Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publication Date: Greenwillow Books
Publisher: Scholastic Books
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
“It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.”
I adored this book COMPLETELY. This novel might be a slow burn but I was drawn in right from the start and never felt a moment of boredom.
I was interested in This Savage Song from the get-go. I hadn’t read Schwab yet but this was the one I knew I wanted to start with. What piqued my interest? The fact that this book was being marketed as a YA Fantasy, with NO romance. Nope, not even a drop. We have two protagonists of the opposite sex and they aren’t being set up for some big epic romance. That is so refreshing. Don’t get me wrong. I love a great romantic YA tale, but sometimes you just want a little variety. Schwab managed to pull off the friendship very well.
This book is a dual POV and our main protagonists are, Kate and August. August lives in very bleak world. He also happens to be a monster, in the literal sense. He is built to kill – only one problem. He doesn’t want to be a monster – yep, it’s not an uncommon trope but I happen to really love this one so I’m not mad. In order to stay alive, August MUST kill. How does August do this exactly? Well, he plays the violin. Say whaaatt?!?!? Yep, he plays the violin and basically lulls them into death. He’s a vigilante in many senses since he does not prey on the innocent. If you happen to have led a life of crime then you just might get a visit from August and his family. Let this be a lesson to us all! If you hear violins, RUN!
Then we have Kate. Kate is not literally a monster, but unlike August, she desperately wants to be. Her father, Harker, happens to be the ultimate crime lord and has immense power and money. Kate is desperate to please her crime-lord father, at any means necessary. This has made her cold, ruthless and feared. I actually still loved her personality. She was sassy, sarcastic and wanna-be deadly. Great combination! One of Kate’s biggest problems is deep down she actually does have a heart and she can be reasoned with. She’s struggling to shut down any warmth about her at all so she can take after her father and gain his approval. It’s honestly pretty sad to watch.
August is given the task to follow Kate around at the school they go to. I don’t want to go into this too much because it’s much more fun to watch it unfold for yourself. Eventually they do partner up and form a kind of friendship but how and why is something you will have to find out for yourself.
We have some pretty cool side characters. My favorite being August’s sister, Ilsa, she’s a ball of insane fun. This girl is completely bonkers. I would be some serious money that the author is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. I don’t believe for a second that Ilsa’s character being almost the spitting image of Buffy baddie Drusilla is a mere coincidence. I mean, it didn’t matter about the description of this character. All I could see was Dru. I saw a couple other people caught this and mentioned in their reviews. It was actually pretty fun reading about her since Buffy happens to be my all-time favorite series.
Are there any negatives about this story? Most definitely yes. I gave this five stars because I loved it despite these flaws but flaws there were. First, August’s brother Leo was a little too cliche for my liking. I didn’t particularly enjoy reading about him but I thought he was way too one-dimensional. BORING. The world building wasn’t completely clear at first. Eventually stuff came together more and more but it wasn’t the strongest point in this novel. Probably my biggest issue with this book was near the end. There is a twist but I saw the twist coming from a mile away – figured it out almost immediately in the book – and it just fell a bit flat for me. It had great potential but I wish the author would’ve taken it further and thrown in something really unexpected. It could’ve been epic and the reveal was just *shrug* to me. It didn’t bother me enough to knock it down a star but I was disappointed.
The very ending was a great and a little confusing ending. Confused in a good way though. I have no clue what is going to happen or what it all means but I’m alllll in. Our Dark Duet is coming on June 11, 2017 and I have my copy pre-ordered. Can’t wait to have it in my pretty little hands.
I most certainly recommend this book. Don’t expect your typical YA novel with this one and it is a slow burn. If either of those things don’t appeal to you then it’s likely not the book for you. It was very refreshing to see a solid friendship between a male and female lead come to be without sexual tension through-out. I hope the author keeps it that way.