Review | This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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 Schwaba 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.

“Plenty of humans are monstrous and plenty of monsters know how to play at being human.”

This Savage Song was like an urban fantasy Romeo and Juliet. V-City is divided into two sections: one led by ruthless Harker, who forces his fearful citizens to pay for his protection; the other led by the more noble Flynn, who genuinely cares about his citizens’ wellbeing. While the latter is more sympathetic, I found myself wanting to learn much more about the former – and this also extended to their protégées.

Kate Harker and August Flynn could not be more different: August is a monster who wants to be human; Kate is a human who is willing to commit monstrous acts if it means winning her father’s approval. They could have easily fell into the star-crossed lovers trope, but, unlike Romeo and Juliet, there is no romance in This Savage Song. In a city overrun by monsters born from acts of violence, survival is the paramount concern.

As with any Schwab book, the writing was excellent: the story progressed at just the right pace, the atmosphere was wonderfully creepy, and there were some gorgeous turns of phrase tucked into deceptively simple prose. I finished the story in one sitting and can’t wait to pick up Our Dark Duet.

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