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The Savage

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,230 ratings  ·  259 reviews
Mysterious and utterly mesmerizing, this graphic-novel-within-a-novel pairs the extraordinary prose of David Almond with the visual genius of Dave McKean.

Blue Baker is writing a story -- not all that stuff about wizards and fairies and happily ever after -- a real story, about blood and guts and adventures, because that's what life's really like. At least it is for Blue, s
Hardcover, 79 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,230 ratings  ·  259 reviews

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Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I was 22 my dad was killed in a car accident. He spent 2 or 3 weeks in ICU and everyday we were told something different about his condition; variations on, "he might live, he might die".

At the time my youngest sibling was 10. On the day he did die, I drove my mom to pick up my sister from where she was staying. When she got in the car, she asked when our dad would be coming home and my mom got in the back of the car and told her that he wouldn't be coming home. Seeing my sister collapse o
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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Dec 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
Blue has been told that he should write things down to help him deal with his father's death. It all seems forced and useless until he starts to write a story about The Savage, a boy who lives alone in the woods near their small town, eats animals and murders anyone who glimpses him. Blue has to deal not only with his own grief and his mother's and sister's but also with a bully named Hopper. Hopper is featured in the stories about The Savage as are others in Blue's small community. As Blue begi ...more
Nancy Kotkin
A boy deals with the grief over the death of his father and a bully at school by conjuring up a savage version of himself. When his story and real life merge, it feels cathartic to the boy.

This book is very short and heavily illustrated, like a children's chapter book, but is much too violent for that age group. But I think the presentation is too young for teens. So I suppose this would be middle grade.

I dislike the violence in the story and the frequent misspellings. I also don't care for the
Mary Lee
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
The power of story. Healing a deep grief. Another bully goes down.
Sarah Sammis
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Savage is a graphic novel written by David Almond and illustrated by Dave McKean. McKean is best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Coraline, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and The Wolves in the Walls. David Almond has written Skellig, The Fire-Eaters, and Clay among others. Both Almond and McKean are new to me.

The Savage starts off a bit like any of a number of British boy coming of age novels. I was most reminded of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nig
Sam Quixote
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
A boy loses his father to a heart attack and he and his mum and little sister are left to deal with the grief. He's also being bullied at school. He's told to write about it as it might ease his grief but instead writes a novel entitled "The Savage". But suddenly the things he writes about happen in real life and he's left to wonder if his character, the Savage, has come to life.

David Almond writes an interesting novella that's obviously aimed at a different audience to me (late twenties) and mo
Erin Reilly-Sanders
At first I was rather perturbed by the bad spelling of Blue's original story. The change in font was enough distinction from the first person narrative that I didn't really need the mistakes, especially that many. To me, this started the story off a little forced-feeling. I also really wanted to like the pictures but somehow I've never been able to convince myself that I like McKean's work, perhaps because like in this case it didn't completely fit the story. The rawness is certainly right on, b ...more
Lamona Mullinax
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Savage, a fantasy book written by David Almond, is a book about the narrator getting over the hardships of his father dying. The little boy, Blue, in the story is suppose to be him as a child and he tries to work through his pain by writing himself into a story about a Savage boy getting revenge on one of his bullies, hopper and some other kids, at school that he always use to tell his father about. But, will he ever get his revenge or will he find out other ways to cope with his father's de ...more
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
David Almond and Dave McKean's first foray together is a sweet, exciting and emotional short story paired with beautiful and sometimes haunting imagery.

Almond communicates a feeling of loss through the protagonist, young and bereaved Blue, but with evocative truth. Blue doesn't find peace in anyone's pity, he doesn't find solace in positive perspectives and even being happy with his family doesn't quell his empty sadness.

He finds his peace in the escapism of his own creations. Creating a wild, u
Faidz Zainal Abidin
Nice. Everything is nice. Love McKean's work here. ...more
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
David Almonds books are amazing 😭😭
Ellena Eaton
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
A boy dealing with the death of his father and bullies ganging up on him writes about a savage who lives in the woods near his home. Story dealing with grief and loneliness
Jonathan Natusch
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A short wee read, and quite excellent. Part novella, part graphic novel - Almond's story is perfectly matched with McKean's art. I immediately handed it to my brother to read, who also declared it excellent. So there you go.... ...more
Bravo! Once again I am left astounded. Slog's Dad delighted me so much, I was afraid to pick up anything by a collaboration of Almond and McKean for fear it would prove underwhealming. But guess what? I actually enjoyed this more than the other!

