“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.”
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab follows Kate Harker and August Flynn, two teenagers on opposing sides of a divided city. While that does sound familiar, Schwab creates a fantastic world with superb characters that grabs you from the start.
To begin with, August and Kate are great characters. While they do come from different backgrounds, they form a nice pair. August wants to be something he isn’t: human. That’s pretty tough for a monster with supernatural powers coming from a family filled with said monsters. Kate wants to be able to prove that she more than lives up to her father’s legacy. Ironic the monster doesn’t want to be one and the human wants to be a monster. Schwab does a fantastic job of illustrating the internal conflict that August always carries. He constantly struggles between doing what is right and doing what is expected of him. Kate is a much more brutal person doing whatever it takes to prove she is a Harker. But Schwab shows that Kate is a much more tethered person than she shows herself to be. She just wants to prove herself, something some of us can relate with. When the two inevitably meet, there shocking realization that they aren’t all that different from one another provides some great moments throughout the second half of the book. The supporting characters were also well done. The only real problem I had was Leo, August’s older brother. He felt kind of generic and the twist involving him was predictable. Also, I wished there was more to August’s and Kate’s fathers as I found them to be really interesting and I wanted more time with them.
I really liked the world that Schwab created. It’s gritty, brutal, and above all, compelling. While there is some explanation as to how the world is, I kind of wanted more. The various types of monsters were fairly interesting, but a bit generic. However, Schwab does a good job of fleshing their backstories to keep them from feeling too similar. The slow world building paid off as it left me wanting to know more about the world. While the plot is a bit predictable until the end (which was awesome by the way), this book is a lot darker than most YA novels that I have read. Blood, guts, and violence is fairly common in this book and it was a bit refreshing to read a YA novel that wasn’t afraid to get messy.
In conclusion, This Savage Song was a fantastic novel that kept me entertained throughout the entire novel. It’s complex characters and unique world was well-written and interesting. It’s dark tone made it a nice change of pace from traditional YA novels. While the plot was a bit predictable, the ending was shocking and left the book in an intriguing way for the sequel to begin.
Rating: Must Buy