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This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity) Hardcover – July 5, 2016
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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“There are no wasted words here, and the end result is a darkly precise narrative that feels like a shiver down the spine…this taut creation about the nature of humanity lingers long after its disquieting finale.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Schwab’s latest seems poised to grab both her adult and teen readers; the world is fascinating…the characters complicated, and the political machinations and emotional depths both charged and compelling. …Crackling with energy, just the ticket for an all-night read.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Schwab explores the natures of justice and humanity in an assuredly built world with a compelling settings and an intriguing music-based magic. And in August and his Sunai siblings, she introduces a type of monster both sympathetic and terrifying. A cliffhanger ending promises a sequel.” (The Horn Book)
“Kate and August both undergo an impressive amount of character development, and fans will like them despite their flaws. Combined with the nonstop action and the author’s immersive writing style, this first purchase is sure to be a hit with older teens and fans of urban fantasy.” (School Library Journal)
“Schwab has built a strange, captivating alternate America filled with offbeat, fascinating characters. …Readers looking for a dangerous and engrossing new world to fall into will find it with this fast-paced, frightening read.” (Publishers Weekly)
“The pacing is fast, the narrative enthralling, but it is the depths of the novel - its acuteness of moral imagination and perception - that will stay with you afterward. My highest recommendation.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)
“Gritty dialogue and realistic scenes of violence will have senior high school students who enjoy The Hunger Games and Divergent series awaiting the next book in this series.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“Unique, thrilling, and impossible to predict, This Savage Song is something entirely new, and fans of YA will want to seek out this dark and powerful novel. ...Schwab has written a book with moments of cruelty and bleakness that also includes high adventure and heroic achievements.” (Locus)
- Lexile Measure : 830L
- Grade Level : 9 - 12
- Item Weight : 1.16 pounds
- Hardcover : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780062380852
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062380852
- Product Dimensions : 1.3 x 5 x 7.3 inches
- Publisher : Greenwillow Books (July 5, 2016)
- Reading level : 14 - 17 years
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0062380850
- Best Sellers Rank: #371,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I didn’t find the world building, or lack thereof, interesting. The quick lowdown on This Savage Song: There’s two dominant groups rivaling one another, Flynn (monster leader) and Harker (human leader). You had the usual oppressed versus the oppressor. And two teens caught in the middle, torn between fighting for what they thought was right versus what their families wanted and believed. Readers were told about this long endless war between the two factions but I never understood the why. It all seemed pointless. Or at least nothing I cared about. I honestly didn’t remember much about anything, the plot…and that in itself says it all.
Then there were the two main leads, who unfortunately were also lacking and unremarkable. When readers first met Kate she was in the process of burning down a church. Right off the bat, we’re shown this devil-may-care chick. I for one, am all about kick-ass lady characters…but Kate was just trying way, way too hard to get her dad’s attention. Exhibit A: Burning church. It was also tiresome to read about how much she wanted her dad’s approval and to be just like him. It became annoying and redundant. Kate would go around threatening people and making sure everyone knew who her dad is, that she was a Harker. It all got old fast. August, who happens to be one of the monsters in V-city is not really a monster at all. He takes no pleasure in feeding off people’s soul/emotions but it’s necessity. August also happened to be the complete opposite of Kate. He was quiet, observant, and non-confrontational. I don’t have much opinion on August. He was just a character pushing the story along. I neither liked or disliked him and in my opinion a pretty bland character.
If I can describe This Savage Song in one word, it would be underwhelming. I adore this author and I usually would auto-buy books from my favorite authors thinking I will love everything they write, but boy am I glad I didn’t buy the sequel. With that said, I won’t be finishing the duology. A lot of folks loved this book, and though it wasn’t for me, it may be for you. As always, check out a sample excerpt before purchase!
That was basically all I knew when I bought the book, and the premise definitely didn't disappoint.
The first hundred pages or so, I kind of had trouble getting into it. It was a weird situation because I loved the prose, I found the world building fascinating, and while I was reading I definitely enjoyed it. But for whatever reason once I put the book down, I had less motivation than usual to pick it up again.
