissect the characters of Kate and August just a bit. And their beautiful friendship.

"I don’t want to be a monster"
"You’re not," she said, the words automatic, but as she said it, Kate realised that she believed it, too.

I don’t know and don’t care, but I love Kate and somehow I relate to her badass self, not that I am any of that, but because I also tend to be a bit rude sometimes. What I love most about Kate is her determination to fight until the last breath and her bright mind, restless and ready any time to make connections. She’s a fierce girl, but craving for a soul to be around to, to accept her and tell her she’s enough. She can be confident, but she’s so broken that she only needs someone to reassure her of that. And that someone is August Flynn.


August Flynn is a weird boy. Maybe because he is not a boy, he’s a monster, but apart from his habit of feeding himself out of sinful souls, to me, he is very human. He’s a thinker. He’s a loner. He’s so weird that he is sweet. But he is strong and he is good and wants to do only good, but the fact that he is what he is, does not always come easy to him.

I can only see August as a sweet boy, sorry if I do not resonate with your opinions. There is something about him that makes me feel content and make me like him as if he were real. Maybe this is his burning desire to be something else, to be someone he’s not. But, after all, isn’t this a thing we all desire at some point? To be someone we’re not...yet?


Now, all I can say is that this is the first one of the Schwab’s works that I read and I truly and deeply declare myself a fan. She’s brilliant and her style is mesmerizing. And the idea of the book is something that is just selling it off!

I love music, everyone does. It has become a thing as necessary in one’s life as air and water. I, for instance, cannot function on a daily basis without listening to music. Because music feels like life itself.

I cannot help it and I make a very obvious line between this book and my life. Or life in general. Maybe it would come to you a bit cheesy but it’s damn true. And I’d be very curious to find out how many of you actually felt the same way as I did.

I used to make music in order to keep myself on track. I used to make music in order to ease the reality. I used to make music in order to fight my monsters...

...because let’s face it, we all have our own personalised monsters.

But of course, even monsters can pass as humans. It is only in the eyes of the beholder if you let them be or discard them as beings.

Ah, and also. In case you are wondering, stop wondering: Callum Harker won the prize for the lamest father in the galaxy. Spread the word.
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.5k followers
August 14, 2023

I keep picking up V.E. Schwab books, and I just...I don’t get it.

I read A Darker Shade of Magic and thought it was meh, but I didn’t have any resounding issues with it and everyone said the sequel was excellent so I figured why not. And then I picked up A Gathering of Shadows and had one of the biggest “what the f*ck?” moments of my lifetime.

But we don’t need to get into that opinion again.

I TBRed A Conjuring of Light anyway. I even bought a copy. I added Vicious to my to-read list, and I bought this book on Book Outlet.

And I just wanna know when all my effort is going to pay off. When are good ol’ Victoria and I going to click???

This book was fine. The writing was solid -- I’ve never had a problem with her writing. The worldbuilding was good too. It was intricate and fairly wound into the text, neither info dump-y nor overly confusing. Which is rare in worlds this elaborate. Overall, this was creative and pretty well done.

But what the hell am I supposed to click with?

The characters were fine. They were whatever, really. In fact, they felt only a shade or two off from Kell and Lila of the Shades of Magic series, which makes me wonder whether Schwab really knows how to write characters who aren’t flat, boring young men and spiky, antifeminist-but-trying-to-be-feminist young women.

There was no real plot to this, just slowness and then a sudden, out-of-nowhere event that seemed to fit not at all into anything else that had happened. Reading it was occasionally a chore and never entirely pleasant.

I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t even a little bit understand how people love it.

Bottom line: I guess I’ll keep trying. But I want a goddamn medal.

tbr review

help, i can't stop reading YA fantasy and i don't know who i am anymore
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
316 reviews115k followers
July 3, 2016
I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was totally different from anything I've read before! The world was structured in a very unique way, and both main characters were so likable that reading this book was a pleasure. It was a story that captured me right from the start and held my attention all the way to the end. I went into this novel thinking it would be a clear cut romance, but was surprised to find that signs of it were virtually non-existant! If it develops into a love story in the future, I would be OVER THE MOON but it was really refreshing to read a book that wasn't built off of a love story. The final few moments of this book were INSANITY, completely unexpected and left me with so many questions for how book two is going to follow up on where things left off. I would recommend this book to ANYONE with a love for fantasy, monsters, dystopian-ish post war settings, strong characters, unique government structure, and a thrilling tale!
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
June 21, 2019
me @ Victoria ten pages into this, knowing that she’s about to ruin my life and I will enjoy it:

Okay, first of all, let me pretend to care about plot stuff. First of all, this book is so tense. The first half was a managable amount of stress, but during the second half, I was stressing the fuck out in a major way. And second of all, the world is brilliant. I genuinely found this so compelling and interesting - a world in which violence breeds monsters, and those monsters take on the personalities of the violence they’ve experienced.

But come on, let’s get to the main attraction - I want to talk about how fucking great the characters are for a while!! Because the two leads here - and their bro-ship - are literally the most awesome.
➽August Flynn - my goddamn fucking son. Clearly dealing with mental illness [on page] and just… written so well, thank you to god and also Jesus and also Victoria Schwab [the lesbian god] for him
➽Kate Harker - a badass bitch but also a cinnamon roll. a queen. an icon. an intellectual. she could kill me and I would thank her for it.

And as for August and Kate’s brotp…………….. It k i l l e d me. A book using a enemies-to-besties platonic friendship as its key dynamic is everything I have ever wanted. This update is my constant everlasting mood.

“Leo could turn a part of himself without losing the whole.
Because there was no whole left.
Nothing human.”

