Published: July 5, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 427 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
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?
Even though I received This Savage Song on its release date, it’s taken me over a month to finally have time to read it. All those weeks of it gathering dust on my dresser and at last I could see what everyone has raved about. I concur with popular opinion– I binge read this book and finished it in a mere two sittings because it was so hard to put down!
Though this is only my second Schwab story experience, I think it was more exciting than the first, which was A Darker Shade of Magic. This Savage Song is a story of a boy who wants to be human and a girl who wants to be a monster and neither of them can quite seem to get their wish. August Flynn is from the southern half of Verity- he’s a monster who can steal your soul with a song, and birthed from tragedy. Kate Harker is from the northern half of Verity- she wants to make her father proud, but that means becoming cruel, callous, and stifling her humanity one cold act at a time. Both are products of their surroundings; a city filled with crime, where the monsters are birthed from murder and violence.
I liked both Kate and August and was surprised to find that both were significantly more complex than I had expected. Each has a past that has darkness in it, though of very different kinds. August is the darkness in his own past- if he does not take the soul from one who has been stained by violence he “falls” and each time he loses another sliver of his goodness and control. Kate’s darkness is much less supernatural- her father is a crime boss turned mayoral figure, her mother was killed in a car accident, and she’s burned through 6 boarding schools in 5 years. The two meet up when August is sent to observe Kate at school and possibly use her as leverage against her father but things quickly get out of control and the city becomes unsafe for both of them.
This Savage Song was a really great story with plenty of original elements. I always enjoy books that employ music as a central piece to the story, especially when it’s as well done as this. Though Kate and August were wonderful characters, the most interesting was Ilsa, August’s “sister”. She’s on the edges of the story, but it makes her no less important and she reminds me of Auri from The Kingkiller Chronicles. She’s almost effervescent, like she’s not completely in this world and she remains shrouded in mystery for much of the book. Much is explained about her later and it makes her much more appealing and important to the story arc.
Overall, I say it’s a book worth checking out if you haven’t already. If you have, let me know what you thought of it!