Morning Mortals! Today I want to share with you my thoughts about my first ever Victoria Schwab novel. I know I should have read them all already but I’m late to the game as ever. You’ll be pleased to know This Savage Song was absolutely one of my top reads of the year so far!
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 Schwab, a 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.
I have so many things I want to say. This was like if every bad paranormal teen movie decided it was actually going to be good and not just have sparkles and love triangles. The characters are simultaneously hugely likeable and terrible people which makes them utterly unpredictable, something YA fantasy rarely is. There’s something very Shakespearean in how things play out between these characters, buckets of dramatic irony to keep the reader hooked.
The musical element is, as the title may suggest, is quite important and was a good element to bring into this story. It made the predatory elements feel a little more elegant and the juxtaposition between what is seen as such a creative and peaceful act of creation and the violence that ensues was powerful.
I have already bought the sequel Our Dark Duet because I need to know what happens next. Schwab manages to both complete a coherent novel and make a cliffhanger. You could read just book #1 and be satisfied (maybe?) but there’s still so much to be said.
Many have attempted to write novels similar to this, bringing relationships between the mortal and the…less than mortal into the forefront of their plot, few have succeeded. Schwab has managed to create a world where this doesn’t feel forced or ‘for the sake of’, instead it feels like the book is simply a parallel universe where everything is exceeding plausible.
I’m currently reading A Darker Shade of Magic so expect much more Schwab from me in the future. Hopefully I’ll be back soon with my review of Our Dark Duet.
What say you? Add your thoughts to my incoherent babbling in the comments below!