But really, what makes this so great is the fact that the whole book, the entire thing, is based off the monster vs. human conflict. August is a monster who is ashamed of it and wants to be human. Kate is a human who has spent so long attempting to twist herself into something monstrous that she has lost herself. Do you know how much I’m screaming !!!!!!!!

So, yeah, a ridiculously tense book about two people dealing with their own monster v. human conflicts set in a ridiculously compelling world. This Savage Song was everything I ever wanted and I am so happy I read this.

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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,950 followers
February 4, 2020
These books were still good but I dropped my star ratings and unhauling the hardbacks. I might get them on kindle some day. I just don’t think I’m going to reread them again.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

My July 2016 Owlcrate Box Book! Woot!



I totally loved this book! The idea of the different monsters were really cool. I'm not sure I understand all of it but this is what I understood about the monsters:

1. Malchai - Drink blood but are not vampires. Formed/Form from murders.
2. Corsai - Feed on flesh and bone. Formed/form from violent acts
3. Sunai - Feed on sinner souls (killers etc.). Formed/form from major catastrophes (bombs etc.).

Kate Harker is the daughter of Callum Harker. He controls some of the monsters and he's pretty evil. An event in his life sent him right over the edge. Or maybe he was already on that edge. Kate tries to be evil like her father. She does some some evil things but she's really good deep down inside.

August Flynn is a sunai and his father (that took him in) is Henry Flynn. He is a good guy trying to keep the bad monsters and people at bay. And trying to keep a peace treaty among said monsters. August also has a brother Leo and sister Ilsa that live with Henry.

I loved both characters of August and Kate. August is a sweet person that doesn't want to be a monster, but to me he is a good kind of monster. Taking the souls of those that do horrible things isn't so bad.

Kate is just a bad @ss and gets stuff done. And contrary to what she ever thought, she becomes a monsters friend instead of his enemy.

Together August and Kate have to fight some enemies that are trying to cause a war. People and things die, things are reborn.

I thought it was a really cool concept in this new world. I enjoyed learning about the monsters. The story line was awesome and that ending! What is coming next? I need to know!

Overall the book was awesome, but that's my opinion =) Enjoy

Happy Dance for the next book! I need you soon =)

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
May 6, 2020
quick! someone alert the vatican because there has been a miracle - i read a book about monsters and i actually enjoyed it!?!

this was my first schwab experience and let me tell you what. i understand the hype, i really do. because the lady can W R I T E. the flow was effortless, the pacing was spot on, and her words were captivating. i just loved the writing style so much. she was able to take a subject that i had no interest in and made me invested in the story - further proof of her talent.

the story itself was pretty good. i was a little confused at first with all of the world building within the city, and the distinction between monsters, and why there were monsters in the first place. but i just let myself go along for the ride and was pleasantly surprised. mainly because the characters were so well developed - their struggles and personalities and desires felt so relatable and real. august was just too precious for his own good. so even though the plot was a little so-so, the characters and writing definitely made up for it!

cant wait to pick up the next book and see what becomes of my little monster. i hope he finds the peace he is looking for. <3

4 stars
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,481 reviews79k followers
April 4, 2017
Man, I feel like I've really knocked it out of the park lately with some fantastic YA reads! I've been trying to balance out my reading schedule with fun reads, alongside ones for review on the blog, and I think this is helping repel the "burnout syndrome". I have no earthly idea why this has been sitting on my physical and digital shelves for so long; I kept meaning to pick it up, but then I would remember the sequel wasn't coming out until the twelfth of never, and other books were shiny or more pressing, and alas, I would reach for a proper book that was more along the lines of required reading. FINALLY! I'm so glad I decided enough was enough; I guess my subconscious was on to something though, since now I don't have to wait long for that gorgeous sequel. Best cover art ever, right?

I love how creative the idea behind this plot is. Monsters being created from our transgressions; there's just something so poetic and disturbing about it. Victoria Schwab was able to create a high fantasy visual to give us thought into just how our actions, good and bad, can have a ripple effect on the world around us. I found myself easily getting lost in the world of Verity; of course the author, being the writing queen she is, was able to slowly immerse us into this dystopian world without using the dreaded info dump. During the first 100 pages, we are left in the dark about many of the going ons, and we are slowly filled in, which gave me all the tinglies in my suspense-loving bones. I connected immediately with August; while it took awhile to warm up to Kate I found myself very protective over her as we followed alongside the journey. And wow! That ending! What a perfect segue into the final entry. I could have definitely enjoyed this being a full fledged trilogy but I won't be greedy and am grateful for what I can get. :) If you have been living under a rock such as I the past year, please do yourself a favor and pick this one up asap. We can be all caught up and fangirl (or boy) over the next book together as us bookworm creatures do.
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
350 reviews942 followers
August 23, 2018
Actual Rating: 2.5 Stars

Ya know...

It pains me on a personal level to give a book with such a stunning cover such a low rating, but I cannot deny my problems with it no matter how much I love V.E. Schwab's book covers or her writing.

This book has such an intriguing premise.

Imagine this:

Monsters manifesting into existence as a result of sin. A city literally divided between two leaders, both with their own ideas about how to protect their citizens. Kate, desperately trying to prove her savagery and be the devil her father always wanted her to be. August, a Sunai monster, hopelessly clinging to his wish to be human.

And on top of this badass premise, no fucking love story.

But for all of those unique elements, this book could not be saved from its own mediocrity.

When I read Vicious, it really set Schwab apart for me. That story is captivating with dynamic and believable characters.

But with This Savage Song and A Darker Shade of Magic, I feel as though something is preventing me from getting on board.

I appreciate what Schwab sets out to do here. Kate is a cutthroat, stubborn & impulsive. August is quiet and contemplative, a lover of music. These two seem amazing on paper, but for some reason I remain unconvinced.

