Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies's Reviews > This Savage Song

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
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it was ok

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.
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Reading Progress

October 3, 2014 – Shelved
October 3, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
June 21, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-45 of 45 (45 new)

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message 1: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I love how your book reviews tell it like it is. :)


message 2: by jonah (new) - added it

jonah Exactly how I felt about A Darker Shade of Magic. I really wanted to love it and came into it assuming I would, but other than the worldbuilding it was really generic.


message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy Bird @Cate Courtright: SO AGREED!


message 4: by HT (new) - added it

HT I had the same experience with this book. I've also tried and failed to finish A Darker Shade of Magic, exactly for the same reason.


Anne I feel the same way about her writing. It is entirely proficient, very good even, but there is something about it that leaves me with zero connection to her characters. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


message 6: by O.R. (new) - added it

O.R. Oh no, another "badass heroine" aka a simple bitch


message 7: by Savannah (new) - added it

Savannah (The Book Prophet) Aww I was looking forward to this... but yeah I hate when people try and make kick-butt heroines but end up just making her mean, annoying, and bratty. Jon Snow is a wonderful example of a fleshed-out, 3-dimensional character.


Sandra I just finished this today and it took me forever. I felt the exact same way about this. A lot of the things weren't explained well too. I liked Victoria Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic, which is why I requested this, I just felt this was a huge step down from that. I didn't like Kate either, I actually liked Ilsa more, eventhough, she only have a tiny bit of screen time.

Great review as always Khan.


message 9: by Emma (new)

Emma Completely agree. I couldn't get into this either and was not a huge fan of her writing style.


Neil (or bleed) Great review, Khanh. :) Probably, I will expect less now to this book.


message 11: by simplybelieving (new)

simplybelieving Great review, Khanh, and I agree. There's something about her writing that feels distant. Even though she can create such creative and beautiful settings


message 12: by Emily (new)

Emily Oh no - I think this is going to be the OwlCrate book for July. Maybe I'll end up liking it?


message 13: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 21, 2016 11:37PM) (new)

Great review! I read A Darker Shade of Magic and the sequel and I feel the same, the sequel was even worse and Laila (?) was EXACTLY the type of brat you are talking about ... It's put me off her other books tbh, but if they're all with the same issues then I feel better about not reading them !


message 14: by Aliza (new) - added it

Aliza I completely agree that Victoria Schwab's female characters take things too far, care about no one and do whatever it takes to get what they want. I have the exact same problem with Lila Bard from a darker shade of magic.


Natalie Monroe This is exactly what I felt. Kate is cookie-cutter Strong Heroine and Finn is an angsty cinnamon roll with no moral complexity.


message 16: by O.R. (new) - added it

O.R. it is all because of the new trend of badass heroines that in reality are just bratty bitches - and they get excused so hard because "feminism". Eh, maybe one day we will get a female character with depth.


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Interesting! I loved her book Vicious & I am currently reading A Darker Shade of Magic, so this is a surprise!


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Yours is the first review I see that's not 5/4 stars. Love your points! I'm not a huge fan of characters who are assholes as a way to prove their "strenght". And the guy doesn't sound much better either.
Nice review!


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan this is a problem with YA books today. I think writers try too hard to make their heroines alternative and badass and make them stand out from the crowd and they fall somewhere into the 'kinda cool on paper but if you think about it, you would actually really hate them in real life' category. I'm 30, so... fifteen years ago it seems like the YA heroines had a lot more humanity to them. Plots were less about love triangles and more about... well, plots. Maybe I'm just remembering these books through the veil of 15-20 years? I dunno, but I've pretty much given up on YA, even though I still think, if it was done well, I'd enjoy this genre. :(


message 20: by Erin (new)

Erin @susan I completely agree with you, I have started reading middle grade books again for heroines I can actually appreciate rather than the insane amount of either blatantly idiotic teenage girl characters who put up with whatever a guy does bc he is so mysterious or just female protagonist that have zero realistic qualities...I feel like Hermione was the last bastion of top notch girl to young woman transition...but being an older reader (37) I definitely know what you mean


message 21: by Shenika (new) - added it

Shenika Great review, as always. I'm a bit disappointed; the blurb made this sound like a great book with an interesting premise. I'm over bratty bitches and angsty emo dudes. I think I'll pass on this one.


message 22: by O.R. (new) - added it

O.R. The issue is that the word badass is misunderstood. YA writers saw a trend for "feminist" + "badass" heroines and they understood it as ahh I can write the most selfish basic asshole and then say "you criticise?! you're so anti feministic! gasp!"

