Hello everyone! Today will finally be my book review on This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab. It’s been sitting on my night stand for months now and I’ve gotten around to finishing the damn thing so here is my little spiel on what is now leaving me reeling on my chair.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city, a grisly metropolis where the violence has begun to create real and deadly monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the inhabitants pay for his protection. August just wants to be human, as good-hearted as his own father-but his curse is to be what the humans fear. The thin truce that keeps the Harker and Flynn families at peace is crumbling, and an assassination attempt forces Kate and August into a tenuous alliance. But how long will they survive in a city where no one is safe and monsters are real…
This is my first Schwab novel and I must say, I’m blown away by her power with words. She has created such a dark and mysterious world, ruined by monsters, corruption and power, and brought us characters that shine like no other. I connected with her style quite instantly, loving the way she repeats words and draws out the moment until you’re holding your breath and bursting with emotion. The rest of this review is not completely spoiler free as I’ll be making some vague references, but feel free to read it after you’ve read the book.
I am honestly in awe with how Schwab slowly fed me the story, especially when it came to August and Kate. Their personal struggles and identities are a constant occurrence throughout the novel, but the gradual unfolding of their characters, strengths and weaknesses only heightened the bond between them, the synergy in their natures.
They had the right amount of dimension and depth without being overwhelming. Schwab does a great job at shifting the focus between Kate and August’s relationship to their own individual developments which is something I find tends to be neglected in YA.
PSA: This is a YA novel without romance. Yes, and it’s incredible. I didn’t particularly feel like another typical YA romance, so this was a pleasant surprise.
The plot commences on a fiery note. Quite literally. We’re thrown into Kate’s perspective as she burns down the chapel of her boarding school, left with questions that are given sparse answers. The dystopian elements throughout the novel are intriguing. The divison of V-City with the monetary system of protection run by Callum Harker in North City and the FTF fighter system run by Henry Flynn in South City, paints a a torn picture of what the city is like on the surface and beneath. Schwab does a fantastic job at showing the depth of corruption, violence and betrayal in V-City while love, hope and humanity dance on delicate strings as we jump between Kate and August.
Schwab has created a whole new breed of monsters: Corsai, Malchai and Sunai. I love the songs that go along with each type of monster and this is acts as a slight motif throughout the novel. We don’t see a lot of the Corsai and when we do, their image wasn’t as clearly portrayed as that of the Malchai.
“Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.
Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul.”
How awesome and chilling does that song sound?
I loved the subjective concept of humans and monsters. There’s the physical but also the mental and spiritual aspects. We’re left pondering on what is it really like to be human. What separates us from the monsters? Schwab did an excellent job at making me wonder.
I connected with Schwab’s writing from the beginning. She knows when to be sharp and concise or when to be soft and drawn out, especially as we alternate between Kate and August, two sides of an eroding city. Her writing style changes as the tone of the book does, her descriptions detailed with great elaboration of the world. But it was the small pieces of quiet time that really made the story come to life.
“I read somewhere,” said Kate, “that people are made of stardust.”
He dragged his eyes from the sky. “Really?”
“Maybe that’s what you’re made of. Just like us.”
And despite everything, August smiled.”
This scene was beautiful and honestly made me tear up. The dimension Schwab gives her all her characters is incredible.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fresh dystopian novel with elements of magic, monsters and moments that have you questioning your own moral compass.
For those who have read it, what did you think? I’m curious to see if anyone enjoyed it as much as I did.
Until next time!