Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review: This Savage Song

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)
Published By: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Page Count: 464
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal

Verity is a region in a futuristic United States that vaguely resembles the county we know. The region and territories have different names as states no longer exist. Many of these areas have suffered terribly, but Verity is perhaps the most feared locale due to its rising number of monsters. Victoria Schwab has borrowed from past monsters and myths to create her own monster breed that are both terrifying and haunting. I shuddered thinking of how life would be if such beings existed. Monsters in Schwab's world are created after acts of violence. The Corsai are beings made of shadow that feed on human flesh. The Malchai are vampiric sorts that drink blood to survive. Lastly, the most rare form is the Sunai who feed on the souls of those who have committed murder and heinous violent acts. The Sunai are by far the most feared and powerful beings as their existence stems from large scale tragedies such as bombings and mass shootings.

The story opens with August Flynn, a young Sunai who lives in the compound belonging to his adopted father. August longs to leave the safety and security of the compound, but Verity is on the brink of civil war. The opposition led by Harker would do anything to get their hands on a Sunai as they all belong to the Flynn camp. August's identity has remained a secret, but things change when his older brother, Leo, another Sunai and military leader, gives him a mission. August is to attend a prestigious local school and observe Kate Harker, the daughter of the infamous leader of the opposing force in Verity. I was drawn to August from his first appearance and remained firmly on his side throughout the novel. There is something compelling about a monster who only wants to be human. August does not want to give into the violent side of himself and hates feeding on souls - even though he only takes from those who have harmed others. While August is nothing like Edward Cullen, I did find myself reminiscing slightly as Edward also strives to be as human as possible.

Kate's story is also told through the dual narration style. Kate is returning to Verity as the novel begins after several stints at various boarding schools. Her father has kept her at arms length since she was a child, but Kate is unsure of whether this is because he is trying to protect her or avoid her. After she burns down a chapel at school, she is shipped back to Verity. Kate longs to prove to her father that she can be just as ruthless as him. Her goal is to find the Sunai and deliver them at her father's feet. Kate was much harder for me to like than August. I did eventually warm up to her, but I found her to be a less sympathetic character.

Kate and August find themselves running into one another at school more often than not. This connection will lead them into some dangerous adventures as they seek to unravel a sinister plot that is intent on pushing the two sides of Verity into all at war and unleashing the monsters on the human population.

One Last Gripe: I had some trouble settling into this world and keeping all the monsters straight in the beginning. 

Favorite Thing About This Book: Creative setting and supernatural elements

First Sentence: The night Kate Harker decided to burn down the school chapel, she wasn't angry or drunk.

Favorite Character: August

Least Favorite Character: Sloan

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed 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, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.

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. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.

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