This Savage Song book review

by V E Schwab (2016) ♥♥♥♥♥

“I mean, most people want to escape. Get out of their heads. Out of their lives. Stories are the easiest way to do that.” – This Savage Song, V E Schwab

In a world where monsters are a reality, people live in fear of being out after dark where the monsters lurk. The monsters are controlled by two leaders, Henry Flynn of the South Side and Callum Harker of the North Side after a war split the city in two and a truce was created in an attempt at peace.

But the truce is breaking, and August Flynn and Kate Harker will soon discover the terrible reason behind the attacks as they have rely on one another to make it through the terrible events now taking place.

Kate wants nothing more than her father’s approval, and killing monsters is the only way she can do so, whereas August detests his monster nature and just wants to be human, so when these two characters are thrown into each other’s tangled lives, they soon learn what kind of person the other one is but which one is the real monster?

So I actually won this book in a competition on Twitter by Maximum Pop Books and it was signed! I was so happy, it was such a surprise and definitely a book I was itching to get my hands on! Thank you Maximum Pop Books, you made my week.

I absolutely LOVED This Savage Song, this book was something special to read. I devoured the entire thing in a couple of sittings and there was never a dull moment. Each character developed in a way I couldn’t have predicted, and there were several moments of unforeseen shocking events for the reader to react to, which were such a joy to read.

This story was dark at times and one thing that I really liked was that there was no romance! I read a lot of books that contain romance and love triangles etc, but this one had two people of similar age and opposite gender that managed to get along and not fancy each other (shock, horror).

August was such an adorable character, made all the more so by the fact that he wanted to be normal and the constant battle between himself and his nature was captivating to read. Kate on the other hand, came across brash and a bit unfeeling at first, soon to unravel as a girl with a troubled childhood and just wanting the love of a father she never really had.

An amazing feature of this book was the clever title, This Savage Song because August is a Sunai – monster who can steal a soul through the use of music; he plays a song which enables him to feed on the soul of a human. The book was also split up into four verses, a clever reference to the title, such a simple but brilliant idea.

The other two monsters in this world are the Malchai and the Corsai (I took an epicreads quiz and discovered I was a Corsai -_-) which are evil and monstrous, and Sloan, who is Harker’s ‘pet’ monster, is the worst of them all – a Malchai with a terrible dislike for Kate.

This Savage Song had many intriguing features and cleverly constructed ideas. The Sunai creatures not only feed on souls through music, but they must feed on a soul because if they don’t, they will ‘go dark’ and a part of them never comes back. Tallies of the days since they last went dark are marked over their skin – August’s arm is filled with little lines whereas his sister, Ilsa, is covered in tiny stars; such a small detail but pivotal to the creation of this world and adding to the sinister edge this book has.

One thing I will say though, is that this book lacks a map, I feel. Schwab explains the layout of the city so well in the book, but I’m more of a visual person – I need to see it laid out to understand it better, so that’s the only bad thing I have to say on this book. Who knows, maybe they’ll release a map in the next one?

Prepare to have your heart trampled on with this book and be left craving more as I am right now. The Monsters of Verity series is an amazing ingenious idea, but I would expect nothing less from V E Schwab.

On to the spoilery review of This Savage Song, so look away now if you don’t want to be spoiled!

WHAT WAS THAT ENDING, SCHWAB?! I am in shock – what did I just read in those last fifty pages?

Okay so I’ll start with the characters and THE BETRAYAL OF LEO, I mean, and their development throughout the book.

So, Kate. At first I didn’t really like her, I thought she was just an attention-seeking sort of character which I now realise was because she was actually trying to get the attention of her father, who she hasn’t really ever seen properly. I warmed to her as the story went on and we found out about her past – her mother dying, her non-existent father and her constant desire to just go back home.

She’s a strong character, prepared to defend herself in the face of danger, even if it has disastrous consequences…

I’m going straight to one of the shocker scenes – when Kate killed that man and her soul turned red and August said ‘what have you done?’ I was like-

And then I was like-

Because I realised what she had done – she had sinned and August can only take the soul of a person who has sinned, and in this scene when she killed the man, August was STARVING and needed to feed on a soul like right now. But August had become friends with Kate and couldn’t feed on her soul – dammit Kate, you ruined it!

That scene was something else, a little part of me broke for August as he battled with himself to not feed on her, even though he was going to ‘go dark’ if he didn’t feed real soon. You could just feel the sorrow pouring out of him with those last few sentences on page 354:

“”Kate,” he gasped. When he dragged his head up, the light was gone. His eyes were wide and black. “What have you done?”” – This Savage Song, V E Schwab

August was such a sweetie though. A monster wanting to just be human and not a monster any more? Adorable. He even practised trying to look human in the mirror with his facial expressions in an attempt to be more human, and adopts a cat because he can’t bear to leave it on its own!

August.

And his sister, Ilsa, was an enchanting character to read about with an air of mystery constantly surrounding her. When I thought she had died, I could actually feel my eyes widen in horror but then it turned out that she was aliiiiiive and everything was good, till we found out she can no longer sing.

But… but she loves to sing.

I’m kind of confused as to how she’s going to be able to feed on souls now if she can’t sing.

So those two Sunai were amazing, but the one I was a bit indifferent to from the moment we met him, was LEO.

Leo came across as completely different to the other two Sunai, thinking himself above all others as he believes it’s the job of a Sunai to deliver justice to the world; feeding on sinners through the use of music and also torture, I was a bit wary of him.

And quite rightly so.

When he brought August along to feed and taught him a new way of feeding by torturing the sinner and not using music, it pretty much confirmed the idea that he was not a good one. And when he came to save August but it actually turned out that he had made a deal with Sloan, and was behind the breaking truce because he wanted peace to break? And then he forced August to go dark and feed on Kate?!

Leo, you horrible monster. Literally.

My heart broke for August in that scene, the realisation that his brother had planned to break the truce apart and was making August do something he really didn’t want to do – I hated him for it.

I’m glad he’s dead.

But he’ll probably be in the next book, somehow.

Which brings me on to Sloan, the horrible Malchai that physically beat August to force him to go dark, who got killed by Leo, and who is now alive because another Malchai brought him back to life somehow? That Malchai with the name of Alice which is, coincidentally, the name of Kate’s mother?!

I am so confused right now.

That book took hold of my soul and didn’t let go till I finished it. Maybe the book is the song of a Sunai…

This Savage Song was totally fantastic and deserves a place on everybody’s bookshelf; a truly stunning book and one that will stay with me for a very long time. Mesmerising writing, terrific character development and a superb plot – what more could you ask for?

“Sing you a song and steal your soul.” – This Savage Song, V E Schwab

 

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