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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 acclaimed 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, 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.
©2016 Victoria Schwab (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By PapaFrer on 07-20-16

Another triumph

After a slow beginning (about the first hour), the story coalesced and VS wound together terrific characters in a darker than expected tale.

I look forward to the next installment, although this book more than stands on its own.

Highly recommend but steer toward later teens +

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Tammy Zarhi on 03-13-18

This book made me continue my audible membership!!

Would you consider the audio edition of This Savage Song to be better than the print version?

The General:
Let me start off by just saying that 'The Monsters of Verity' series is now my favorite duology. I'm actually going to get a copy of both books so i can display them on my favorites shelf. The premise itself is good. A city filled to the brim of toothy monsters that has been split down the middle between a mafia group and freedom fighters make for a wonderful backdrop.

The plot line pulls its weight and flows fairly well for a book told between two perspectives. I never felt like i was lagging behind on the story when the characters switched. Both perspectives felt well done and alternated at decent times so i never felt frustrated when it happened, or valued one perspective above another. And the writing itself is superb. It knows when to be dark and gritty. Or when to be sweet and solemn.
Sometimes it's blunt and straightforward while others it almost feels like your listening to poetry. A melody. Or a Savage Song, if you will.

However its the two main characters that really make this book shine. August and Kate have distinct and interesting personalities that reverberate wonderfully off of one another. And Plummer does an excellent job of bringing them to life in this audiobook.

Because there is a lot of world building to be done and the book is heavily character oriented the actual hardcore action (aka: the running and screaming) trickles in slowly. Its there, but it takes time to build up. So if your a reader who likes constant action then you might find this book to a be a bit too tame at first. However if you like more of a middle ground between world/character building and the action then this book will captivate you enough to keep those metaphorical pages flying.

Overall i'd give this book a 5/5 and i would recommend this to anyone who like good writing, interesting contemporary fantasy worlds, and excellent characters.
And that's all for the general spoiler free section of this review. Down below i'll talk in depth about my favorite aspects of the book, as well as some of the less desirable parts. Each section will be marked on the amount/severity of spoilers just in case someone actually reads this review and doesn't want to get bombarded with major plot. I hope you all enjoyed this book as much as i did.


The hook to this book is easily main characters. And Kate Harker is a savage; sharp in wit and tongue. She has a very devil may care attitude about many things. And because of this she is quick to burn down whatever obstacles are in the way- even if it means a steeper consequence later. She is also willing to commit a number of crimes or turn to violence when she feels that breaking a skull or a lock is the quickest way to get what he wants. Despite this though Kate has a fairly clear moral code, and a secretly good heart that she is constantly trying to mediate with her actions. Kate is also an emotionally complex character who often wonders what her life would be like if she didn't live in a city full of monsters or have a father who ran a mafia. And while her actions may come off as brash they are understandable- from her perspective- and never just outright stupid. This all melds together to make an aggressive, capricious character who is still morally decent and interesting enough to enjoy and relate to.

And this makes it all the better when Kate' personality begins to ping off of the second main characters, August.

August Flynn is an equally amazing character. Which i am happy to say because i initially thought his character premise (a monster boy who wanted to be human) was a bit cheesy. And i was worried August was going to feel too bland, too meek, or just plain over the top. However Schwab took this trope, molded it, and ran a hundred miles with it in her arms just to prove me wrong. August is still very much a soft spoken, starry eyed boy. But at the same time he feels surprisingly grounded and stubborn. And although he longs to feel more human he never kids himself about the duality of human nature. August even has a bit of a temper when pressed and throws out the odd sarcastic remark when he's feeling extra saucy.

August's calmer personality rounds out Kate's rough corners. And his heightened sense of morality keeps Kate's from becoming overly blurry at times. In return Kate's fiery drive pushes August into taking more risks and making a stand in situations that he would be more inclined to shy away from. And although there is some minor push and pull between the two; never once did it feel like their differences hindered or slowed down the story. If anything it was a driving force to push the plot forward. (Which is great because i hate being stuck on idle while characters try to get their shit together.) All in all it was the perfect ping.

As for the audio, Therese Plummer did an amazing job of breathing life into these characters. Before i listened to the actually book i watched a review that stated while Plummer did a great job narrating the story by herself they did wish it had a second male narrator to bring more variation between the two perspectives of the book. I wholeheartedly disagree. She made a great Kate. And the deep but high ended voice felt absolutely perfect for August. I said in my headline that this story made me want to keep my gold membership for audible. And Therese Plummer is the reason for it. (It killed me that i only found a few contemporary fantasy books on her list.) If i can find more authors who manage to pull the characters off the pages like she does then it will be worth it.

For all my praises This Savage Song is not perfect. (Nothing really is.) And i felt there was a few areas that could use improvement.

The first being the monsters themselves. The Corsai were brutal and interesting. But they rarely ever appeared in this book. And since they were contained to the shadows the few times they did pop up were fairly tame. The Malchai, and their leader Sloan, where the main antagonists. They're essentially just over glorified vampires. And their similar personalities (as well as their boring end goal to overthrow the people of Verity) made for very bland villains. I found myself rooting for Sloan's death, not because he was evil and needed to be stopped, but because he was boring and i wanted him out of the way.

Overall i felt the monsters would have been better if they differed more in design and personality. And if they, as a whole, collectively proved to be more of a threat instead of just an underlying hazard. I also feel like Sloan should been switched with Leo (August's older brother.) Although Leo was a minor character that bastards fanatically righteous attitude made him more interesting and villainous than Sloan could ever hope to be.

The fact that Sloan hadn't actually died at the end irked greatly. The whole 'Dead, but not really' villain trope is really annoying and uncreative in my opinion. And it was made ten times worse that it was used on the most boring character in the book.


And that's all i really have to say. For this book at least. I will write another review for the sequel Our Dark Duet. But that is a whole new book, and a whole new ballgame so it may be a few days before that's up. But hey, if someone actually got this far into this obnoxiously long review then i hope you found it useful. And happy reading.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Kate Harker. August is a wonderful character by himself, but Kate is the gas in the tank that even allows this journey to start rolling down to road. Nothing would have happened without her.

Which character – as performed by Therese Plummer – was your favorite?

August Flynn. Although Kate is my favorite character Therese brought August to life for me in a way i dont think would be possible if i were to simply read to book by myself. The voice she infused with his character- somber and low, yet defiant and hopeful- was just perfection to me.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes. And i nearly did. It took me four days to complete both This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet. And i would have finished them sooner if i didnt have work and other things i needed to get done which pulled me away for a time.

Any additional comments?

No. Stop wasting time and get the book.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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