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Monday, 25 July 2016
Review: This Savage Song
This Savage Song
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Titan!
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 don't even know how to begin reviewing this you guys, it was so freaking amazing! I love Schwabs books, I read A Darker Shade of Magic and completely fell in love and so I got all of her other books, I've read The Archived but I still need to read the sequel, Vicious and AGOS and I got sent this to review and I was freaking out because OMG NEW SCHWAB and it sounded so brilliant and I've been struggling to read a lot lately, it's taking me so long to read books for no real reason. I read like....2/3 of this in one sitting. I was only going to read a chapter or two and I read like...most of it in one go. I couldn't put it down, I was doing the whole "One more chapter" thing for hours. I was actually so reluctant to put it down but I really needed some sleep. So then I spent the next day doing whatever I had to do on my to do list, waiting for the moment I could sit down and finish this book. Then I finished it in record time and I was like...oh. It's over. But I need more!?
This Savage Song has possibly the most badass opening chapter I have ever read. Seriously. This was my reaction to it over on Twitter...
So I read that opening and I was like "Oh Kate....I'm going to like you" I mean, I just....I was reading that opening like "Oh my God..she isn't....oh she is....OMG FORGIVE ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED?! NOTHING PERSONAL?! SHE DIDN'T GO THERE" and like cackling to myself like a total weirdo but seriously. It gave me chills, it hooked me in, and it gave me a feel for Kate right off the bat. As did Augusts opening part, that gave you an insight in to what he was.
I really liked August, bless him. He wants to help his father, he wants to be normal...human. He doesn't want to go around stealing souls, he's a badass but he's not really happy about it and I had to feel for him and his sister Isla. Kate in contrast wants to be just like her father who, to put it politely, is a monster. She wants to be at home in V-City proving to him that she is truly a Harker. But Kate isn't as cool and tough as she tries to be. She was equally as badass but in a different way to August, she was still relatable. I was rooting for the both of them, even when they where at odds. You can feel for the both of them in different ways, they both just want to be accepted, to fit in.
I just thought it was such an interesting concept, the monster that wants to be human and the human that wants to be a monster working together, becoming friends and so on, and Schwab writes it so brilliantly. In my head, I was expecting August to be how Kate was, and Kate how August was, if that makes sense? Like August all cool and calm and collected for the majority of the time but Schwab writes him as...I kind of want to say human. You can see his vulnerabilities and you can feel for him, at no point are you like "omg you really are a monster" and starting to dislike him. Kate...I don't really know what I was expecting, part of me was expecting a regular girl who was a bit of an emotional mess perhaps, but I know Schwab and so I wasn't really counting on it. You see her vulnerable side a lot, but most of the time she's calm and calculating, everything is under the surface and as you read the book you see more and more of her and what happened to her and ugh. I loved Kate, she has metal nails you guys, it was awesome. The book is told from both August and Kate's perspectives so it goes a long way to letting you understand both characters, and see beyond the impressions they have of each other. They where brilliantly complex characters and Schwab brought them to life so brilliantly and believably.
The book has a tonne of secondary characters that helped to bring the world of the book to life and helped to tell the story and I completely loved Isla, Augusts sister. She struck me initially as very kind if not all there, but then you learn something and she became mildly terrifying but I really liked her character and how she was there for August, my heart broke for her at the end of the book and I'm intrigued to see what this means for her. Leo. Augusts brother. There aren't really any polite words for him..you know when you read books with angels in and they're all self righteous and everything? Like you want to punch them in the face because of it? That's Leo. He was such a....prat. I had such a bad feeling about him right off the bat. Augusts parents Henry and Emily where interesting characters, how they'd taken in these three and treated them like their kids, they really cared about August which was nice to see, you could see what made him want to be normal.
Over with Kate we have Sloane the creepy ass Malchai...like.....so creepy. I don't know why but my brain flashed to the Gentlemen from Buffy briefly, before then picturing something else entirely. He is the character you love to hate. Seriously. Then at the end? Can't even. We also have Harker, Kate's dad. Now. I gave this dude the benefit of the doubt, I figured that he really did love his daughter, he just had trouble showing it or whatever and I was picturing August and Kates parents trying to find them and help them and being all parenty. No. This dude...I can't even. There is a scene and my heart broke for Kate so badly reading it. This guy is like...you think he's one thing but he's another and you hate him either way. Basically. I love how Schwab gives you such fleshed out secondary characters that you can have this kind of reaction to them to be honest!
The book has a nice steady pace, and the world, the characters and the compelling writing...all draw you in. The plot of This Savage Song builds in to a crescendo, mimicking the music that's running throughout the book. I loved the emphasis on music in the book, it being Kate's way to cope, to calm down, to relax and so on, and August essentially needing it to live. Sunai use a song they have that's unique to them to do what they need to do and the musical emphasis in a world where there weren't really many nice things left in the majority of places was nice. Beauty in the darkness, I guess you could say. The world of the book is so vivid, it pulls you in and you get completely lose in it. Picturing everything as described. Schwabs world building is ALWAYS on point. She gives us an interesting history to it that makes you want to know more, and intricate politics that are easy to understand but not too simple. She also gives us plenty of other places in the world of the book that you're itching to check out.
Schwab's writing is just...brilliant. I love her imagery, "The monsters rustled like leaves, or debris, a death rattle in the shadows" her writing and imagery goes a long way to set the tone of the book, the feel of it. It fits with the world she's created...desolate..dark....scary. Sure you can buy safety in one half of the city but it's just a paper thin facade. I loved how the Sunai's personalities depended on what brought them to life, Leo was self righteous because of the cultists, Isla scattered because of the bomb etc I thought it was a nice touch and made each of the three Sunai stand out and it was a really nice touch. Schwab genuinely has such an amazing imagination, she creates these worlds and lets you in to them and it really feels like you're there with the characters in each scene, the writing is atmospheric and it really helps to transport you to the world of the book.
I really enjoyed the relationship between August and Kate. I wasn't sure what to expect, and usually I love a bit of a romance, but I actually really enjoyed the lack of it. It just wouldn't have been right in this book. I loved reading their growing friendship, watching these two opposites come together and work together and August wanting to help her because he felt she deserved to be helped. It was just brilliant to see these two characters come together, and see a friendship growing rather than a romance. I loved their interactions, their conversations, and I miss the two of them already.
This Savage Song is incredibly original and unique with a brilliant emphasis on music, woven throughout the book. Schwabs world building is such that you can get completely absorbed in to the world and lose track of time, and this is one of those books you should probably read in one sitting unless you're a fan of super late nights! The characters bring the world to life, and their complex and intriguing to read about. The ending? Well I still can't even. That ending leaves you desperate for more and intrigued to see what's going to happen to our new favourite characters next! It's a truly unputdownable read, and it stays with you long after you've read the last page.