“This Savage Song” by Victoria Schwab
3 ½-4 out of 5 stars.
“There’s no such thing as safe.
Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.
August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.
Their city is divided.
Their city is crumbling.
Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.
But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?”
“This Savage Song” ended up being a very enjoyable and conceptually unique YA read, and I liked the fact that it was a dystopian novel, but it also felt like it could belong to the fantasy genre because of it strangeness at times. The concept of Schwab’s novel felt fairly unique to me, though I can imagine that there have probably been other novels before it that took hold of the idea that humankind’s wicked actions had the ability to bring to life real monsters. But for me personally, I had yet to read a book with that concept as the main theme until I picked Victoria Schwab’s latest novel, and that made my reading experience a lot more enjoyable. Oh, and did I also mention that this was my first Victoria Schwab book?
I know, I call myself a YA book blogger and I only just got around to one of its up-and-coming authors. I have personally never felt the need to read a Victoria Schwab novel beyond wanting to be up-to-date with the rising authors and their successful books, but I still did not get around to reading Victoria’s novel “Vicious” or her “A Darker Shade of Magic” series before this book was released. With “This Savage Song,” however, I was thoroughly intrigued by its concept, and when amazon.com dropped the hardcover price to just under $8, I knew that I had to give at least one Victoria Schwab books a try to see if I liked her writing style.
I liked the depths that Victoria’s writing reached toward in “This Savage Song,” and I found her concept of monstrous actions awakening various kinds of monstrous creatures to be quite fascinating; it made for a darker reading experience, but it almost felt brutally honest to how such crimes awaken ugly things like hate and fear in the hearts of people. I liked how in August, though, Victoria displayed the changing force of hope that comes along with the desire to do better, to be more than our former selves, which created a silver lining to her novel’s darker tone. Victoria Schwab’s writing style also added a haunting atmosphere that made her story and its concept fit quite well together.
A lot of bloggers and readers of Victoria’s most recent novel complained about the pacing, but I was actually quite happy with it. I never felt like the pacing of “This Savage Song” was too fast or too slow while I was reading it, and I enjoyed the progression of this book’s plot and how Victoria Schwab slowly revealed little details about the world that her protagonists lived in. Schwab is fantastic of writing impacting and/or slow reveals of certain places or events that have taken place, and I like that her style has the ability to create an atmosphere of mystery to surround its readers, even as they are making guesses as to what is happening. Although some of the events and surprises in this book felt a little predictable to me, I still enjoyed the atmosphere that those plot twists created in “This Savage Song.”
Despite finding the story held inside of this dark book to be interesting and Victoria’s writing to be quite good, I don’t feel like I fell completely in love with “This Savage Song.” It was well-written and fairly unique, but I just felt like there was a slight disconnect from me and the story and its characters.
August was a sweet and compelling character, but I did not fall in love with him. I was always interested in “This Savage Song” when August was present, and his struggle between embracing what he was and who he wanted to be was very compelling in my opinion, but there was just a distance between either me and this book or its characters that could not be bridged. I though that August was a sweet, interesting character, and I liked the moments where he reminded me of Jem from Cassandra Clare’s “Infernal Devices” series with his gifted violin playing, but my heart was not completely invested in him as a character.
I had expected to dislike Kate because of her desperate need to do terrible things in order to have her father notice her, but instead I just felt bad for her. I felt the same disconnect with Kate’s character that was present with August in this book, but I still enjoyed reading about her character. The little glimpses of her past were quite interesting, and the dynamic between her and August definitely kept me reading, despite the fact that I was not particularly emotionally invested in them. Neither of Victoria Schwab’s characters were under develop or lacking in dynamic, but there was a slight distance between the characters and me and that might have just been the time in my life when I read “This Savage Song.”
Victoria Schwab is a very good writer, and I can see why people like her writing so much, even though I was not deliriously in love with the first book of hers that I read. “This Savage Song” was an interesting book with a unique premise, and I am very curious as to how Victoria will continue August and Kate’s story in “Our Dark Duet.” If you are looking for a dark, dynamic dystopian novel that has streaks of fantasy in it, you should give “This Savage Song” a try.