Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: 7th June 2016
Spoilers: YES! There are spoilers!
Rating: (4.0 / 5)
This month we read This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab for the Bored to Death Book Club which is held every month in Donner in Rotterdam. I hadn’t heard of This Savage Song before the book club, but I had heard of the writer and I heard that she was amazing, so I was really looking forward to this novel. I also really liked the synopsis of the novel, which you can read below. It sounded like an original and exciting story and I was quite curious after reading the synopsis. I read This Savage Song in almost one sitting and I’ve given it four hearts, because it was a great read.
“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.” [Goodreads]
My first impression was already quite good. The novel begins with a quote about monsters and humans: “Plenty of humans are monstrous, and plenty of monsters know how to play at being human.” by V.A. Vale. It described the essence of the novel and I love to reread such quotes after the book is finished, because it always makes much more sense after reading the book. The book then continues with a prelude with is divided in two parts. One introduces Kate Harker and the other one introduces August Flynn, who are the two main characters. I think this was a great way to set up the novel and introduce the characters, because when the novel starts the reader doesn’t really know what the setting of the novel is and this way it doesn’t get too confusing for the reader.
I think August and Kate are two great characters. The synopsis states that they have to choose to be heroes or villains, but you already know from the beginning that neither one is a bad person and that they really just pretend to be something they’re not. So I don’t think that they have to choose anything. I loved both of them, though I had a bit of a weak spot for August, because he is such a sweet guy. However, I do think that Kate is the most interesting, because she tries so hard to be something she is not and it is really interesting to look for the cracks in the mask she’s wearing, while with August it is quite clear that he is essentially not a bad person (or monster for that matter) and even though he does bad things they don’t define him. The thing I really liked about the characters is that they are just really nice people. Even though Kate is sometimes extremely mean to others, she’s never like that to August and August also seems to really like Kate, despite the fact that they should be enemies.
Throughout the story we’re introduced to the world of August and Kate. You don’t get an explanation of how the city works and how it came to be that way right away. We slowly get bits and pieces of information about what happened and what is going on. I think this was very well done by Victoria Schwab, because sometimes the reader gets thrown into a world without explanation and they get confused and don’t understand what is going on, which I always find very annoying. I did have one bit where I couldn’t understand why a certain character said something or what it meant, but it didn’t really bother me a lot and I found out about the meaning later on in the novel, so it wasn’t much of a turn-down.
Another interesting thing about the novel, and which I personally loved, is that it constantly changes perspective. Every chapter is alternately told by different characters. Starting with Kate and then followed by a chapter by August and then Kate again and so on. I really liked that because it made both characters much more interesting and we get to see the city and both characters from different points of view.
This book is a real page turner. I mean I could not set this book down and walked around the house reading, which is something I only do when a book is really good and compelling. Pretty much every chapter ended with a cliffhanger, so do be aware when you start reading this book, because unless you read it on a day off, which is what I did, you’re facing a long night 😉 .
I’m really positive about this novel and I strongly recommend it to everyone that loves (urban) fantasy novels that you can’t put down once you start reading. Also this books ends with a cliffhanger which on one side is extremely annoying, because I want the second book RIGHT NOW, but on the other side it also makes me wonder about what could happen in the next book. The cliffhanger suggests that there is so much more to come and that the next book could be very interesting indeed. So anyway, I’m definitely going to save the date for part two and I hope you will too.
Excited for the book? Order it here!