I adore their ambitions. It sounds great to have a female lead yearning to be a proper villain. It sounds excellent to have a male lead who is vulnerable and searching for his humanity.

But somewhere in the process of breathing life into these characters, Schwab missed the mark.

No matter how much I wanted to care about these characters, I didn't. I couldn't. They didn't feel real. Even with Schwab's amazing talent for weaving words together I cannot in all good conscience tell you that this book will blow you away.

The writing is to die for. Schwab's style is gorgeous and fluid in a way that only a master of writing can achieve.

However, the story, the characterization, and unfortunately even the world building will leave you feeling like something crucial is missing.

I don't know that I'll be continuing on with this series. There were a handful of excellent moments, but whether or not they are enough to salvage my interest will have to wait until June.

This review and other reviews of mine can be found on Book Nest!
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
425 reviews1,641 followers
August 21, 2018
5 Stars

“Monsters, monsters, big and small,
"They're gonna come and eat you all.

So, I totally wasn’t expecting to love this so much?? I’ve read Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic series, and then everything I’d seen suggested this wasn’t as good. But I enjoyed it so much more?? (Sacrilege! I know. I know.)

Something about this dark, egregious atmosphere clawed it’s way into my cold, dead heart. Taking place in an alternate US where the states reconstructed after Vietnam, the story had the potential to feel like so many other YA dystopias. But this transcends so much of the cluttered drama? The idea that violence breeds more violence in the form of monstrous creatures is so much more mature and philosophical than “society wants me to be the same!!1! BUt we are all different!!”

(And yes. I’m aware I just said monsters were mature. )

This book could so easily have spouted a ‘violence is bad. Don’t do it’ it message-- instead this is filled with morally ambiguous characters. Sweet, sensitive August literally has to eat souls to survive and despite his penchant for humanity-- he’s not part of it. But in a world where humans are happy to slaughter each other… should he really be striving for humanity anyway? Instead of a simple misplaced-paranormal creature element, this raises much deeper ethical questions. And there isn’t a simple right answer. It’s not an easy "I’ll feed off animals and be a good vampire" solution, but a struggle for him to find something he can live with.

Now let me tell y’all about my girl Kate. My aesthetic is blondes with switchblades. The complete antithesis to August, her father leads the North City with no tolerance for weakness. Kate is so desperate to find her place in her father’s city and feel at home, that she’s been systematically trying to get rid of her own humanity. (Homegirl doesn't seem to realize her quest to belong probably counts as being human.) She’s not a good person, but she is relatable. It’s hard to support all of her actions, but her development felt organic and I just loved her.


In addition to a setting I loved and characters I loved-- I loved this plot.

Once again, this had the potential to fall back on tropes but instead subverts them and remains unpredictable. Without spoiling, Kate notices August’s weird behavior and trusts her instincts. Please give me more YA heroines who don’t shrug off sketchy behavior. But also, there’s no romance. It would have been so easy for Schwab to go that road, but their individual stories and friendship are enough.

I understand the complaints however, and completely acknowledge that parts of this are gimmicky. For instance, August’s tally-mark tattoos appear each day he doesn't go "dark." It seemed counterproductive of everything the Sunai are?? Aren’t they supposed to want to go dark?? Why would their bodies be like “good job here’s your sticker for the day” when they don’t? Honestly, I'd have preferred August keeping track of the days himself or the compound or something.

But the gimmicks were few and completely overshadowed by all the brilliant things? Including Queen Schwab’s mastery with words. It’s just perfect? How does she do it??

RIP Kaylin 1997-2017
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
January 12, 2022
"It was a cycle of whimpers and bangs, gruesome beginnings and bloody ends."

I've read The Archived and The Unbound. I've read Vicious and The Near Witch, I've read A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows.
I've read every YA and Adult Fantasy novel Victoria Schwab has written, and compared to all of them, This Savage Song fell flat.

I love Victoria Schwab. Her writing is stunning, her stories unique, her characters intriguing. This Savage Song had all of this, but much less than her previous works.

This is such a promising story, such an exciting dystopian setting. Monsters and songs, action and thrill. Thing is, I expected a little more. I'm not exactly disappointed, but there's room for more suspense and adventure.
I welcomed "Romeo and Juliet minus romance" with open arms. It's great that the stereotypical male plus female protagonists didn't fall in love for once. I don't need romance...but I can't lie that it makes things a little more exciting. Now I'm not sure if one or both of the main characters are asexual, aromantic, pansexual or something completely different. All of them would be great. But a little love in the sequel would spice things up nicely.
The story was also slightly predictable, the writing adding to its predictability. Sometimes a little repetitive, I often expected what was coming next and foresaw several smaller and bigger details.

Fan of August, not a fan of Kate. While he seems like a sensitive and relatable character, she seems unnecessarily cruel and cold. I'm not exactly sure if Kate is 16 or 18 but she sure is smart enough to differentiate between establishing respect and downright bullying. However big her daddy issues, it's just not cool.
Overall I felt like most characters weren't as real and refined as usual. Both of them lacked somewhat in character depth in my opinion.

In a nutshell: Great work, but lacking in finesse in several aspects. It just couldn't live up to Schwab's previous works.

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Profile Image for Bhavya .
479 reviews901 followers
May 12, 2022
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“It hurts,” he whispered.
“What does?” asked Kate.
“Being. Not being. Giving in. Holding out. No matter what I do, it hurts.” Kate tipped her head back against the tub. “That’s life, August,” she said. “You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.”

