Before reading this book, the only Schwab books I’ve read is her Shades of Magic series, which I absolutely adored and definitely need to reread this year. After reading This Savage Song I can say with great certainty that Schwab is now definitely one of my favorite authors!
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.
I ended up listening to this one on audio, and I think that is really the way to go with this book! I loved that you actually got a tune for the little nursery rhyme, which still gets stuck in my head –Sunai, sunai, eyes like coal. Sing a song and steal your soul- It’s just so catchy! So much so that I ended up defacing my physical copy to include that quote on the front, which you will be able to see in an upcoming blog post about my defaced books!
I loved how this was a mix of dystopian and fantasy, mainly because the fantasy element was what really kept me going as I’m not really a fan of dystopian. The way that these monsters manifest was really interesting as well! They are created from the violence of humans, and there are three types depending on the violent act committed. Sunai are the rarest of the monsters and are created from unspeakably horrible acts of violence, like mass shootings and the like. Each type of monster was well written and well thought out!
The way that Schwab entwined these monsters with a dystopian world was just so interesting, and having started Our Dark Duet, I can say that this element only gets better as you go.
Another thing I absolutely loved were Kate and August. I love how they put on this brave face but show their real side to each other. Their interactions were so fun to listen to, and the narrators voices for each character felt like they were really that character, unlike how some audio books don’t change the accent/voice for each character.
I didn’t find the beginning hard to get through or understand as I’ve seen a few reviews say it was, but it’s also quite possible that my love of extremely complex fantasy worlds helped me to understand and pick up on this world a little quicker.
I ended up finishing this book on audio in two days, which is quite insane considering I almost never get a chance to listen to audio books.
I highly recommend this book to any fantasy lovers, and especially anyone who has been looking to read any of Schwab’s works but hasn’t yet, or those of you who have started but haven’t read this duology!