Sunday, July 10, 2016

this savage song: stardust reviews

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)
Victoria Schwab



There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from 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.

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.

full review under the cut!

It seems like the easiest thing in the world for me to give every single one of Victoria Schwab's books five stars. I honestly think she is the absolute best at the balance between darkness and light in a novel. Somehow, she manages to create these characters that have struggles and true darkness inside them, but they are never defined by that part of them. They possess different sides, pure desires, and good intentions that just make the darkness in them even more interesting. I'm especially thinking of Vicious, which is my all time favorite book by her, but I also see this in The Archived, A Darker Shade of Magic, and This Savage Song as well. In fact, the light vs dark spectrum might be at play the most in this book, or at least most obviously, because it is about literal monsters and humans, and the implications of humane monsters and monstrous humans. It is SO interesting to see Schwab hash out these dynamics, and that facet, as well as the whole book, just defied my expectations. 

So instead of making this a super rambly review, and in the interest of giving you some stand out points to take into consideration if you are thinking of reading this book, I have decided to write this review numerically and see where that takes us :) 

1. World Building. I'm going to give y'all a heads up here and say that I usually am not the biggest fan of dystopia. I've read the Hunger Games and Divergent and a very few scattered others, but that is it. I will never ever seek it out. That being said, I did enjoy this book, and maybe that was because, even though this book is dystopian (at least, in my eyes), I never felt the hopelessness that usually comes over me when I read dystopian novels. Maybe that's because the book's action took place in somewhere as ordinary as a private school, or maybe it is simply due to the incredible nature of Schwab's writing, but I never once found myself dwelling on the dystopian bits of this book. So, if you, like me, aren't a huge fan of the dystopian genre, this might be one that you can handle. And if you do like dystopian, then by all means, go for it, I've got a feeling you'll like this one. I both liked and didn't like that we were thrown into this world with little to no hand holding. On the one hand, I quite like puzzling out situations on my own, but on the other, it leads to a few pages of confusion on the part of the reader. If you find yourself lost in the first couple of chapters, I would say, carry on! It doesn't take long for your brain to catch up to the speed of the book, and then you'll be glad that chapters weren't wasted in long info dumps. I liked the way this world felt fully formed, in its awful, pulse-pounding, gritty glory, way before I got into the story. 

2. Monsters. I find it so interesting that this book centers around monsters. Not fantasy creatures, not aliens, not time travelers, dimension hoppers, dragons, mummies, trolls, elves, or the like. Just pure, unadulterated monsters. Sure, there's some angels vs demons imagery here and there, and one of the monster types resembles a vampire, but they are never called anything other that what they are: monstrous. I liked that there were three categories: Corsai (think like vicious dogs that want to eat everything), Malachai (vampiric blood suckers), and Sunai (avenging angels that consume souls through music). Those distinctions made it less confusing to get into the world, and I appreciated the development of the three in the plot. I think that this premise, the rise of monsters that are made from violent acts, is totally unique, and I really wish that I had come up with it! I feel like we were only scratching the surface of the whole monster mythology in this book, and that means that I really can't wait for the next one, if only to find out more about where these monsters come from and what makes them tick. Especially the Sunai! 

3. Kate and August. Our two main characters are both equally awesome in my book, but in totally different ways. Kate is this kicka** gal who doesn't care what people think of her, but who is always striving, in more and more violent ways, for the approval of her father. She has this vision of what she should be like, and she does whatever it take to match up with that vision, even if it means pushing down her true nature. August is the sweetest cinnamon roll in the bunch, a Sunai monster who wants nothing more than to be human and help people, even though he knows that his dreams of humanity can never be realized. One of three Sunai's in existence, August can take a soul when he plays his violin, but only if the soul belongs to a sinner. Kate and August are the children of rival warlords in Verity City, a war torn and monster infested supercity in what used to be the United States. Kate and August meet when August's father sends him to spy on Kate in her new boarding school, on the outskirts of the city. Immediately, there is a friendship between them. I think it's because they're both lost souls, unsure of their own natures, drawn to each other because their situations are very similar. I loved that there wasn't necessarily any romantic implications between them, though I don't think it would be impossible for them to develop feelings, in this book, they simply become close. Close enough to risk their lives to protect the other. I loved them both so much... it made me angry how good they were as characters if that makes sense.... hahaha 

4. ILSA!!! THE PUREST CINNAMON ROLL IN THE UNIVERSE. Okay, so Ilsa didn't play *that* big of a role in the book, compared to August and Kate, but she was far and away my favorite character. Ilsa is, for all intents and purposes, August's older sister. She is an extremely powerful Sunai, capable of huge acts of destruction, but is gentle and kind and flighty, sort of like a Luna Lovegood character. She was so sweet and loyal to August, and I was so thankful for her existence, especially at the end of the book. I don't have much to say about her except for I adored her and I hope she is in the next book more! 

5. Allegro. I also don't have much to say here, but I thought it was so COMPLETELY adorable that two of the most powerful monsters in this world adopt a smol kitten and fall in love with him and name him Allegro. That was the cutest thing I could have possibly imagined. 

6. Action! As in, this book has a ton of it. I loved the fast paced nature of the story, it made me fly through the last 250 pages in a matter of hours. It just builds and builds throughout the book, and comes to an explosive end that had some REALLY AWESOME TWISTS!! I don't want to give too much away, but let me just say that I definitely felt out of breath even reading some parts of this book. I loved the dynamic between August and his adoptive parents, Emily and Henry, and I definitely disliked Leo from the start. And as for Kate's dad, Callum Harker, most dangerous and powerful man in V-City? Let's just say I believe he got what was coming to him. I loved the scenes where August and Kate were on the run together, and how she kept him from going dark by her sheer will. I hated Sloan, hated Leo, hated Kate's dad, but in a way that made the book better, you know? 

In conclusion, Victoria Schwab is one of the most talented writers that I've ever had the pleasure of reading, and this book is no exception. I absolutely cannot wait to see what else this world has in store. 

"sunai, sunai, eyes like coal / sing you a song and steal your soul."


No comments:

Post a Comment

80% Read the Printed Word!