Once I got past the first 100 or so pages, however, that quickly changed and I devoured the rest of the book in a few days.
THIS SAVAGE SONG is more than just a fascinating premise—it involves some of my favorite plot elements, like betrayal, dealing with your own darkness, unlikely alliances, and trying to find hope in a hopeless situation. I loved the whole set up with the different tiers of monsters, and Kate's daring, guarded perspective was really fun to read, especially alongside August's more vulnerable chapters.
All in all, I found this book fascinating, and now I'm very much looking forward to the sequel, OUR DARK DUET.
I was pretty excited to get into This Savage Song when I got through A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows. I waited too long to read those books (therefore missing out on ears of awareness that such a great series existed). So I wasn’t going to wait to read This Savage Song when I got my hands on it. This story is definitely a different beast than what I am used to with Schwab. I didn’t really know what to expect after reading the synopsis, only that I was in for a great read. If there is a consensus out there for her books, it’s that she has an amazing ability to make, as Ariadne from Inception would say it, pure creation.
Let me start out by saying that I absolutely love the character of August. If you see my ratting report above, then you are certainly aware. I love him to bits. Maybe not as much as I love Kell from Shades of Magic, but maybe more than I love Alucard or Rhy (which is saying A LOT). He hits me as this sort of anti-hero character and gets himself into a bigger fight than he was expecting. He has so much riding on his shoulders and in a world full of monsters where you too are a monster, all you want is to be human.
I’d like to point out that Schwab is the only person out there that can make monsters sound as equally terrifying as they are huggable and lovable. August is a Sunai, the rarest monster there is that seeks out those with malicious intentions who commit malicious acts. To keep himself out of the dark, he uses his violin and let me just say that I think this was one of the greatest moves on Schwab’s part. For some reason, I thought the instrument on the cover was a guitar (which I have no problem with), but when I had the realization it was a violin, I was ten times happier. There is this moment at the end of This Savage Song that August receives a new metal violin to replace his old wooden one. If there was ever a symbol of character growth and development, it was this. When I read that line about the metal violin, I had to stop and think about what this meant for August. He grows so much and that’s what I love about him. He wants to be part of the peace and be part of the solution, but there are so many things standing in his way that he has to face. I usually identify with the female characters, but in this case, I did with August. He loses so much in the process, but remains more human than most of the human characters. I really can’t wait to see what Schwab has in store for him in the next few books because he has A LOT that I want explored. He has some great potential.
It took me a while to warm up to Kate Harker. Though I will say that her metal tip nails did edge me to warm up a little faster. How badass are those? Nonetheless, she rubbed me the wrong way in the beginning, but I knew that I was conflicted about her. She’s one of those characters that has a skewed moral compass because she wants to prove she’s her father’s daughter. What’s problematic about that is Callum Harker’s got more on his agenda than good intentions. And wanting to live up to a man able to tame monsters and oppress people into obeying him is pretty bad, NGL. The more I got to to know and read about why she thinks/feels/acts the way that she does makes me like her more. The deeper I got into the story, the more she reminded me of Rachel Duncan from Orphan Black. And anyone who reminds me of Rachel Duncan is good in my book. They have so many similarities and even down to the sharp-cut blond hair, it all makes me wild. What makes her so complicated is whether or not I can ever trust her. Is she going to be a vigilante? Pursue the greater good? Or is she going to be ruled by a darker monster? I MUST KNOW.
I was told by my co-blogger, Kristen, that she wasn’t sure that I would like This Savage Song because she read somewhere that there wasn’t much romance (and I am a huge YA romance buff). But take heed if you are like me (but worse): this is no Romeo and Juliet story. This isn’t a love story. This is a story about two very different characters trying to fight their inner monsters and keeping the monsters outside from killing them and destroying everything else in their wake. If you want romance, you’re not going to get it here, but do not let that deter you from reading This Savage Song. In the absence of romance, there is so much more to take away. This book is so unique and will leave you thirst for more (which is a tortuous wait). Plus, it’ll have you singing a new tune, no matter how morbid. ;)
Top reviews from other countries
I really liked Kate and August, total opposites but both of them bad ass in their own way. Whilst Kate fights to be tough, August fights to stay calm and sane and both struggle throughout to be accepted for exactly who they are. Circumstances bring them together and the two come to depend on each other and after moving on from their initial cautiousness of each other they develop a very genuine friendship.
