Sep 21, 2016

Review--This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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?

I finally read a Victoria Schwab book and wow! It was pretty amazing! This Savage Song snagged my interest when I heard it involved monsters! And not like monsters we might be used to, but actual monsters who happily kill and/or eat humans! You might be thinking this sounds like a horror novel, it’s not. Not really. Sure there are creepy moments, but there’s more suspense to this one and quite a mystery brewing filled with many betrayals and lies!

In this world, there are three kinds of monsters; Corsai, Malchai, and Sunai. They all come into being when there’s a serious crime committed. This is the part that was a little confusing for me, but I think what it summed up to was that Corsai are born from non-lethal violence, Malchai come from a more heinous crime like murder, and Sunai are born from truly awful crimes, like massacres, bombings, etc. They apparently appear human, unless they truly lose themselves. Some of this monster setup wasn’t really explained in detail. Just more like, Sunai are created from massacres and that there are only three rumored to be in existence.

In walks August, who is one of those three. He’s a Sunai, a monster, but he doesn’t want to be one. In order to survive he does need to feed on the souls of the truly wicked. August though doesn’t enjoy doing this. It seems the easiest way he can go about getting a soul is when he plays his violin in the presence of such wickedness. He was raised by the Flynns who rule the South City, which is a part of the sector that has more chaos than order. You must fight to have safety in this place. While in the North City, that’s ruled by Harker, safety comes to those who can pay the price and it’s steep. If you don’t pay, then you basically forfeit your life.

Kate Harker wants nothing more than to please her father, she’s gotten herself kicked out many boarding schools just to come home and prove herself to him. She and August meet at her new school which he is also attending. Oddly enough, he’s going “undercover” with a fake identity and is told to keep an eye on Kate. And Kate quickly becomes determined to puzzle August out.

For me, This Savage Song is one of those books that feels so hard to review or explain to others, but when reading it, you get the gist of the storyline. Granted, I feel confused by a few unanswered questions. Mostly in regards to the world-building that I wish had been better explained, but when it comes to those instances, I always try to just roll with it. And usually, I am able to do just that! Because luckily here, it really only was a few things that I didn’t quite understand or grasp to the world-building and whatnot.

From the start you can almost see Kate and August winding up enemies, but then you also already can figure out that soon that will change as well. The change was definitely a slow, gradual kind. And like other readers, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of romance between them. Are things blossoming or being laid out for the future? Possibly. Who’s to really say? Maybe there won’t be romance in this story at all. But what you will see is a bond growing between Kate and August in some way. But I must say I truly enjoyed watching these two interact. While they may not exactly be friends, they are sort of comrades. They’re being attacked from enemies and they’re left with no one else to trust. As they say, “better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t”.

There’s trouble brewing among the cities. Tensions are high and it seems the ones in South City are not happy about the current circumstances. There were quite a few secrets, betrayals and shocking surprises in this book. It can be hard to tell who the villain is. Is it the North City, the South City, someone else entirely? It’s a tough call.

The ending was quite possibly the best part of this book! Okay, a lot about this book was really, really good! But that ending…oh that ending leaves me with chills! Not only do we pretty much have a nice all out battle of sorts and then watching the characters go in their given direction, but there’s one final chapter, one final segment that will totally blow your mind! Not only in a BIG way, but also in an added little way! Totally WTF?! moment, but in the best possible way!! The wait until the next and from what I heard final, as it’s a duology we’re dealing with, Our Dark Duet, is going to be killer! There are too many loose strings left in this one that I am desperately waiting to see what will befall our characters!

This Savage Song was quite an intriguing read! It was puzzling at times, and filled with so many twists it will make your head spin! It’s a read to keep you on your toes and I would totally recommend it if you’re looking for that dark kind of read that will make you question what or who monsters really are!


Overall Rating 4/5 stars 


  1. I really enjoyed this book too! It was my first YA book by Schwab, and I think I liked it even more than her adult novels.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  2. So I started This Savage Song and was a little bored. Your review is basically the kick in the pants I need to keep going. It's not bad, it's just a little slow and your review has reminded me that Schwab is one heck of a writer and I do NOT want to DNF this book. :D

    Mel @ Reviews In A Pinch

  3. Great review. I’m so intrigued by this one. I haven’t read many monster stories. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!


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