Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab


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.



This Savage Song is an enjoyable urban fantasy that takes place in a world where monsters roam the world. In the city of Verity, the people are split into two groups- those who pay for their protection and those who fight for it. These monsters are quite literally the personification of violence that has bred in the world. The more heinous acts of violence result in the more dangerous monsters. There are three types of monsters introduces to us in this book: the Corsai, Malchai and Sunai. They all are slightly different, but we quickly learn that the Sunai are the most rare and can steal your soul by simply playing music. This book is dark, haunting and overall, very enjoyable. I am absolutely looking forward to the second installment. However, the overall story line felt kind of generic to me. It had plenty of twists and turns, and while I enjoyed them, I was never truly blown away. Very enjoyable, but overall not that memorable for me.

“Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.”
“Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul.”

We have two main characters in This Savage Song, both on opposite sides of the fight. Kate Harker wants to be like her father, cold and ruthless. Her father runs half of the city of Verity, asking people to pay for their protection from these monsters. He also has some of these monsters in his employment, and he brands their skin to show their loyalty. I understand why Kate wants to please her father and he is also the only family she has left. While her behavior was often extreme, it made sense with her overall character development. On the other side of the conflict we have August Flynn. Sweet, misunderstood August Flynn who also happens to be a Sunai, arguably the most dangerous of all monsters. August doesn’t want to be a monster, but he does need the souls of other sinners to sustain him. After a series of events causes Kate and August’s paths to collide the story continues with action-packed scenes and important lessons about friendship, acceptance and revelations about what truly makes us a monster. 

One aspect of this book that I really appreciated was how Schwab used music. I wish I could hear the music that August plays when he is stealing souls because I imagined it to be haunting, beautiful and downright creepy. The incorporation of music and lyrical rhymes added a refreshing quality to this otherwise relatively generic story.

How was this story generic for me? The setting was in a apocalyptic-type world with corrupt leaders. These characters on opposite sides of the conflict eventually find each other and come to an understanding to rebel against the conflict. Kate was also relatively one-dimensional for me. She was angry, violent and eventually realizes that her life is not what she thought it was. I liked August and his Sunai family. I like how he often struggles with his morals. I enjoyed watching the friendship develop between the two. I don’t know what it was exactly, but it was just missing a spark. I finished the book and thought, “Oh, that was good,” and then moved right on to the next book. No lasting thoughts or impressions.

So yes, I really really enjoyed some aspects of this story. It was fun, dark and exciting. Some questions were left unanswered, and yes I want to know the answers! But I think I will be just fine waiting until the next book comes out. Yes, I recommend this book if you are looking for a fun, and sometimes creepy urban fantasy. Its great if you are new to the genre but if you are like me and have read an abundance of fantasy books, the story line might come across as a bit generic. 




13 thoughts on “Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab”

    1. Thanks!! It was an enjoyable book, even dark and creepy at times, which I loved. I can’t pinpoint everything I didn’t love about it..but I finished it and though “ok, what’s next?” It just didn’t really stick with me, you know? I feel like I’ve read enough YA fantasy that sometimes books like this start to all feel very similar! I do hope you enjoy it though.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nice honest review, Alex! I like it! 🙌 I’ve had this book since the summer, and I haven’t been dying to read it. One dimensional characters? Ugh, I’ve read so many of them lately I can’t stand it anymore. 😂 I appreciate the truth about this book. I haven’t seen any reviews below 4 or 5 stars and I knew something had to be up with that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jill! This book was good..just not that memorable. I didn’t feel like raving about it afterwards like I do with other reads. I’ve just read some great books lately and this one had some tough competition! That being said, it wasn’t bad at all and I really did enjoy some parts of it. I’m curious to see what you think of it once you read it.


  2. I’ve had this book since it came out but I just haven’t been in the mood to pick it up. I knew there was a reason that I kept passing it over to read something else. I totally agree about dystopian books starting to get very similar the worlds are. Great review! I’m so glad to see someone who didn’t just love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I’ve just read so many dystopian YA books by now that I feel like I’m a bit harder to impress in that genre. It was definitely good, but I just didn’t feel like telling everyone about it when I finished, you know? If someone is new to the genre I think they would really enjoy it. I am still looking forward to reading more Victoria Schwab though!

      Liked by 1 person

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