They care for each other, but as nothing more than friends and partners, in their struggle to stay alive and I really liked that there was no messy romance to get in the way. Instead they develop a friendship in which they genuinely care for and trust each other and it's a great foundation for whatever comes next with them.
Will they stay friends in book 2 or will it develop into something more? To be honest, I'd be happy either way and I'm excited to see were Schwab decides to take it.
"It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous."
I LOVED the monsters in Schwab's world and found the background to each one fascinating. Normally when we get monsters in a book then they have either developed from some weird infection or they have come from hell etc or a different world. The monsters in this book are born from violence, which each kind of act producing once of three different types of monster: Corsai, Machai and Sunai. I found it such a unique and interesting concept and I couldn't get enough of the information that Schwab gave us about each one.
"I mean, most people want to escape. Get out of their heads. Out of their lives. Stories are the easiest way to do that."
I really liked the whole city of Verity and the idea of the city being split between the North and the South with Kate and August's parents being the leaders of either side. With two totally different ways of life on either side of the barrier the truce between the two is extremely fragile. In the mist of all this is Kate and August's forbidden friendship and through the plays for power by the North and South the two become pawns in a very dangerous game.
"The beautiful thing about books was that anyone could open them."
I was excited but nervous to see how things were going to end up as the story built and built through the book. There were things I saw coming, but there were also some that I really didn't and the book produced a great mix of emotions within me which had me reeling right to the end of the book.
I loved the ending and it was very satisfying whilst still leaving it open for book 2. There is so much to look forward to in the next book and I can't wait for more monsters!
"It's a monster's world."
V.E. Schwab has only gone and done it again.
Here I was, in what I deem “not-quite-a-reading-slump-but-might-as-well-be-I’m-reading-so-slowly”, and I just knew. I KNEW I needed some V.E. Schwab to pull me out of it.
In the midst of this phase, while I was reading slower than usual, and preferring to pick up every other hobby I have over reading…this book hooked me and kept me trapped. And that was it.
My first new favourite of this year. I have nothing bad to say about this book, so if you’re wanting a critical review, I advise you look elsewhere. This is pure fangirling.
Only V.E. Schwab can win my heart through monsters and terror. Only V.E. Schwab can make me call a monster a precious cinnamon roll. Only V.E. Schwab can write characters like August and Kate, who are so complicated, three dimensional, real.
I have to admit I was slightly confused in the beginning. You know, that moment where you begin a new book, set in a new world, and you’re trying to catch a grip on whatever the hell is happening? When you’re not only trying to follow the main characters, but also trying to suss the main problem and get used to the world and its ways too. THAT. But I can assure you, it didn’t take me long to just roll with it, and everything soon clicked into place.
I found the story fascinating. A world full of monsters, created by violence, a city split in two in a form of territory war. The children of this war. Their backstories. Every single new tidbit of information revealed, I took up eagerly and added it to my amazement. And I can’t even explain why I loved it all so much. I just did.
Yes, this is one of THOSE reviews.
Lots of flailing. Not as much explaining.
The characters definitely do it for me. It’s always the characters. Because they have their faults, and yet they somehow become better characters for it. They’re all so different, yet work together so well in the story. And I don’t mean “work together” like they all start buddying up for the greater good. What I mean is… they have their roles, and even the personalities you think wouldn’t fit together – well, you’d be surprised.
I couldn’t rave about this book enough. I actually debated for so long about what to rate it. I read it too quickly to wholeheartedly obsess over it, like I do with her A Darker Shade of Magic series. But I kept thinking about it. Even days, weeks after, I’d find myself thinking about how much I love it. And that made all the difference between a 4.5 and a 5 full stars for me.
