Series: Monsters of Verity #1
Published by HarperCollins on July 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, General, Monsters, Law & Crime, Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
eARC provided by HarperCollins
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed 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, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.
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. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.
Verity is a city divided in half. The Sunai are the soul eaters, they can only kill bad people and they work closely with humans. August is one of just three Sunai in the city. His brother and sister, also Sunai, work to keep people safe in their half of the city. The other two kinds of monsters are Malchai and Carsai. They eat anyone and they live on the other side of the city, the side run by a man named Harker. Kate is Harker’s daughter. Harker gives people a medallion for protection, which means the monsters he controls won’t eat you. There is corruption on both sides, but it is more obvious of Harker’s side. The two sides called a truce a while back, but it is starting to break down.
Kate isn’t exactly like her father, but she is getting there. The story starts off with Kate getting kicked out of yet another boarding school outside of Verity. She wants to go home and earn her father’s love. Her father is a jerk and won’t let her come home. When at least he runs out of schools to send her to, she gets to come home and attend a nearby prep school in Verity, on Harker’s side.
August gets sent on a mission to find Kate and spy on her. He is mostly sheltered due to his rare Sunai nature. He sneaks over the border and poses as a human to attend the same prep school to get close to her. At that school August and Kate meet and become accidental friends.
I enjoyed the idea of this story so much. This could have been such a cool story, but the characters were a bit dull. The world building was a bit vague, in that the locations weren’t well described. I have to admit that even the monsters weren’t well described. Even though I just finished this, I couldn’t tell you the difference between Malchai and Carsai. This could be good if you want to imagine all the details for yourself, but I like well defined rules for dystopian worlds.
There wasn’t really a romance in this story, despite the fact that it was hinted along the way and the main characters are boy and girl. The simple fact is that one is a monster and one is a spoiled brat, so there are too many obstacles in the way. I could see that the author tried to humanize Kate by showing her losing her mother, but it was way too late for me to change my initial impressions of her. Also, her sad tale does not compare to poor August who has no family except a few monsters.
The thing that saved this book for me (other than the fight scenes) was that the ending was so pleasing. It wasn’t a happy, happy ending, but it wasn’t sad either. It left me wanting more and hoping to get some defined rules for those monsters in the next installment.