Book Review: This Savage Song (SPOILER FREE)

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I’m back again with some YA spookiness for you all.

CORSAI, CORSAI, TOOTH AND CLAW

SHADOWN 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.

-Victoria Schwab

This was my first ever Victoria Schwab book!! I’ve definitely been meaning to pick her up, but you know how it is. So many books, so little time. Anyway, I will absolutely be reading more from her. Our story follows two teens in a semi-dystopian/alternate version of our own world. Some time after the Vietnam War ended, things took a darker tone here in America (I assume it’s just America? I actually don’t know for sure…). Whenever a violet act is committed against another, a monster is born. As the playground rhyme above tells us, there are three different types of monster. There are the Corsai, the Malchai (my favorite!), and the very rare, Sunai. One of the young leads is a guy named August, who happens to be a Sunai. August lives with his adoptive human family, the Flynn’s. He looks like an ordinary person, but he’s actually more like an angel of death in disguise. August longs to be “normal” and shuns his existence.

Our other main character is Kate Harker. She’s no monster; but she wishes she was. Her father is a ruthless, cunning, and powerful man. He rules over half of V-City, selling costly protection from the monsters who would rather be feasting on the citizens. The other portion of the city is Flynn territory. August’s father leads a military militia fighting the monsters free of charge to help keep the people safe, and the darkness at bay. You can see how these two are clearly on opposing sides, right?

Both start as the new kids in high school on the Harker side of things. Kate is trying to prove that she can live up to her family name. Meaning to be feared, to be brutal, and ultimately, to win her dad’s admiration. No one knows August’s true identity, and that he is attending as a spy. He’ll be watching Kate, and gathering information for his faction. It isn’t long before things start to go off the rails, and both Kate and August are thrown into the fray.

I realllllly liked this book, guys. Kate and August were both totally compelling characters to read with refreshing perspectives. The stakes felt higher than usual with these two kids. They’re both outcasts struggling to fit in, but not in the normal way you find in most YA horror books. Their problems are made even more unique by this hellish world they live in. I was really struck by the unique premise of this book, and I can’t really think of a plot device that comes close. If you can, tell me! I would love to read more stories like this. Needless to say, I look forward to the second half of this story arriving in June.

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