This Savage Song is the first book by Victoria Schwab that I've read, and what a starting point!Her writing is the perfect balance of dark and lyrical and accessible. She is a damned good writer!
So this book was touted as Romeo and Juliet, minus the romance, which is a pretty perfect description. August and Kate are far more likeable and lovable than R&J could ever hope to be though (particularly August, who is equal parts precious baby and bad-ass monster) and throughout the novel I felt myself getting more and more nervous for these two flawed but wonderful young people, because everyone knows what happens to Romeo and Juliet...
The first half I found a slow burn, we learn about the two leads, destructive & hard-nosed Kate and August, a 'special' type of monster; there's some loose world-building of a city and its environs. Nothing particularly grabbing or interesting going on, other than the existence of monsters (call me jaded) and we're constantly told that the city is barely holding onto a peace treaty between two factions holding half of the ground each.
The first part of the story also takes place mostly at a school -- something I'm immediately wary of given the propensity for cliche and tired tropes.
However, once the thing threads of the troubled city start to unravel and our two leads, at once enemies yet gradually more grateful allies, bound from various confrontations while helping each other move forward -- fortunately never devolving into romance along the way.
While there's obviously room left for sequels (which already exist), the denouement the story runs to (at pace) in the end I found really quite satisfying and don't feel especially obliged to read on.
I think though, that I might.
The two main characters are Katherine Harker and August Flynn, both children of opposing factions in V-city. Katherine’s father runs North City, where a tense understanding with the ‘monsters’ has lead to a rule where money can be exchanged for protection. Everyone under Harker’s protection gets a metal medallion, marking them as off limits for the monsters. August’s parents are in charge in South City where the FTF, some sort of security group, protect everyone as much as they can.
After the Phenomenon, which stays a very vague event throughout the book, monsters started to be born from the wrongdoings humans committed. The Corsai can best be described as some sort of zombies. They prefer the dark, can’t stand UV-light, smell like death and will not hesitate to tear you to pieces. The Malchai are a bit more sophisticated and have a closer resemblance to vampires. They are pale and cold, cunning and also don’t mind sinking their teeth in humans. Last of all there’s the Sunai. They are very rare and seem to be born out of especially violent events. There are only three and all of them have been adopted by the Flynns. As you might have guessed reading this, our August is one of these Sunai. Between South and North a shaky truce was established 7 years ago, but lately that truce has been crumbling and war is looming at the horizon.
I was very interested to find out more about this particular kind of ‘monster’ and August’s viewpoint was perfect to slowly but surely find out what they are, what they can do and how they deal with all of this. However, August’s character didn’t immediately win me over. At the start of the book he very much wants to be a part of the FTF, even though his parents forbid it. He seems to be quite jealous of his older brother, also a Sunai, who is the face of the FTF and is out there fighting the other monsters. He seemed to me a very petulant child, but luckily that changed quite quickly the longer we got to spend time with him. He eventually gets sent on a mission to keep an eye on Harker’s daughter Katherine at a school in the safer areas of V-city.
I liked Katherine from the start. She’s a very feisty girl struggling with the differences between the girl she’s supposed to be and the girl she actually is. With a father like Harker, she has to prove that she can be ruthless and strong. But deep down inside Katherine is still dealing with her mother’s death and the fact that she doesn’t want to be in the middle of this fight. Aside from her internal struggles though, she’s very efficient and remarkably clever.
Even though this post-apocalyptic world is very fascinating, it’s the more personal journeys of August and Katherine that really make this book stand out. Both have their own struggles in their life and even though August’s identity is hanging over them like a dark cloud, they find a connection that has so much potential that I was rooting for them the whole time. I don’t even mean this in a romantic sense, their chemistry as just two people connecting is so strong that I couldn’t help but be sucked into their story.
Another amazing book from Schwab’s hand and luckily only the first in a series! I can’t wait to read the second book and find out how Katherine and August are doing now.