Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city, a grisly metropolis where the violence has begun to create real and deadly monsters.
All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets monsters roam free and makes the inhabitants pay for his protection. August just wants to be human, as good-hearted as his own father – but his curse is to be what the humans fear. The thin truce that keeps the Harker and Flynn families at peace is crumbling, and an assassination attempt forces Kate and August into a tenuous alliance. But how long will they survive in a city where no one is safe and monsters are real…
Genre: YA Fantasy; Science Fiction – Dystopia
Page count: 411
Rating: Taking only ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of Ilsa’s so many and putting them here
„Plenty of humans are monstrous and plenty of monsters know how to play at being human.”
The synopsis of the book made me feel like I am being held in a winery basement listening to a dark classical orchestra while in dystopian times and I am not complaining.
How is even possible for me to finish a book with 400+ pages within three and a half days beats me, but here I am, my brain and heart still numb from everything that happened to them throughout this book.
This Savage Song is the first book of Victoria Schwab’s duology, Monsters of Verity. Probably, I would’ve picked this book up by some point in life and read it, but if it wasn’t for the book club I am part of, probably it would’ve been much later in my life. I would’ve done a huge mistake.
The concept of the book came to me like a slap on my cheek – I wasn’t expecting any of that. Now I understand why there are so many humans obsessed with Schwab’s works. I get you, people. I get you. It’s okay. I am part of you now. Let us suffer the beauty of Schwab’s mind together.
What is there to like about this book?
Maybe someone at some point asked that.
Well, what is not to, like, amirite?
The book is so messy and packed with action that I just have to admit that I still didn’t understand it properly, but that didn’t stop me from actually loving it, which is such a hypocrite thing to say, but after all, we don’t understand life either, but we’re still living it to the fullest every day, even if we like it or not.
Now, agreeing that I didn’t understand the book, but I loved it to the fullest, which is a stupid concept but you’ll pardon me for that, let’s get to the part where I explain to you what I felt about it. What got to me.
The time is unknown. The world is dystopian. The setting is broken. The people are broken. The monsters are out there to get you…wait, what? Monsters, did you say?
Yes. Monsters I did say.
This world Ms Schwab has created is full of monsters. Monsters born from dark deeds of the humankind.
„Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They’re gonna come and eat us all!”
There are three types of monsters in this world created within the borderlines of Verity:
- Corsai – The creatures of the dark, created from violent acts, the ones that feed on flesh and bones;
„Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.”
- Malchai – The creatures that resemble the vampires, drinking blood in order to feed themselves, created from murderous acts;
„Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.”
- Sunai – The creatures who fed on the souls of the sinners (aka the ones who harm and kill and create the other monsters) and created from catastrophic acts (like bombing or mass suicide).
„Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal
Sing you a song and steal your soul.”
Those three species of monsters hate each other and want nothing to do with one another. But this is not always up to them.
The V-City is divided into two sides – the North City and the South City, separated by a truce line called the Seam, each part ruled by another family – in the North, there is Harker; in the South, there is Flynn.
I liked the way the two rulers were presented – Callum Harker as a true cult leader, cold and ruthless, insensitive, a Godfather in dystopia, and Henry Flynn as a leader of the people, trying to help, trying to prevent, being there to protect, not to attack; kind-hearted and somehow vulnerable.
The main characters of the book are the children of the two leaders – Kate Harker, a girl who suffered so much in order to find her own way and August Flynn, one of the only three Sunai monsters of the Flynn family.
See, there is the catch. In order to keep the truce, Harker and Flynn allied with the monsters in the city: the Corsai and the Malchai were on Harker’s side, while Flynn had the most dangerous weapon – his three Sunai: Leo, Ilsa and August.
There is a whole story about how Kate and August meet and blah. I am not going to talk about that; there’s everything you need to know about that in the book. Instead, I would like to dissect the characters of Kate and August just a bit. And their beautiful friendship.
”I don’t want to be a monster”
”You’re not,” she said, the words automatic, but as she said it, Kate realised that she believed it, too.
I don’t know and don’t care, but I love Kate and somehow I relate to her badass self, not that I am any of that, but because I also tend to be a bit rude sometimes.
She’s just tired of running. She only wants to have a home of her own, but she is constantly the target of her father’s actions, actions that follow her wherever she goes. She wants her father to be proud of her. She wants to be the kind of daughter he’ll leave his crown to. She wants to be worthy of her father’s attention. But she’s just a broken girl, broken by her own father, the only person left in her life.
What I love most about Kate is her determination to fight until the last breath and her bright mind, restless and ready any time to make connections. She’s a fierce girl, but craving for a soul to be around to, to accept her and tell her she’s enough. She can be confident, but she’s so broken that she only needs someone to reassure her of that. And that someone is August Flynn.
I love all the Flynns,
I really do (minus Leo, he’s a bully),
especially Ilsa whom I still wish to
be my sister and care for me and be good to me.
But August Flynn is a weird boy. Maybe because he is not a boy, he’s a monster, but apart from his habit of feeding himself out of sinful souls, to me, he is very human. He’s a thinker. He’s a loner. He’s so weird that he is sweet. But he is strong and he is good and wants to do only good, but the fact that he is what he is, does not always come easy to him.
The connection with Kate is almost instant. They pass good to each other, even though they are, hypotetically, on different sides of the barricade. The idea is, of course, that if the souls are meant to be connected, it doesn’t matter who or what or where.
Like any other Sunai, he has to feed on souls and in order to do that, he has to play. Yes, yes, to play. With his violin at the ready, he plays his sad, luring, savage song that makes his „victims” to stand still, glow their sins out and come confessing straight to death. It might sound cruel, even for sinners, but this is the only way Sunai survive and do not get dark – devouring sinful souls. And by getting dark I mean much worse than sucking a few of those sinful souls.
I can only see August as a sweet boy, sorry if I do not resonate with your opinions. There is something about him that makes me feel content and make me like him
as if he were real. Maybe this is his burning desire to be something else, to be someone he’s not. But, after all, isn’t this a thing we all desire at some point? To be someone we’re not…yet?
Now, all I can say is that this is the first one of the Schwab’s works that I read and I truly and deeply declare myself a fan. She’s brilliant and her style is mesmerizing. And the idea of the book is something that is just selling it off!
I love music, everyone does. It has become a thing as necessary in one’s life as air and water. I, for instance, cannot function on a daily basis without listening to music. Because music feels like life itself.
I cannot help it and I make a very obvious line between this book and my life. Or life in general. Maybe it would come to you a bit cheesy but it’s damn true. And I’d be very curious to find out how many of you actually felt the same way as I did.
I used to make music in order to keep myself on track. I used to make music in order to ease the reality. I used to make music in order to fight my monsters…
…because, let’s face it, we all have our own personalised monsters.
But of course, even monsters can pass as humans. It is only in the eyes of the beholder if you let them be or discard them as beings.
”Where are you?”
August closed his eyes. Took a long breath. ”Lying on my bed,”, he whispered. ”Listening to music while my cat chews on the corner of a book.”
Kate almost laughed. It was such an ordinary answer.”
Ah, and also. In case you are wondering, stop wondering: Callum Harker won the prize for the lamest father in the galaxy. Spread the word.