~ Rating- 5 stars ~

Content/ Trigger Warnings-
Arson, Gore, Death of a parent, Suicide & Attempted Suicide, Murder, Violence, Attempted murder, Blood, Mass shooting, Death by Car Crash, Torture, Physical Assault, Domestic Violence, Toxic Parents, Possible Depression and Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks, Smoking, Toxic Parents, Lying about having asthma (one of the characters says they have asthma when they don't, to avoid their cover being blown), Bullying (one of the MC's bullies other people, even leading up to her physically attacking students), Fire (one of the MC's burns a place down, knowing full well there were people in that place)

Note- I have tried to include all the content warnings that I noticed, but there is no guarantee that I haven’t missed something.

-Mention of some of these in the review-

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This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab was not a book I was expecting to enjoy. I thought it would be like the Shades of Magic series, entertaining but not enough to get a rating above 3 stars. Or I thought it would be like The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, intriguing but not living up to its full potential. This Savage Song was neither of that, it was a perfect mix of everything I like to read in books. It was dark, mysterious and adventurous. It was funny, uproarious and hopeful. It was too good to be true.

“Every weakness exposes flesh,” he'd said, “and flesh invites a knife.”

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city, a place where actual monsters exist. Kate wants to be as ruthless as her father, and protect her city from the monsters that roam the street. August wants to be human and as kind-hearted as his own father. He wants to serve his people, and keep everyone safe- but he’s one of the monsters that everyone fears. When August is assigned the task to keep an eye on Kate, who has just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. Desperate to help their own people, will August and Kate succeed at their mission?

“We are not servants. We are not slaves. We are wolves among sheep. Monsters among men…our time is coming.”

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➼The plot

"Plenty of humans are monstrous and plenty of monsters know how to play at being human."

The plot of This Savage Song was wonderful. We have a human trying to be a monster and a monster trying to be human. I loved it, as the book makes us question some important things, like- What exactly does it mean to be human? Is it our actions, or our beliefs? Is there such a thing as a good person and a bad person? If there is, where is the line drawn? What makes a person good or bad?

“Why did everyone have to ruin the quiet by asking questions? The truth was a disastrous thing.”

I was on the edge of my seat the entire time while reading this. I laughed when the characters laughed, panicked when they panicked and cried when they cried. It was such an amazing experience, as books very rarely make me feel to this extent. I was so anxious while reading it, as the book is packed with action and unpredictability. It was so difficult to tell where the plot was going, and that made the book a lot more interesting.

“But the teacher had been right about one thing: violence breeds.
Someone pulls a trigger, sets off a bomb, drives a bus full of tourists off a bridge, and what's left in the wake isn't just shell casings, wreckage, bodies. There's something else. Something bad. An aftermath. A recoil. A reaction to all that anger and pain and death.”

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➼The world

“It's a monster's world.”

The world of This Savage Song was excellent. Schwab always has unique premises, and this book was no different. The dystopian element was good as well.

“Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They're gonna come and eat you all.”

The thing I loved the most about the world was the monsters. I liked the way they were executed, and Schwab made the idea of monsters very appealing.

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➼The writing

“I live in a world where shadows have teeth. It's not a particularly relaxing environment.”

I've always been a fan of Schwab's writing style. Her pacing is spot on all the time, and I really admire her style of storytelling.

"I read somewhere," said Kate, "that people are made of stardust."
He dragged his eyes from the sky. "Really?"
"Maybe that's what you're made of. Just like us."
And despite everything, August smiled.

Personally, this was my favourite Victoria Schwab book so far, specially in terms of writing. There wasn't a dull moment and I was engrossed the entire time.

“Why would you even want to be human? We’re fragile. We die.”
“You also live. You don’t spend every day wondering why you exist, but don’t feel real, why you look human, but can’t be. You don’t do everything you can to be a good person only to have it constantly thrown in your face that you’re not a person at all.”

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➼The characters

➡Kate Harker

"She liked the idea that there were a hundred different Kates, living a hundred different lives.
Maybe in one of them, there were no monsters."

Kate Harker is one of the most unlikable likable protagonists I've read about. I know I'm not supposed to like her, in fact some of her actions go entirely against my core beliefs, but for some reason that I can't explain, I wasn't able to hate Kate.

“We are the darkest acts made light.”

Kate is considered to be a 'strong female protagonist', but she is not. Her character unfortunately falls into the trap of trying to make female characters strong, but actually doing the opposite. She bullies other people left and right, and is willing to cross any lines to get what she wants. She is a terrible person, but that is what I personally like about her. While Kate's actions are pretty much justified in the book, and no one really calls her out, I was well aware of the fact that she is in the wrong. But I didn't really mind it, as much as I usually would have, which I think is a great example of how good of an author Victoria Schwab is.

“You’re not your father.”
Kate tensed imperceptibly at that, then managed to draw her mouth into a small, cruel smile. “Can I tell you a secret?”
“Of course,” said Rachel.
Kate leaned in and brought her lips to the girl’s ear. “I’m much worse.”

I also want to clarify that just because I like Kate, it does NOT mean that I excuse all that she did in the book. I do not forgive her for bullying other people, or burning a building down, not do I think it was right for her to do so. Regardless of what personal struggle she was going through, she should not have treated people like trash. I just appreciate her journey of growth, and I liked her inner conflict.

“Why are there so many shadows in the world, Kate? Shouldn’t there be just as much light?”

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➡August Flynn

“It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.”

August Flynn is my favourite character from This Savage Song, and is also a new favourite character of all time. His conflict of 'wanting to be more human' was beautifully done. I loved the relationships and bonds he formed with all the other characters in the book.

“I am Sunai,” he said. “I am holy fire. And if I have to burn the world to cleanse it, so help me, I will.”

August is also clearly struggling with his mental health, and I liked how that was portrayed. We need more mental health rep in YA fantasy books that is handled maturely.

“He could be the monster if it kept others human.”

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➼The romance, a.k.a. the lack of it

This is the first YA fantasy book I read where the two MC's don't have a romantic subplot, and I loved that!

