Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday #Review - This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab #YALit, #Fantasy

Series: Monsters of Verity # 1
Format: Hardcover, 464 pages
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult \ Fantasy \ Dark Fantasy

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 homes at stake. 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, who uses his power to protect the innocent. Thrown together by a crumbling truce and a failed assassination attempt, Kate and August must flee to save themselves. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates her own dark metropolis, worthy of being compared to Gotham. But it’s not superheroes who will save this city—it’s two teenagers. This Savage Song begins a two-book saga about finding where we belong, and becoming who we are meant to be.

This Savage Song is the first installment in author Victoria Schwab's Monsters of Verity duology. Schwab's world could very well be considered to be a Dystopian society where monsters intermingle with humans in a place called Verity. Verity is a city that is separated into two parts; North and South. It is also separated by two totally different men; Callum Harker and Henry Flynn. One, Harker, controls the north and the monsters (Corsai (flesh eaters), and Malchai (blood drinkers). The other, Flynn, and his task force, tries his best to save humanity by using his secret weapons to keep the monsters in check. 

"Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly, smile and bite and steal your soul.
Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claws, shadow and bone will eat you raw. 
Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal, sing you a song and steal your soul."

This Savage Song follows Kate Harker, daughter of Callum, and August Flynn, better known as a Sunai who was created after a violent murder. Sunai's, like August, his brother Leo, and sister Ilsa, use music to steal a person's soul. They can also pass as human, which neither Corsai or Malchai are able to do. All the monsters in this story are created by violence in one manner or the other. The world that Schwab creates takes a bit to understand, but once you get past the opening salvos, you really get into a whole lot of action. The underlying terror also keeps the reader on their seat knowing that anything can and will happen at any moment.

Kate is an unusual heroine. She's been to six schools in five years, and choosing to burn down a Catholic Boarding School's Chapel may be the only way to return home to Verity where she believes she belongs. Kate wants to prove that she can be the monster her father wants her to be. She wants to prove that she isn't like her mother ready to run away at a moments notice. She is ready to take the helm and prove that she is worth her father's attention and respect. Of course, that also means gaining the attention of Callum's monsters, including Sloan, who is just as dark & dangerous as you can imagine. She also understands that her father is far from a nice man. He demands humans living in his sector pay for medallions in exchange for protection.

August's story is about a boy who wants badly to be more human. He is also my favorite between Kate and August. For August, staying in control prevents him from going totally to the dark side where he becomes something even more dangerous. He even has black marks on his skin indicating how many days he's went without going dark. It's apparent from the onset that August and his "parents" (Henry and Emily Flynn) are more loving and understanding. Henry believes in keeping the truce, and not allowing the monsters to invade his part of town. August desire to be more human leads him to being sent to Colton Academy where he meets Kate, and finds friendship among the humans, and even more danger than he could ever imagine. 

I do have to say this. While the story does focus on Kate and August, I loved Ilsa, and especially the cat that August gives her. I love the fact that she is the most dangerous character in this book, bar none. Ok, so there is also Sloan, but you have to actually read this book to find out what makes Ilsa so dangerous that an entire treaty is based on keeping her away from others. Is there romance in this installment? Nope. Kate and August barely stand the sight of each other let alone feel the need to burst out singing Ave Maria on the nearest roof top. 

There is a brutal truth about both characters, and there is definite character growth by Kate before all is said and done. Things really tick up to a dangerous point where I am not very hopeful that anyone, let alone main characters, will walk away from the series finale alive. To quote the author, "This book isn’t a solo. It’s a duet. A song played by two very different teens trying to survive a very broken world. There are moments of discord, and a few of harmony, and through it all, they have to keep the melody alive."

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