This Savage SongSeries: Monsters of Verity #1
by Victoria Schwab
Published by HarperCollins, Greenwillow Books on July 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
Young adult urban fantasy is hard to find.
GOOD young adult urban fantasy is even harder find.
Forget about finding GOOD, DARK, INVENTIVE, and SMART urban fantasy in the young adult section… until Schwab’s This Savage Song.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to think about the title, let alone the synopsis. But it’s Victoria Schwab and she wrote one of my favorite books from 2015, A Darker Shade of Magic. What could go wrong?
Nothing for me, but for the citizens of Verity, a whole hell of a lot. The setting of This Savage Song is a post-“phenomenon” United States where new, larger cities emerged in the aftermath. We’re never really told what exactly the phenomenon was but there are a few clues provided throughout the book, including that it happened shortly after the war in Vietnam. The result of the phenomenon was the emergence of monsters who prey on the humans. Ms. Schwab takes it even a step further and it’s HOW the monsters emerge that had me going, “Holy shit…”
And taking the setting even farther into “that’s a brain matter scratcher”, the city of Verity is divided into two sides that are governed extremely differently. Actually, they are exact opposites in the way they are run.
But which side is the right side?
Same with our hero and heroine. Who is the better person? Is it Kate Harker, if all she wants is to be home near her father and for him to notice her, to be proud she’s his daughter? Or is it August Flynn, the “monster” who wants to help his family protect the humans on their side of the “seam” but instead lives sheltered inside their home?
Ms. Schwab did such a fabulous job with the plot of this story that she had me going back and forth (and back) several times throughout the story, trying to pinpoint how Kate and August were going to work with each other escape whoever the ultimate bad guy was. Will Kate turn on August? Will August turn on Kate? And honestly, I couldn’t figure out who the bad guy was, either!
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a big mess of a book of questions. You want to be tested and quizzed. And you’ll know and understand the supporting characters. They are thoroughly fleshed out and original in their own right. My personal favorite? Well, if I told her who she was, I’d have to kill ya… 😉
This story is so stupidly smart, bloody, beautiful, and still managed to surprise and confound me at the end. And this book does have an end, not some stupid, crazy cliffhanger. I think I love you even more Ms. Schwab. You know how to write an ending that is open, makes me want to read book two, and still gives that wonderful feeling of closure that I crave.