Title: This Savage Song Series: Monsters of Verity (#1) Author: Victoria Schwab Release Date: July 5, 2016 Publisher: Greenwillow Books Genre: Young Adult Fantasy My Rating: 5 / 5
“I mean, most people want to escape. Get out of their heads. Out of their lives. Stories are the easiest way to do that.”
Kate Harker is the daughter of Callum Harker, who runs North City, the north side of Verity City. Under his mark, Harker lets the Malchai and Corsai (monsters) roam free throughout the city. He is ruthless, cruel, and all Kate wants to do is prove that she is her father’s daughter, meaning to be just as ruthless as he is.
August Flynn is one of only three Sunai in existence. Although he is a monster, he looks human, which is what sets Sunai apart from Malchai and Corsai, allowing him to hide in plain sight. He is under the protection of Henry Flynn, his “father”, who runs South City. August and his siblings, who are also Sunai, Leo and Ilsa, sided with Henry when the city when the city was still divided. Eventually, a truce was made between the two cities. But now, years later, the truce is on the verge of breaking. August’s family send him to Colton Academy as Frederick Gallagher, so he can spy on Kate. But eventually Kate finds out who he really is, and from there on, everything changes.
I don’t know where to even begin to describe how beautifully written This Savage Song is. Schwab gently introduces us to the story, slowly revealing information as the story progress. Because at first, we know nothing about the monsters. We don’t even know what type of monster August is, just that he is one. We don’t learn everything all at once. I would normally be annoyed by the progression, but Schwab did it so well that it fit into the story and I really liked it.
August… August is such a sweetheart! It’s not how you’d expect a monster to be, especially one as rare as he is. Like I said, he is one of three Sunai in existence, meaning he looks exactly like a human. Out of the three types of monster, his ability is probably the most intense. The Corsai have claws and rip things apart, and the Malchai have fangs and drink blood; they’re practically vampires. The Sunai are just so different from them, more powerful. Yet, August isn’t like his calm brother Leo, who is incredibly powerful and a natural leader. He isn’t like his sister Ilsa, who is more powerful than Leo, and created the Barren–a place where she killed hundreds of people at once. If August didn’t hold himself back so much, they believe he would be more powerful. But August doesn’t want power. All he wants is to be human.
There were so many points in the book that I just wanted to give August a big hug. His mental and emotional state of mind broke my heart. There was nothing I wanted more than for him to feel loved, and it never really happened. Hopefully that will change in the next book, because it was especially heartbreaking towards the end. (view spoiler)
Kate, however, is vicious. Majority of her motives are to get her father’s attention, to prove that she is not weak, that she is ruthless, that she is just like him. Kate is very smart – she figures out what August is after just a few small talks with him. They bump into each other and talk several times, and Kate is able to piece together small clues. But even Kate gets scared sometimes, despite the bravado, and you can sense her fear.
August broke my heart and I couldn’t help but feel bad for him, given that he is so desperate to not be a monster, but at the same time I also felt bad for Kate, because she’s trying so hard to impress her father and be just like him.
Kate and August aren’t exactly friends, even by the end of the book. He saves her life, she saves his, he saves her life again… They never abandon each other, even after Kate finds out that he is a Sunai. You can pretty much guess by now that there is no romantic relationship at play. But I don’t think there needs to be a romance, the book is better off without it. To fulfill that void, there is a ton of action and backstory to make up for it.
The beginning was a little slow, so it took me a while to really get into it, but overall, I really enjoyed it; I highly recommend this novel. You don’t even have to love paranormal/fantasy to enjoy it.