“Even if surviving wasn't simple, or easy, or fair.
Even if he could never be human.
He wanted the chance to matter.
He wanted to live.”

Even though I added some 'romance songs' in my book playlist, I'm perfectly okay with Kate and August not ending up together. But I am also ok with them as a couple, as I feel they have chemistry. I feel more YA fantasy books without romance should be encouraged.

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➼Audiobook comments

The audiobook narration was excellent! I would highly recommend it, especially if you are new to audiobooks. The narration was very good and captured the essence of the book well. (Audiobook Rating- 4.5/5 stars)

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"And you?" asked Kate. "Your brother is righteous, your sister is scattered. What does that make you?"
When August answered, the word was small, almost too quiet to hear. "Lost."

Overall, This Savage Song was a book I enjoyed every second of. I am looking forward to seeing how this series concludes.

Review written & uploaded on 25th January 2022.

BR with these amazing people here!

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DISCLAIMER-All opinions on books I’ve read and reviewed are my own, and are with no intention to offend anyone. If you feel offended by my reviews, let me know how I can fix it.

How I Rate-
1 star- Hardly liked anything/ was disappointed
2 star- Had potential but did not deliver/ was disappointed
3 stars- Was ok but could have been better/ was average / Enjoyed a lot but something was missing
4 stars- Loved a lot but something was missing
5 stars- Loved it/ new favourite


OMG. This was amazing. RTC.
Profile Image for Rose.
421 reviews591 followers
July 8, 2016
"It began with a bang."



How am I supposed to put all these emotions into one tiny little review? It's just not possible.

There are too many good things to say about This Savage Song. The beautifully complex characters that are August and Kate, a storyline unlike anything I've read, and most of all: Victoria's writing. She creates a wonderful atmosphere, a story that just flows effortlessly, and VFHJSKL I just can't explain.

BASICALLY: Victoria Schwab writes in ways that I could only wish to.

Anyway, full review to come! And the book's out today, and I highly recommend getting your hands on it! It's dark, with moments of humor and completely unpredictable. Basically, unlike anything I've ever read. I DON'T GET HOW SHE DOES IT.

“You’re not your father.”
Kate tensed imperceptibly at that, then managed to draw her mouth into a small, cruel smile. “Can I tell you a secret?”
“Of course,” said Rachel.
Kate leaned in and brought her lips to the girl’s ear. “I’m much worse.”
Profile Image for Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》.
293 reviews725 followers
October 12, 2016
I freaking love the title of this book!


"I am Sunai.
I am holly fire.
And if i have to burn
the world to cleanse it,
so help me,
i will."

Just want to put it out there, my favorite character wasn't Kate, or August, IT WAS LEO! But i'm not going to talk about the plot or the characters. It's better if you find out yourself.

This was a decent read. As always, i enjoyed Victoria's writing, but something was missing. It just wasn't as epic as her other books. I still applaud you, Schwab, for coming up with yet another unique and astonishing story. It's not easy these days. I feel like most books i read have that same old plot, cliche characters, especially in YA. It also could be challenging for an author to write multiple books that aren't similar. Victoria Schwab writes 'em like a pro! Though This Savage Song was just okay, i am super excited about Our Dark Duet. I saw this more like a prequel. Shit is about to go down. That ending gave me the chills. Can't wait.

I've been watching her interviews lately, there is a chance i might be in love with that woman.
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,558 followers
July 31, 2017
Although my Booktubeathon wasn't as successful as I had hoped, I'm still so glad I took part, and that I caused me to reread TSS. The first time I read it I kind of rushed through it, and this time I got to really take my time and enjoy it fully. I love Kate and August so much, and I love this dark and sinister world. Really excited to read Our Dark Duet very soon!
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,114 followers
August 27, 2019
“It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.”

Thoroughly enjoyed this one!

In this dystopian version of the United States monsters wreak havoc during the night, and no one is safe. 3 types of monster exist – Malachi, Corsai and Sunai, each are caused by an act of violence from one human to another. Corsai from random acts of violence, Malachi from murder and Sunai from the worst of acts – such as terrorism or mass murder.

August is one such Sunai. Born at age 12, he lives with Henry Flynn and 2 other Sunai – his brother Leo and sister Ilsa. The Flynn family control one half of V City, they protect the citizens from Malachi and Corsai, and hold a very precarious truce with the Harker family – the family that control the other half of V City.

Kate Harker is the daughter of Callum Harker. His side of V City is controlled by fear, violence and money. Citizens pay for his protection, he gives them a medallion to wear at all times that shows the Monsters they are under his protection, and he keeps the Malachi and Corsai on a tight leash.
When August is sent to a normal high school, to keep an eye on Kate Harker in case the truce breaks, he isn’t sure he can do it. Pretending to be human and hiding who he truly is puts him at serious risk.

As Kate and August become friends, Kate grows suspicious. What is August hiding? And why?
As the secrets unfold and the number of enemies piles up, I was sucked in to this fast paced and exciting urban fantasy; where no one can be trusted – even family.
Can’t wait for book 2!

“We are not servants. We are not slaves. We are wolves among sheep. Monsters among men…our time is coming.”


After The Shades of Magic trilogy I am excited to read what else Schwab has written!
757 reviews2,349 followers
June 21, 2017
2.5 stars.

this savage song is a book i was really excited to start because of all the hype surrounding it. it was apparently badass and had a cool idea of monsters, humans and evil. what i got was?? much less terrifying and made me laugh out loud because what the fuck, these whiny monsters were supposed to be scary??? it's like that ghost gif where you're waiting for that creepy jump scare but what you get is a guy with a white sheet on him, going around saying "booo."

here are some pros:
-i loved how Schwab has non existent romance in her books. the relationship between August and Kate is well done. the way they develop from enemies to friends (not lovers) is also an amazing trope and should be used more often in books.

