Review: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab

Published by Greenwillow Books on July 5, 2016

Genres: Fantasy / Pages: 427

Format: Book / Source: Library

Rating: 5 stars

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An ingenious, magical, musical book that I could not put down!! This is one book you DON’T WANT TO MISS!!*


Publisher’s summary:

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 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.

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.


The main characters

All Kate Harper wants is to make her gangster dad proud by being strong, ruthless, and lethal. After setting fire to a chapel (with the sole purpose of getting kicked out of another school), she finally gets her wish and is brought back to Verity where her dad rules the north half of the city with an IRON FIST. Somehow he has made the Corsai and Malchai obey him, so he can extort money out of the populace for “protection” from them. There’s an AWESOME nursery rhyme explaining the different types of monsters (p. 23):

Monsters, monsters, big and small

They’re gonna come and eat you all.

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.

Monsters, monsters, big and small,

They’re gonna come and eat you all!

Unlike her papa bear though, Kate has a conscience that she tries (unsuccessfully) to silence when she finds out August is a Sunai – the ONLY monster not loyal to her daddy-kins.

this-savage-song-2August Flynn is one of three Sunai in Verity and allied with Harker Flynn, leader of South City and the Flynn Task Force. Unlike Kate’s papa dearest, the Flynn’s don’t control the monsters – they focus on eliminating them. The Sunai are Flynn’s special “weapons” and they try to keep information on them hush hush (North City doesn’t even know what August looks like) – so he is perfect to go undercover at Kate’s new school in case they need to kidnap her. AUGUST NEEDS ALL THE HUGS AND SNUGGLES GUYS!!! – he HATES being a monster and dreams of being human. He fights against his hunger, but not feeding turns Sunai into killing bombs of death – the exact OPPOSITE of what he WANTS to be. #seriouslyallofthefandomfeels

Ilsa and Leo are the two other Sunai and are as different from August as jellyfish are to dragons. Isla reminded me a LOT of Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter – she seems to know all the things, but acts a little odd with lots of adorable quirks. Alongside August and Kate, Ilsa was one of my favorite characters, but she still remains a bit of an enigma – she needs ALL OF THE HOT CHOCOLATE AND STUFFED ANIMALS because bad things go down for her in this book AND IT IS NOT OKAY!!! Leo on the other hand has no problem being a killing machine and leading the FTF (Flynn Task Force). He’s the public face for the Flynn’s Sunai and enjoys turning into a killing bomb of death. -> * builds fictional fence so he cannot come near *

this-savage-song-3The good stuff

  • ALL OF THE FEELS!!!!!! I love or hate the characters from this book with the burning passion of a dragon protecting its’ hoard of pretties. * states the obvious * Even though I generally hate Romeo & Juliet (which this starts off seeming to be a re-telling of, but it is NOT), Schwab still pulled me in right away with how she introduced each of the characters.
  • The monsters – while Malchai are reminiscent of vampires, all of Schwab’s monsters have strengths and limitations. August can only steal people’s souls while playing a certain song on his violin (-> violin/classical music in books is UNDERRATED AND I NEED MORE BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME!!!!). Corsai can be kept back by light, even at night. The method for creating these monsters was also ingenious and scary – an evil action, like killing someone, spawns a monster – the more evil, the scarier the monster. For example, when August gets really hungry, he hears gunshots in his head referring back to the event that created him.
  • Schwab’s writing — I shall use quotes because my brain is still fangirling on August and I CAN’T WORDS!

p. xxi – “He closed his eyes, seeking peace, but as soon as the silence settled it was broken, the distant stutter of gunfire echoing against his skull as it always did – the sound invading every quiet moment.

It began with a bang.”


p. 64 – “She gestured to the patch of pavement, the border of grass. ‘What brings you to my office?’

He looked around, confused, as if he’d actually intruded. Then he looked up and said, ‘The view.’

Kate flashed a crooked grin. ‘Oh really?’

His face went red. ‘I didn’t mean you,’ he said quickly. ‘I was talking about the trees.’

‘Wow,’ she said dryly. ‘Thanks. How am I supposed to compete with pine and oak?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Freddie, cocking his head. Stray dog again. ‘They’re pretty great.’”

The bad stuff

  • The sequel isn’t out yet? Yep, that’s a bad thing.
  • I ALMOST didn’t pick up this book because of the cover, but Cait @ Paper Fury’s review had me running to pick it up FOR GOOD REASON!!!!!

Let’s Talk!

Do you love August/Kate/Ilsa/Leo * shudder */anyone else from this book?? What books give you ALL OF THE FEELS??


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Great review, Becca! didn’t love this book as much as I love Schwab’s other works, but I still LOVED the world-building. The whole concept of the monsters was one of the best things I’ve ever read about and it was just super intriguing – I’m forever in awe of how she thought of these ideas. And I knoooow, the sequel’s still so far away. Have you read ADSOM or Vicious? 💕


    1. Becca says:

      My evil blog commenting trolls hijacked your comment and I just found it! The monsters and world building in TSS is so EPIC and DELICIOUS!! I agree, her ideas are so insanely ingenious and intriguing! (<-totally unintentional alliteration *pats self on back*) I want the sequel so MUCH. I'm really curious as to what is going on in the other cities – it was surprisingly geographically focused for a fantasy/dystopian! And I really enjoyed ADSOM, but seriously need to find a copy of Vicious ASAP! Which is your favorite Schwab??


      1. No worries, Becca! I think it was actually Akismet – it wasn’t just your blog that was hijacking my comments, others as well. Hopefully it won’t happen again. 😫

        My favourite Schwab is probably Vicious in terms of storytelling (though I am REALLY FOND of the Shades of Magic series for world-building). Vicious for me was just PURE AWESOME – the writing was so tight, the plot moves really fast, and I fell in love with it from the first page. Definitely gave me the feels too. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Becca says:

        You’re the fourth or fifth person who has LOVED Vicious and recommended it to me this week! I feel like I need to abandon my TBR in favor of that book ASAP 😀 And it happened to 4 or 5 comments from other people too (most who like you, had been pre-approved to automatically post?) so I’m still going with my trolls. I’ll have to keep a closer eye on them. 😉


      3. That’s because it was GOOOOD. It’s like a movie happening in my head!

        Aww, that’s annoying. Yeah, I usually check out my spam folder every few days or so – it happens quite often. 😫


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