Book Reviews

This Savage Song – Book Review

Last month I got This Savage Song by the fantasy author Victoria Schwab. I started it immediately, attracted by the beautiful cover and the promise of a brilliant urban fantasy.

“Monsters, monsters, big and small, They’re gonna come and eat you all.”

 But I found myself distracted after the first two chapters, since the pacing was somewhat slow and just at the beginning I found one of my book pet peeves (that I previously talked about), which made me think this book wouldn’t meet my expectations. I’m so glad people at Instagram kept raving about it because that made me give it a second chance. And soon enough I was enjoying it too.

“Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw, Shadow and bone will eat you raw.”

After the first few chapters where Kate – a tough girl with a gangster father- and August – a lovable boy with identity problems – are introduced, we get to see the real protagonist of the story: the monsters bred by a corrupted and violent city. We are told and shown how this city so full of pain and anger started to breed real monsters as a recoil of every violent act. The Corsai, Malchai and Sunai feed on human souls and bodies, unless you happen to be under Harker -Kate’s father- protection.

“Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly, Smile and bite and drink you dry.”

What I liked the most about this story was how natural the fantasy elements felt. Every scene involving a monster is just like a thriller scene, I knew there was imminent danger and was sure that the monster’s words were not to be trusted. But I often forgot I was reading a fantasy book, which is great because the plot felt even more believable. When Kate is hanging out in her room with one of his father’s monsters, it reminded me of the anime Death Note, where fantasy elements are the core of the story but what’s more intriguing is the human part of the plot. The Corsai and Malchai also reminded me of the Shinigami, capable of acting as humans but with a faculty to darken any room with their presence.

“Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal, Sing you a song and steal your soul.”

August was also so much more than the troubled kid I expected from my first reading. He is a Sunai, which means he’s a monster with a human body and the capacity to steal souls by playing his violin. But August is not sure about his role in this society. He survives by eating the souls of assassins and that somewhat absolves him from being an assassin himself. But doubts arise about what is truly ethic and fair, and how some crimes are so cruel they steal a fragment of someone’s humanity. This debate about what is truly evil and how the real monstrosities come from humanity itself made this book no only entertaining but compelling.

“Monsters, monsters, big and small, They’re gonna come and eat you all!”

I would recommend This Savage Song to urban fantasy fans, Death Note fans, thriller fans who enjoy YA and anyone who likes vampires – the are no vampires in this book, but soul stealing monsters are close enough for me-.

As a side note/warning: I have the first edition hardcover by Greenwillow Books and it has an unexpected amount of typos. It didn’t bother me that much but I couldn’t ignore them without at least telling you.

Have you read This Savage Song? What did you think about it? 🙂

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