-the writing is beautifully done and easy to read. while there was a hell of a slow and boring plot, the writing made it all easier and i legit flew through this book. the words just flow through you making the book a bit bearable.

-ummmm, that's about it??

-so, where the fuck is the world building. it seriously lacks that.

-Kate was a character i didn't like at all. y'all this bitch pissed me off. i felt like Schwab just goes over the top to make her female characters extremely badass. (first it was Lila with her annoying reckless behavior and now Kate.) ok so, being badass doesn't mean you threaten/hurt innocent people. that doesn't make you fucking badass but fucking psychotic and go find help??? thanks. while i admit burning down the chapel was cool, it was unnecessary??? why would you even fucking do that though, what if people got hurt?? oh but Kate Harker wouldn't give a fuck because she's badass like that, oh yeah! right, go fuck yourself. i'm sorry but her behavior pissed me off, like yo you need an ass whooping.

ohhh not to mention her constant saying of "i'm Kate Harker" "i'm Harker's daughter" "people fear my father" "i'm much worse than my father"

OK SCHWAB I GET IT, I CAN'T BE AS "BADASS" AND AS COOL AS HER, no need to shove how great she is down my throat every five pages??? please. thanks.

so, overall, Kate Harker's a piece of shit.

-i also didn't really like August that much. i don't really hate his character, but i don't particularly like him either. i don't know he comes off as like a dead zombie to me and i couldn't really care for him.

-the plot.
what the fuck
it was so slow
and boring
nothing happens
literally nothing exciting happened until the last couple of chapter which left me so fucking bored and uninterested in the entire story. the idea of it was really cool, but executed poorly.

Buddy read with daddy and mr. Thicc.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,208 reviews19.7k followers
July 17, 2017

Straight onto Our Dark Duet, though my soul is in agony! August better be getting that redemption he deserves. If Schwab pulls a Holland on him, I'm gonna lose my mind. Hate-mail is what I'll be writing...

Initial review:

[4.5] That ending!! I. Need. More!!!

As per usual, I always have the best time reading one of V.E. Schwab's books. This is the fourth book I've read by her and it did not disappoint. She constantly delivers when it comes to her flawless, entrancing and almost graceful-like writing style, the complex, but lovable characters and the unique plot.

I don't know why I'm not giving it a 5 stars. I think I can't help but unconsciously compare it to Vicious or the Shades of Magic trilogy — unreasonable, I know — which were perfection for me. Having said that though, I can't as of now, point out a fault or a flaw in this book either.

It borders between urban fantasy and dystopia, it was action packed and fast paced, neither was I bored at any point. The world-building was solid as were the characterisation. I just wish it was longer as it left me wanting for more. More pages and more detail, but it makes me ridiculously excited for the next book and to find out what's in store. I want to be surrounded by those characters and be in that world again.
Profile Image for Tina ➹ lives in Fandoms.
410 reviews416 followers
April 26, 2022
4.75 Golden Stars

it's such a good feeling that the 1st book of the year gonna be the first 5-star too!
1st the best book of 2021!

it was one of my long-lasted most anticipated books! & I was afraid that my expectations might disappoint me.
& I'm so thrilled & happy that I loved it!

I read anything Schwab writes! I love her style & her works!

"Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They're gonna come and eat you all!"

(yay! cheerful!)

I didn't expect it to like it this much, but seriously, despite being violent & bloody at some moments, it was magnificent!

it began with a Bang...

I mean literally! this book started with a bang! captivating & intriguing & brilliant! we dropped in the middle of something. & it's Schwab's style, the complicated & overwhelming world building (at first) slowly been introduced to us (you should be patient) & when you get more information, pieces took their places & things make sense.
I love it!
the world building seems like our world, but I decided it was not, & later I saw that it actually was! I mostly can't say this is our world or not with Schwab!
while this one is like a Dystopian Future society (probably the best Dystopia I've ever read!), while Vicious was like happening in present & ADSOM (mostly Gray London) was like renaissance era.
I love it too! Unique! Genius!

& the distinguishable factor;
the Monsters...

also I love how you can't totally separated good & evil sides. most of the times, they entangled together (not simply like the good side has some bad features, like anger (which also happened & even necessary to build a character) no, the general paths are more complicated than that & that's the beauty of the book.) & sometimes they're more than 2 sides...
the Plot was quick & captivating!
the first half was mostly cute. learning about the world & history & the characters. the second half was another BANG! it was like dropping a bomb! fast-paced & action-packed & thrilling, constant chase & run! & constantly gave me heart-attack!
& I read the whole part nonstop!

& the ending was also hair-raising & unexpected!

the writing style was as graceful & emotional as always. I never skipped a description or much actions in this book. (I used to do that when it's getting boring or slow) the descriptions just devoured me! I even re-read some sentences to savour the moment & enjoy the beauty of the words & the sentence structures again!
It was heartbreaking. it was beautiful!
I sometimes felt, Schwab could use Synesthesia in a very practical, beautiful, particular, useful way to build this story. seeing the thread of the music which actually have a purpose, to repel the monsters... I really wanted to see this concept happened in a story.
I could hear the Violin... I wish we get a movie adaptation! please! please! pleaseeeee?

August Flynn wants to be human. He can't be, he's a monster, a powerful one that can steal souls with a song.
Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father & needs an opportunity to prove it.

how do their paths cross?
what will they do?
what will they decide,
when it's hard to tell right from wrong?
when there's no solid border between the two...

the characters were likeable (most of them!) & realistic.
I loved August. cute, innocent!
I started to like Kate from the middle. strong, funny, daring, caring, retorting (but not insolent or rude), despite being reckless & wanting-to-be-ruthless.
I loved Leo (I probably shouldn't have, but I can't help it! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
I liked Ilsa.
I liked Henry & Emily.

