Book Review: Victoria Schwab – This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)

Victoria Schwab has done it again! A new dystopian world, three kinds of monsters and a war set in motion.

Title: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publish Date: July 5, 2016

Goodreads: 4.2/5
Barnes and Noble: 4.7/5

SYNOPSIS:

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 Schwaba 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.

 

REVIEW:

So I have become really big a Victoria Schwab fan.

I just fall in love in the worlds that she creates; each one wider and more complex than the other.

There are a lot of things I love about this book and let’s go run them down.

 

Characters:

The book follows a two-person POV between August and Kate. Both characters have a distinct tone and voice when we follow each of their standpoints.

I am in LOOOVE with Kate!

She is as kickass as Delilah Bard (A Darker Shade of Magic of the same author). She is always out there to get things her way. She knows what she wants and will not let anything stop her. Selfish and conniving, she was about to kidnap August and present him to her father. Despite the absence of a fatherly figure, she still longed for her father’s attention and acceptance.

August is just also adorable! He’s like a cute little monster you’d want to cuddle with.

I’ve always adored men who can play instruments. In this book, August uses a violin to play his song which causes the souls of their victim to surface just before he takes them in one touch. He is protected since his being and is portrayed as reserved but driven towards the safety of all.

At this point, we can see how Victoria Schwab likes switching up stereotypical gender characteristics. Just like in A Darker Shade of Magic, the female protagonist is described as energetic, selfish and sinister – someone who sleeps with knives under their pillows, while the male protagonists are reserved and more morally inclined – people who think about the greater good.

It’s quite ingenious in a sense that we are able to explore the capabilities of female characters – without powers – and yet pose a great threat in the storyline. It makes the plot even more unpredictable if she would betray the other protagonist and when she would do it.

Style and Pacing:

I apologize because I can’t help myself from comparing it to A Darker Shade. Huhu.

Comparing to regular YA books, this one is rather fast paced – each part of the book highlighting a great character reveal or a twist in the plot. I did not quite understand how the book was divided – but not an entirely bad thing.

You can actually feel the difference in her prose when she is writing YA and when she is writing Adult. In interviews, she says that when she’s writing, she doesn’t aim to write it in either YA or Adult. That maybe true but there is a certain immaturity of the words she uses and how they are expressed in This Savage Song.

I AM NOT BASHING. I love Victoria Schwab no matter what. Huhu!

However, there are times when her narratives become repetitive and when we get in the head of our characters and sometimes they sound a bit whiny, especially with August.

In an interview, Schwab describes August as the YA portion of the book while Kate as the Adult portion of it. In a way, she finds this book as the crossroads of both her fandom in their respective genres.

I would also like to question the two-person POV style. First off, I like stories with different POVs. It makes things more realistic and fair as the readers don’t depend on only one character’s view on things. However, most of the scenes in the plot was August and Kate together. I find it rather unnecessary because this leads to redundancy, as observed when we jump to both character POV’s in just one chapter.

Originality:

Post-apocalyptic world where monsters run amok, SIGN ME UP! Wait. No. Only if I’m a Sunai. Yey!

Victoria Schwab brings us to this really new world where violence breeds violence – literally. Each form of violence giving form to a certain monster depending on the degree of it.

Victoria’s formula for the monster hierarchy is also superb. We got the Corsai, Malchai and Sunai. Victoria explains this as the Corsai can be ghouls, the Malchai can be vampires and Sunai can be angels.

The Corsai are formed from non-lethal acts of violence. These are the most common (though has little exposure in the book). They fear light and are described as having hive-minds, just like bees that huddle with each other and swarm the nearest vulnerable victim. They eat every flesh and bone they see and are extremely driven only by hunger.

The Malchai are formed from murder. They have human-like bodies but with torn flesh, bones and darkness. They drink the blood of their victims just like vampires. They are capable of speech and self-awareness, however, it seems that the Malchai are under dominion to whoever has formed them.

The Sunai are formed from the worst kinds of sins like mass murder. They pass as humans in society but can be distinguished by their dark coal eyes and the marks on their skin, which are unique to each Sunai. In the book, there are only three known Sunais  – August, Leo and Ilsa. Sunai drains the soul or life force of their victims but further in the book, Schwab reveals that they can only drain those that have been tainted by sin.

Wooh! And that’s only the shallow way of explaining each monster. The city and the politics are a whole other thing.

Personal Rating:

This book was just a whole roller coaster of feels!

Kudos to NO ROMANCE! Think Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, all awesome, all magic and the plot can stand alone without romance even for a YA book.

Reading the synopsis in every website possible, you would expect the two to fall for each other. Readers are in for a surprise to know that there isn’t. There are some points though that implies some sort of attraction between the two protagonists, but Schwab confirms in an interview that it is purely platonic.

I just looooove strong lead female characters. Throughout the book I was like, “I want to be friends with that bitch.” Haha! Having no powers, Kate did not hold her back from fighting, not only physically but also her inner demons.

The plot was overwhelmingly GOOD! There are no boring parts. Not even one. It is also incredibly intricate that it’s hard to describe the whole world of Verity in one blog post. *cries*

However, it is sad to say that I was able to predict the end and who was behind all those scheming. I did not expect however that Callum Harker would die just like that as I expected him to carry out being the antagonist throughout the series.

I have a couple of plot questions though:

  1. The book stated that she wasn’t “whole” when she showed up to August and Kate in the motel. What did that mean? Does she have some other kind of power?
  2. What did August whisper to Leo before he died?
  3. How was August able to resist draining Kate’s tainted soul despite blacking out?

 

OVERALL: 5 stars!

Stars 5.0

As dark as this world might be, I’d still want to be in it – as a Sunai. Haha!

I love how timely this book is as there have been frequent hate and terrorism on social media.

This book can serve as a lesson that violence does breed violence. End it before an outer force ends you.

 

BONUS QUOTES

“Violence breeds violence.”

“Every weakness exposes flesh, and flesh invites a knife.”

“People are users. It’s a universal truth.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.”

“It hadn’t been just about the sinner in the end, it was about the sin itself, the shadow that ate away a human’s light.”

—————————————–

Hope you guys found my review entertaining and informative.

If you have any books or movies you’d like me to review, or any topic suggestions, let me know through HERE.

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