BOOK REPORT for This Savage Song (The Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab

Cover Story: Deceptive

BFF Charm: Maybe x 2

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

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Talky Talk: She Thought, He Thought

Bonus Factors: Paranormal Creatures

Anti-Bonus Factor: Lack of Backstory

Factor: Duology Starter

Relationship Status: Looking Forward to a Second Date

Cover Story: Deceptive

This cover is pretty, and, at first glance, made me think This Savage Song is a book about a prodigy violinist who wanders through alleys playing his or her beautiful, but “savage” music. But then I noticed the tagline hidden away at the top. “There’s no such thing as safe?” Ominous much?

The Deal:

After the Vietnam War, the United States destabilized and eventually reformed into 10 new territories. Verity, one of the four territories in the middle of the country, later experienced something that came to be known as the Phenomenon: the appearance of literal monsters—the Corsai, Malchai, and Sunai—who seemed to be born out of acts of violence.

Verity City, the capital of the territory, is a city divided. The south of the city is run by the Flynn family, who work to kill the monsters and keep their citizens safe. The north is run by Callum Harker, a gangster-type who’s bent the monsters to his will, and keeps his citizens safe through coercion and extortion.

August Flynn is the youngest member of the Flynn family, and wants to follow in his father’s footsteps...but he’s not actually human. And Kate Harker, Callum’s only daughter and therefore heir to the Harker name, would do anything to prove to her father that she’s as ruthless as he is. At first, the two think they can use each other, but in the end, they might be the only allies either of them can find.

BFF Charm: Maybe x2

August is a Sunai, or a very rare type of monster that looks almost human, save for the eyes. His species can lull humans, particularly sinners, into a false sense of peace and security using music. August is a really nice guy and fights against his nature as hard as he can. But I’d still be a bit frightened to make the wrong move around him, lest I find myself on the menu.

Kate is a troublemaker. She’s been kicked out of six boarding schools in 5 years, mostly thanks to her violent tendencies and actions. She wants so badly to earn her father’s respect that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get him to notice her, even if that means doing some really questionable things. I understand the want to please one’s elders, but there are lengths to which most sane people won’t go; I’m pretty sure Kate doesn’t have those limit. I’d definitely get in her way, and I’m not sure I’m interested in a friend who might spend most of our time together trying to figure out if or how I could be used to her advantage.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

When they first meet, August and Kate have a connection that neither of them can deny. But it quickly takes a backseat to the larger issues at hand in this book. I could see Victoria Schwab playing with this more in the second novel, or I could see her totally forgoing it for the larger plot.

Talky Talk: She Thought, He Thought

This Savage Song is written in third-person omniscient, and, in doing so, Schwab gives readers a look into both August and Kate’s lives and thoughts. It’s interesting seeing these characters through their own eyes and then each others’ from the very start, rather than only seeing one side of the story.

Although her characters are well-written, I do wish Schwab would have better explained the world in which This Savage Song is set. It took a very long time for certain situations to be explained, and even at the end of the novel I was still totally clueless on what, exactly, the Phenomenon was, or why it happened. (I don’t think the people who live in the world know either, but I would have liked some sort of explanation at least.) I also want to know more about the way the former U.S. is set up. I definitely got sucked into August and Kate’s lives and situations, but was left a little wanting at the end thanks to this lack of backstory.

Bonus Factor: Paranormal Creatures

There are certain aspects of the monsters of This Savage Song that are familiar, but on the whole, all three of the monster types (Corsai, Malchai, and Sunai) are really unique and interesting in their differences from “the norm.” Schwab was really inventive in creating these creatures.

Factor: Duology Starter

This Savage Song doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but there are certain things left unresolved at the end of the novel. So I am glad that there’s more to come from this world. (And hoping for more backstory in the second novel, too!)

Casting Call:

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (minus the beard) as August

Sarah Roemer as Kate

Relationship Status: Looking Forward to a Second Date

Although I wanted to get to know more about your past, Book, I wasn’t disappointed by your present. I hope that when we get together again, you’re willing to open up more. We all have monsters in our closets. I promise not to judge.

This Savage Song is available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's a technical writer by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book forForever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.