"I read somewhere," said Kate, "that people are made of stardust."
He dragged his eyes from the sky. "Really?"
"Maybe that's what you're made of. Just like us."
And despite everything, August smiled.

somehow, sometimes, their relationship (beautifully) growing, reminded me of Akos & Cyra in Carve the Mark, yet they have nothing in common. only being cute!
& the character developments through the book was palpable, my August even grew a few inches! how they meet, how they learn about each other, the slow trust & caring blooms between them.
I cried many times...

in general, if you like terrifying night monsters (different at some points; some intelligent, some just typical teeth & claw in the shadows- yet it's not a horror book, I hate horror! well not pure horror, a few times it was dark & scary but glittered with fantasy. book 2 is darker & more horror-style.) & a chaotic divided city on the verge of war & somehow a different perspective about the concept of monsters living among humans (you know... I'm talking about the MC boy.), with GREAT characters, you probably would like it.
Plot: ★★★★(★)/5
(Excitements: ★★★★★/5, Pace: ★★★★(★)/5)
Characters: ★★★★(★)/5
Written style: ★★★★/5
World building: ★★★★/5
Idea: ★★★★/5
Profile Image for She-who-must-not-be-named .
180 reviews1,242 followers
October 28, 2020
Taking place in a reconstituted America, war-torn and mired with monsters, the story focuses on Kate and August whose backgrounds define them, whether for good or bad. Kate wants to be a monster like her father and August longs to be a human like his father. The world building is captivating with political contrivances and complicated characters and various magic elements were intricately incorporated in the story.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,513 reviews29.4k followers
January 1, 2018
I'm between 4.5 and 5 stars, but heck, I'll round up!

So when I finished devouring this book last night before I went to bed, I tried to think of the best way to sum up my feelings. Sometimes when I'm at a loss for words I turn to those more articulate than I am, so:

Ah, thanks, Oprah!

It is a time in the (hopefully very) distant future. At one point, monsters tried to take control of a city. It led to massive destruction, but ultimately a truce was reached which divided the city. One half is run by Harker, a ruthless man whose ambition and lust for power are nearly as dangerous as the monsters he allows to roam free, so he can then charge the city's residents for his protection from them. The other half of the city is run by the more noble-minded Flynn, who wants to keep his residents safe by controlling the monsters, not harnessing them as pawns in a shakedown.

Neither side has complete support, as the truce seems to be weakening. Harker's daughter, Kate, who has gotten herself expelled from her sixth boarding school in five years, has returned home, much to her father's chagrin. She wants to prove that she is just as ruthless as her father, and wants him to finally let her stay with him, and take her under his wing. But she must battle not only her father's ambition and his memories of her late mother, but also the monster he has trained as his second in command.

When Kate is sent to another school in town, Flynn and his followers jump at the chance to get someone close to her, to watch for signs the truce may be breaking. Flynn's youngest son, August, who wants simply to be kind, to live a good life, is pressed into service. The thing is, August is a monster, the rarest of the three breeds, who can steal a person's soul by playing his violin. He needs to hide his secret from everyone in school, especially Kate, but for the first time in his life, he feels as if he belongs, he starts to make friends, and he is fascinated by Kate's intelligence—until she figures out what he really is.

When an attempt on Kate's life sends them both fleeing, they must make a truce of their own. August wants only to protect Kate, and Kate wants to live, although she isn't sure if capturing August could be the prize she needs to cement her relationship with her father. As they seek freedom and safety, they still long for the comfort of their families, even as they realize their families may not provide the safe haven they thought. They must fight not only the enemies they expect but enemies they don't, and they face the toughest battle of all—the enemies within themselves.

Right off the bat, I'll say that obviously this isn't a book for everyone. If you don't like this type of fantasy story, Victoria Schwab's storytelling, no matter how strong a spell she casts, probably won't lure you in. But don't rule it out because you think it's going to be all Twilight -y (a new adjective), because the monsters in this book don't have the Cullenesque shimmer, and more importantly, one of the best things that Schwab does in this book is keep the lovesickness and most of the angstiness out. That makes This Savage Song a much stronger story instead of some YA-ish soap opera.

I love authors who can take you into another world and immerse you so fully. That's a credit to Schwab's incredible creativity and the imagery she uses. There is a vividness to the pictures she paints, and I'd love to see this made into a movie to see just how closely what I saw in my mind's eye while reading this book hews to the film adaptation. Is it a little overly dramatic at times? Sure. A little predictable? Of course. But it doesn't matter, because the characters she has created fascinated me, flaws and all.

When you add to your stress level at work by taking a longer lunch than you should so you can keep reading, you know you've found a good book. (Lucky I'm the boss!) When you find yourself taking your glasses off during the NCAA championship so you can race through the remainder of the story before bed, you know you've found a good book. This was tremendously entertaining and well-done, and I'll be all over the sequel when it comes out this summer!

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,009 followers
May 15, 2017
"And you?" asked Kate. "Your brother is righteous, your sister is scattered. What does that make you?"
When August answered, the word was small, almost too quiet to hear. "Lost."

This is the fourth of Schwab's books that I read, and I think I finally realized this very incontrovertible truth about the universe, which I believe I summed up adequately enough in the following statement: It's Schwab's, it's good.

•First and foremost, as always, the writing. This marvellous, marvellous thing that is Victoria's writing. She takes storytelling and makes of it something modern and ancient at once: something old, tastefully dusty, elegantly worn; something new, shiny, fashionably casual and unaffected. It's balance, control, then fire and emotion. I do not how she never fails to find this happy medium. It's a state of grace. Bliss. Ink-and-paper-shaped holy spirit. I don't know. I know that it's perfect, I know that it's addictive, I know that it's flawless.

