I’m a huge fan of Victoria Schwab, a.k.a. V.E. Schwab, so I figured This Savage Song would be just as impressive as her other books, The Darker Shade of Magic trilogy and Vicious. I was not disappointed. Schwab proved once again that she is an absolutely fantastic writer. Like her other books, she has masterfully created a comic book-esque world with vivid imagery and monsters. In This Savage Song, the author even goes one step further in order to define what a monster truly is.
In a post-apocalyptic world, there is a divided city called Verity. One half is ruled by a family, called the Flynns, who keep order. The other half is ruled by a man named Harker who keeps the monsters in his back pocket. The people of Verity pay Harker for protection. Both sides protect their people from three different kinds of monsters. The Corsai are born of violent, non-lethal acts and will eat you if they catch you. The Malchai are born from acts of murder and will drink your blood. The Sunai are born of more heinous acts– bombings, mass suicides, shootings – and they will steal your soul with their song. August is one of the Sunai, the rarest form of monster. In fact, there are only three Sunai – August, his brother Leo, and his sister Ilsa – and all three live with Flynn as his “avenging angels.”
Kate Harker, the daughter of the crime lord, comes home from boarding school to prove to her father that she can be just as brutal as he is. August is sent to befriend Kate, but once they meet, together they endure a series of events that have both of them questioning what it is to be a monster and what it is to be human.
I always enjoy Schwab’s characters. They are morally gray, complicated, and always surprising. While Kate starts out as someone who wants to impress her father, the reader can see from the beginning that it isn’t who she really is. August only wants to be human instead of the monster he believes himself to be. In the end, he could be the only thing standing between Kate and the real monsters, even if it means embracing his own monstrous side.
This duology, The Monsters of Verity, continues in the second installment, Our Dark Duet, which will be reviewed for next week.