Hermione was an actual badass. Because she was real, had her depth. She was badass because she was wise and intelligent and bright, she studied hard, she did not let insults get to her and proved to be above them, she loved and cared for her friends and had her small weaknesses. She was human.

Todays heroines are mostly caricatures.


message 23: by Ali (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ali That is one of the truest thing I've ever heard! Thank you Mr/Ms O.R for recognising that issue.


message 24: by O.R. (new) - added it

O.R. <3 miss ;)


message 25: by Ain (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ain I just finished this book and I have to agree with you. Such a shame because this book has so much potential (and the writing is pretty good), but damn, nothing much actually happened beside all these angsty inner monologue that Kate & August seems to be having.


message 26: by Clover (new) - added it

Clover Ooi i think Vicious by Schwab is pretty interesting. but i can't recommend anything other than that. Thanks for the review btw, I'm still contemplating if i should read it.


articsokah This book is the dull, uninspired little sibling to her much better Shades of Magic books, quite disappointing


Bookbitten1 I haven't been a fan of her YA books but I really liked her adult fantasy series A Darker Shade of Magic that she writes under V.E. Schwab.


message 29: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Nagy Really cool setting, awful characters sums up my experience with Schwab as well. Only I don't actually like her writing style, it's too much purple prose by emo art student for me, combined with atrocious action writing.


message 30: by Drew (new) - rated it 4 stars

Drew I felt the same way about A Darker Shade of Magic. I'm a bit scared to try Vicious.


Carina Rosas FINALLY!! Someone agrees with me u.u I gave it two stars :S. Don't know what people see to give it 5.


Jessie I'm glad to see at least someone feels the way I do about this book. I'm in love with the concept (tragic events breed creatures that feed on sin? What a fantastic idea!) but August was just too meek to be real to me. Kate, too, seemed unrealistic - I just can't get a good grasp on her motivations. if she were a real person, I think I'd look at her and say "ugh, she just tries too hard - what a fake". I had a much easier time connecting with Lila and Kell in A Darker Shade of Magic.


Angel (huge fan of all things Totoro) Preach on, sista!


Cristine (cristinethebookqueen) Paquette Totally agree with all of this


message 35: by Mehvish (new) - added it

Mehvish Irshad So glad to read this review. After hearing nothing but rave reviews I went into this expecting my mind blown but all I got was a very cliche YA novel with nothing that excited me or intrigued me. Maybe I'm too old for YA? Vicious was such an amazing book and I read it when I knew nothing about this writer and instantly loved it. So you know there was no hype boost there. This....I dunno why it's so liked. Other than the concept it's more like an episode of a sitcom like vampire diaries (which I had to give up for it's lameness by the way) since it's a series maybe it'll get better but I would probably hesitate before making a commitment


message 36: by Elisa (new) - added it

Elisa Oh gosh, finally! I just couldn't understand. Why everyone liked this book — I found it incredibly dull and couldn't even get myself to finish it.


Dominic I wonder if we could get to the point where we don't call women, even characters, bitches. Even if you found Kate hard and emotionally guarded, she has good reason to be. I appreciate your insights, but just couldn't get past your word choice.


Julia Hörmayer THANK YOU


Ramez I think her name is Kate Harker and not Kate Flynn, but not sure though...


Kristine  Grace Agreed! At first, I find the story enthralling but later on it was rather dull.


message 41: by Jess (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jess This.Is.Exactly.How.I.Felt.About.This.Book.


Ronyell Awesome review!!!


Aisling THANK YOU!!


message 44: by Rain (new)

Rain You think Jon Snow has "personality". LMFAO. He's bland and stale as an unseasoned chicken soup!


Lauren "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" Literally said this. Kate was very annoying the first half of the book


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