- Series: Monsters of Verity (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books (July 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062380850
- ISBN-13: 978-0062380852
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 318 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity) Hardcover – July 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In a dystopian future, evil deeds begin spawning three kinds of monsters who wreak havoc in human cities; Corsai are created by nonlethal violent acts, Malchai by murders, and Sunai from mass murders. This novel takes place in one such city, which is divided into two parts. Kate Harker's father rules one side by using the monsters as an army and selling protection to residents who can afford it. On the other side, the Flynn family strive to eliminate the Corsai and Malchai by utilizing the deadly talents of the three very rare Sunai who have become part of their family. When Kate returns to the city after being expelled from a slew of boarding schools, August, the newest Sunai, is sent undercover to her elite private school to keep an eye on her. However, the two become unlikely allies when August is framed for an attack that would threaten their fragile peace. This first installment in a planned two-book saga can be described as a postapocalyptic urban fantasy with a Romeo and Juliet theme. The plot unfolds very quickly, with more twists and turns than an average thriller. The budding romance between the main characters is predictable, but Kate and August both undergo an impressive amount of character development, and fans will like them despite their flaws. VERDICT 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.—Sunnie Scarpa, Wallingford Public Library, CT
“A violently thoughtful, brilliant triumph of a book that will blind you with its genius.” (Gaby Salpeter, Books of Wonder)
“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)
Top customer reviews
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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. ;)
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.
&, man oh man, did it take me on a ride.
You see, in the City of Verity there are two sides: North & South. On the North you have Harker, the ruler of that area; the man who makes his citizen's pay for his protection. On the South you have Flynn, who offers protection to those who work his organization, the FTF. Monsters room both parts of Verity, but the North side's allegedly safer due to Harker's protection.
It doesn't stop there.
Monsters now roam the Earth; not all of them like the ones going bump in the night. Corsai, are the typical monster that loves to wreck havoc and raw, vengeful murder. The Malchai are semi-human looking demons who are smarter than the Corsai, but infinitely cunning & evil. The Sunai, have a human appearance. The one thing they have in common is the term "monster", but they aren't the same.
August's a Sunai; a monster that feeds on souls. That sounds bad, right? But in reality, all August does to get a new soul is play his custom song on his violin, see if the person's soul glows white or red (red means the person has sinned, taken a life unjustly) , listens to them confess their sins, & then sucks the soul into his own body. He can only feed on those with sin; that is, unless he goes dark--which is when he goes so long without a feeding on his soul that he loses everything that makes him human, & then eats whatever comes around him; sinner or not.
Kate's the daughter of the North side's leader, Callum Harker. She's lived a life far away from her father, but her ambition is to prove herself worthy of his blood; his love & attention. She knows about the monsters, but doesn't really understand what's at stake in Verity when she accidentally falls in love with one of them. She's stubborn & head strong; smart & filled with common sense. In a world, she's a Katniss Everdeen in a literary world of Bella Swans.
The minor characters in this book are very well done, minus August's parent's: Henry & Emily. Callum, Sloan (a Malchai), & Leo (August's brother) make very interesting antagonists, while I fell in love with Isla (August's sister) & Allegro (a cat August adopts). We see who they are, what they are, & what they hope to be. We see the nature of the Malchai's & the Corsai's; we see so many things about human nature, so many things about ourselves.
This book held me from the first page until the very end. When I first started I was a little concerned, like I said above, but quickly this book unfolded & revealed a beautiful story. A story of hard decisions, hard questions about who monsters really are (& if some monsters are men and vice versa), along with how our choices define who we really are. This book's a gem; a book I will cherish forever.
In a word, it was perfect.
Most recent customer reviews
Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters.Read more