The main characters, Kate Harker and August Flynn, are particularly easy to empathize with, my basis for comparison being Kell and Lila from the Shades of Magic trilogy and Vctor and Eli from Vicious . Schwab's characters are always relatable, to a lesser or greater degree, but Kate and August appear to have something, a kind of vulnerability, I think, that makes them extremely open, exposed to the reader's eye, and thus to his heart. I was used to less decipherable personalities, more reserved minds, and although my favorite character of hers remains the frowning (and adorable) Kell, single-minded Kate and loyal August are so well-rounded I really have nothing to complain about.

The monsters. Suffice it to say this: .
I am sold.
This (big) detail swept me off my feet.
And just like that, even without mentioning the divided city, the system by which it's run and a million other things, the world building gets a five out of five.

•According to what Victoria herself stated, "books published under V.E. Schwab are adult releases and those under Victoria Schwab are YA", which means that This Savage Song is my first YA written by her. (I know, I'll get The Archived sooner than soon.) I noticed the differences with the adult releases, and probably that's the reason why the book didn't reach a full five for me. I just think that books such as Vicious and the Shades have something that makes them superior, even though I am not one hundred percent sure it is due to the different target.

The ending I refuse to acknowledge because even though it's not a real cliffhanger I need to know what happens next. I needed it like yesterday. I think it made me a little hysterical. *internally screaming*

➽ The only reason the last star is missing is that Schwab spoiled me with her other books. I am a spoiled reader because of this woman and I have no regrets. I'll just need to hibernate until book 2 is out.
Profile Image for Maditales.
581 reviews23.7k followers
August 21, 2023
I just wish we had more character details and more focus on their pasts ESPECIALLY AUGUST. I needed more family scenes to feel a real connection.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,880 followers
February 15, 2021

Buddy-read with the ever amazing Hufflepuff, Chelsea (click to read her review)

3.5/4 stars. So. This Savage Song. Rarely a novel created so many divergent reactions in my feed. If the fact that opinions differ doesn't strike me as unusual - suffice it to take a look at most romance novels' pages to see radically different ratings - it still contributed to my confusion before reading because mixing most of them would lead to a hell of an oxymoron.

The world-building is fantastic and original, but generic.
The characters are well-rounded and complex, but rather dull and one-dimensional.
It was unputdownable. It was so fucking boring.
It lacked romance. Thanks god there's no romance.

I very much enjoyed reading all these interesting and well-thought reviews - and I am not being ironic - yet my questions started piling up with increasing speed : so, what? Would This Savage Song be the first novel from Victoria Schwab that would leave me indifferent? Should I lower my expectations? Would I like, would I like, would I like?

But then I thought : Anna, these reviews aren't about you. Such a tiny thing, this. So easily forgotten. As much as we start noticing similarities between our tastes and particular reviewers' over the years, their reviews are never, ever, about ourselves. How could they?

I guess that's why it baffles me so much when I see people leaving hmm, let's say, tactless comments on reviews they don't agree with. Sure, sometimes we can't change the facts. Does the MC cheat? Is there consent? (because yes, I'm one of these people who think that there's nothing grey or "blurred" about consent) But most of the words written in a review are opinions and are linked to so many factors : the number of books read in that genre, the personal tastes, the current mood, etc, etc.

We can organize our reviews all we want, use bullet points or dialectical reasoning, who cares, it doesn't change a thing (or ramble before even talking about the book itself, I know, I know, the irony isn't left on me).

In the end, sometimes our opinion will only revolve around the chemistry we share with a particular author and her work. This is where I stand when Victoria Schwab is concerned.

Does that mean that I will love every one of her books? Hell no. I only liked Vicious, and This Savage Song awoke the same kind of contradictory feelings in me :

✔ As usual with Victoria Schwab's novels, I was fascinated by the concept and the writing managed (without forcing, it seems) to tug at my heartstrings at the most random moments.

✘ ✔ The pacing didn't suit me during the first 50%, my read was interspersed by at least 10 minutes of rest every few chapters, but once the second half started, the story captivated me so much that I forgot everything that wasn't August (yes. I am playing favorites) - it started with a whimper, ended with a bang? How fitting.

Verity's monsters were as disturbing as engrossing to read about, and the darkness lurking enveloped me completely.

"Be careful, parents told their children, be good, or the Corsai will come, but the truth was the Corsai didn't care if you were careful or good. They swam in darkness and fed on fear, their bodies sick, distended shapes that looked human only if you caught them out of the corner of your eye."

✘ The somewhat dystopian settings made me think that really, I'm not sure we need to read about a umpteenth version of the decaying United States. I'd rather go somewhere else next time. Really. Please think about it.

✘ ✔ I would say that the characters are pretty generic and trope-ish, because this is what my mind was screaming at first, but I cannot dismiss the fact that they made me care and snort and bite my nails and feel. They left me craving for more. Perhaps Victoria Schwab used an old mold to craft her characters, it doesn't change the fact that they genuinely interested me and that I, for one, enjoyed their dynamics a lot.

Also, I really have a thing for male leads who sob and whisper. I KNOW. THIS IS RIDICULOUS. But THIS IS WHO I AM. It only works in books, though. Weird how attraction works, ha. In real life I would probably say something along the lines of, [frowns] why the hell are you whispering?! Because of course. Kill Mood Is Me.

"This was the opposite of peace. He felt alive – so alive – but tarnished, his sense screaming and his head a tangle of dark thoughts and feelings and power, and he was drowning and shivering and burning alive."

► My review, it seems, is everything but helpful. This being said, given the huge fanbase Victoria Schwab has - which she deserves, as far as I'm concerned - I know that my review will hardly change anything in your decision. Read it, don't read it. One thing is sure : your review will be unique and genuinely interesting to me.

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