This Savage Song: A Book Review

“Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They’re gonna come and eat you all…”

Book: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity)

Author: Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)


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.

My thoughts:

It’s almost pathetic how eager I was for this book. But then, I’ve always had a high opinion of anything that Victoria Schwab writes. It’s rare for me- but I think  I’ve given 3 of her books (Vicious, A Darker Shade of Magic and The Archived) a 5 star rating.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like This Savage Song nearly as much. If I was just rating it on concept, this book would get a perfect rating. I love the idea of lovable monsters and horrible people. I like the idea that every evil we commit has direct, tangible consequences in the birth of a monster. I adore the mob-like atmosphere and how vicious and unforgiving it is.

Unfortunately, the characters break this book for me.  I don’t find anything redeemable in Kate. She aspires to violence and is slavishly devoted to a father who doesn’t care much for her. To prove herself to him, she commits crime and terrifies well-meaning teenagers. In general she’s horrifying. I hated her from the very first page where she burns down her school because she “didn’t want to be here.”

On the other hand, August is terribly masochistic. He hastes himself and the darkness he is made of. It’s like someone took a stereotype of a brooding teen, slapped a monster label on him and made him a character. Honestly, I’m disappointed.

“He wasn’t made of flesh and bone, or starlight.He was made of darkness.”

I see no chemistry between the characters, although I know they’ll end up with each other. I don’t want them to because their relationship will be unhealthy. They’ll egg each other on to commit terrible crimes and in the interim they’ll sigh a lot and be boring together.

I wasn’t a fan of the dystopian walled city, with the elite and moneyed enclosed inside and the poor, scary masses outside. Dystopia just doesn’t appeal to me these days. Yet, This Savage Song is still salvageable. Like always, V.E. Schwab’s writing is lyrical and beautiful.

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 she’ll casings, wreckage, bodies. There’s something else. Something bad. An aftermath. A recoil. A reaction to all that anger and pain and death.

Additionally, the ending is just cliff-hanging enough for me to want to read the next book.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5


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