by Victoria Schwab
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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 Schwab, a 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.
So. This Savage Song. Rarely a novel created so many divergent reactions in my feed. If the fact that opinions differ doesn’t strike me as unusual – suffice it to take a look at most romance novels’ pages to see radically different ratings – it still contributed to my confusion before reading because mixing most of them would lead to a hell of an oxymoron.
The world-building is fantastic and original, but generic.
The characters are well-rounded and complex, but rather dull and one-dimensional.
It was unputdownable. It was so fucking boring.
It lacked romance. Thanks god there’s no romance.
I very much enjoyed reading all these interesting and well-thought reviews – and I am not being ironic – yet my questions started piling up with increasing speed : so, what? Would This Savage Song be the first novel from Victoria Schwab that would leave me indifferent? Should I lower my expectations? Would I like, would I like, would I like?
But then I thought : Anna, these reviews aren’t about you. Such a tiny thing, this. So easily forgotten. As much as we start noticing similarities between our tastes and particular reviewers’ over the years, their reviews are never, ever, about ourselves. How could they?
I guess that’s why it baffles me so much when I see people leaving hmm, let’s say, tactless comments on reviews they don’t agree with. Sure, sometimes we can’t change the facts. Does the MC cheat? Is there consent? (because yes, I’m one of these people who think that there’s nothing grey or “blurred” about consent) But most of the words written in a review are opinions and are linked to so many factors : the number of books read in that genre, the personal tastes, the current mood, etc, etc.
We can organize our reviews all we want, use bullet points or dialectical reasoning, who cares, it doesn’t change a thing (or ramble before even talking about the book itself, I know, I know, the irony isn’t left on me).
In the end, sometimes our opinion will only revolve around the chemistry we share with a particular author and her work. This is where I stand when Victoria Schwab is concerned.
✔ As usual with Victoria Schwab‘s novels, I was fascinated by the concept and the writing managed (without forcing, it seems) to tug at my heartstrings at the most random moments.
✘ ✔ The pacing didn’t suit me during the first 50%, my read was interspersed by at least 10 minutes of rest every few chapters, but once the second half started, the story captivated me so much that I forgot everything that wasn’t August (yes. I am playing favorites) – it started with a whimper, ended with a bang? How fitting.
✔ Verity’s monsters were as disturbing as engrossing to read about, and the darkness lurking enveloped me completely.
“Be careful, parents told their children, be good, or the Corsai will come, but the truth was the Corsai didn’t care if you were careful or good. They swam in darkness and fed on fear, their bodies sick, distended shapes that looked human only if you caught them out of the corner of your eye.”
✘ The somewhat dystopian settings made me think that really, I’m not sure we need to read about a umpteenth version of the decaying United States. I’d rather go somewhere else next time. Really. Please think about it.
✘ ✔ I would say that the characters are pretty generic and trope-ish, because this is what my mind was screaming at first, but I cannot dismiss the fact that they made me care and snort and bite my nails and feel. They left me craving for more. Perhaps Victoria Schwab used an old mold to craft her characters, it doesn’t change the fact that they genuinely interested me and that I, for one, enjoyed their dynamics a lot.
Also, I really have a thing for male leads who sob and whisper. I KNOW. THIS IS RIDICULOUS. But THIS IS WHO I AM. It only works in books, though. Weird how attraction works, ha. In real life I would probably say something along the lines of, [frowns] why the hell are you whispering?! Because of course. Kill Mood Is Me.
“This was the opposite of peace. He felt alive – so alive – but tarnished, his sense screaming and his head a tangle of dark thoughts and feelings and power, and he was drowning and shivering and burning alive.”
► My review, it seems, is everything but helpful. This being said, given the huge fanbase Victoria Schwab has – which she deserves, as far as I’m concerned – I know that my review will hardly change anything in your decision. Read it, don’t read it. One thing is sure : your review will be unique and genuinely interesting to me.