There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. (Goodreads)
4/5 stars, not the strongest of plots
Within less than a year, Victoria Schwab has become one of my favorite authors. It's no secret that I love her Shades of Magic series, which is not YA, but so so fantastic, so I was very eager to jump into this world of monsters in This Savage Song. While this is by no means my favorite of Schwab's books, I did enjoy it and look forward to the second (and final, I believe) book in the series.
First and foremost, I need to say that this book was not as strange as it was hyped up to be (in my opinion). Despite the book being about monsters, there was a lack of them, violence and scariness that I had expected from Schwab.
Another thing that I felt was lacking: plot. The book had a great fourth quarter, but the three leading up to it were slow, weighed down with character development and world building (as is Schwab's style), but I wanted a little more action.
But speaking of character development: only the two main characters, Kate and August, seemed to have any real depth to them. The side characters were villainous or slap-stick, and some quickly faded into the background to be forgotten all together. I expected more complex characters, not the trope-y, cliche characters I read. Hopefully the second book will further everyone's development because I feel this story and the world really deserve it and Schwab is excellent at character development typically.
This was a Romeo and Juliet retelling and, let me tell you, it's better and it doesn't even have any romance (not yet, at least). Schwab is good at creating slow-burn romances and I'll be here waiting. And the thing is, if the romance never comes, I'll still be happy because the relationship between August and Kate was interesting.
Nearing the end of the book, there were a few plot twists, but the big one was the one I didn't see coming (which is great because it's THE BIG ONE). It genuinely made me go "OH SH*T" because I knew I should have seen it, but I didn't. The ending that follows wasn't very "cliff hanger-y," but it still left me wanting to read more, know more, experience more in this world. I felt that Schwab created a big world, but we've only hit the tip of the iceberg.
Do I recommend this? Yes, while also recommending Schwab's Vicious and Shades of Magic series (A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows).
This Savage Song will be published July 5, 2016.