I think David Almond stories and my brain mesh really, really well, which is... unexpected. He has these common themes that show up in his works that I cannot relate to at all - I'm not a boy, I've almost never been bullied, my childhood wasn't as free ha
Monica Edinger
Jul 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
David Almond got me years ago with Skellig and Heaven Eyes. The weirder the better, I guess! I also quite his golem story, Clay. His more overtly nostalgic stories like The Fire-Eaters, beautifully written as they are, they haven't gotten to me as much as these odder ones do. And now there is a new odd one, The Savage. It is an incredibly powerful story of coping with extreme loss and bullying. Two stories actually that intertwine with each other. The main one of Blue and the sudden loss of his ...more
Chris  - Quarter Press Editor
Jul 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
If I wasn't so devoted to David Almond--and a big fan of Dave McKean, too--I might've felt ripped off by this little volume. For the cost, it is rather pricey considering that it only takes a little bit o' time to breeze through. However, it's a wonderful and--with Almond's usual--heart-breaking/warming story. McKean is a fantastic artist, and his images capture Almond's writing perfectly. At the very least, you should find this at a library and check it out--or even just read it there. It's a w ...more
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
I picked this up just because flipping through it made me wonder if it should have been cataloged for teens instead of juveniles. It really isn't my cup of tea. Strange and bizarre to say the least. I think it fits better with the teen audience. I can't imagine any elementary schooler picking it up and not being freaked out by a wild child who lives out in the forest with an axe who rides pigs around and waits for people to come by so he can kill them and eat them. Strange. ...more
Alix Estrada
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book "The Savage" was an AMAZING book because the story at the end had a little twist.The book is also like a mystery at the same time.I would recomend this book to a classmate because it has a lot of parts where it leaves you wanting more.If it had a series I would want more information about the book.Even though this book is short I really enjoyed it.This book was one of the best books I have read.
Robin Kempf
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. It's for older kids, 10ish maybe, through young adult, and it is short with illustrations, but it is powerful. The story is about a boy facing the death of a parent and the advent of a cruel bully, and also how he uses writing to help him get through. So ultimately it is about healing and family. There is some fanciful magic in this book, but it is all so pleasant for the hero that you want it to be real. A quick read and worth it. ...more
May 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
The book the Savage by David Almond wasn't a very good book. It wasn't exactly something I would want to read if it was over 150+ pages. But luckily for me, it was around 80 pages with majority of the pages being artwork-- which I enjoyed the most. Though I do believe this would be good for people who enjoy illustrations for the art is sloppy but quite amazing. Though do be aware that there is light cursing in this book.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I lost my father when i was young so this book is somehow a bit sentimental to me. Love the graphic, love the fonts (like really, the fonts *heart in my eyes*) and Blue. When fantasy becomes reality, it creates a wonder. I somehow feel bad for Blue.

A very exciting imagination, at a point. I actually love the story very much. Ending making me all smiling.

"... it's time to move forward, to share the story, to let it go."
Anna Ranario
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
The Savage, written by David Almond is a quick read, recommended by a friend, that shows a comic in a novel. This novel holds a mysterious side of the plot and the majority its pages as artwork was quite pleasing to see. Honestly, it was an "okay" book to read, but it got be to reach my AR goal, so I do recommend The Savage if one wants a fast book to read. ...more
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, fantasy
An excellent book on dealing with grief and anger after the death of a loved one.

Very British language, some kids might not get things like what an allotment is, but the overall theme is universal.
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Lovely book-making, great pictures, and a solid short story. But it did not make me think hard or feel strongly for the story or the character.
AJ (the.booknerd.reads)
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
This was a very moving story. It reminds me a lot of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. A brilliant, short book.
Hebe Way
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic picture book/graphic novel that really gets you thinking! This book deals with some gritty and sensitive themes such as death, loss, bullying and loneliness through the captivating story of Blue Baker, who takes us on his chilling journey. Blue is a boy who struggles to come to terms with his emotions but through writing, he finds a way to channel his feelings and deal with them. However, it is not that simple, as boundaries between real life and fantasy become blurred...

I recently r
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, paperback, 2019
Blue’s psychologist suggests to him to write things down, to help him cope with his grief (and alsohis mother’s and Jess’ and his need to protect them as ‘the man of the house’). But that doesn’t really help Blue, instead he writes a story about The Savage, incorporating in the story himself, his little sister, even his bully, Hopper. He shares parts of his story with his family, and later he finds out that somehow his Savage, is real.

"He was just like me, only weirder and wilder and closer to
Emily Byrne
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing

The Savage is a graphic novel written by David Almond and illustrated by Dave McKean, an incredibly powerful story depicting a boy’s struggle with extreme loss and bullying.
The story consists of two plots intertwined together, the main depicting the protagonist’s (Blue Baker) struggle with the sudden loss of his father and the later, portrays the different elements of Blue’s grief through his own fictional reality. The subjects of the plots are not the only difference, the style of writing/font
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This nightmare is about a boy named Blue Baker with a life of his own, magic, wild, and dark. Everything has gone wrong for him since the time his father had passed away and had to watch his mom and sister Jess suffer. Blue has trouble in school, but nobody at his school understand him. Not even his counselor Mrs. Molloys who had been trying to help Blue with the bullying that Blue has to go through.
Blue is just ordinary with with a happy family trying to find creation and wants the savage to p
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David Almond is a British children's writer who has penned several novels, each one to critical acclaim. He was born and raised in Felling and Newcastle in post-industrial North East England and educated at the University of East Anglia. When he was young, he found his love of writing when some short stories of his were published in a local magazine. He started out as an author of adult fiction be ...more

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