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.
Music and monsters and everything in-between. Weclome to Verity, where men and monsters are one in the same.
I have always been a devout fan of Victoria Schwab, having gone to her book tour for A Gathering of Shadows, to enjoying the craft she obviously excels at. And This Savage Song does not fall short. Whether it be her adult or young adult compositions, characters are fleshed out, world-of-story is expansive and rich and horrifyingly beautiful. Verity is a ghost town after dark, riddled with monsters. A city divided, a truce on the verge of collapse, and political unrest scorching the two leaders. Under Callum Harker’s control, you pay for safety from his legion of Corsai and Malcai monsters (your Jack the Ripperesque ones). Under Henry Flynn, they fight to keep the monsters at bay, and his Sunai (the musical monsters who steal your soul) are the ace in the hole, to say the least.
When someone tries to kill Kate Harker, big, bad Callum Harker’s monstrosity of a daughter, and blame it on the Sunai monsters under Flynn’s control to break peace, Kate and August (our little monster undercover) race against time and darkness and all odds. Their partnership is odd, chaotic, and sweet. You root for them, you glue yourselves to the pages for backstory. And there is no romantic subplot tumbling around, it is strictly survival and political warfare. The other Sunai, Leo and Ilsa, are thunderstorms and shooting stars respectively. And the turmoil that all these characters endure as they fight for their lives through the night and against the monsters of Verity is gritty. I had been absorbed, unwilling to put down this book. And the ending, Victoria Schwab can never just leave things simple, she has a way of taking the needle and just plucking the strands of your favorite sweater and teasing out the threads. I ache for Our Dark Duet, and the chaos that will come to Kate and August and all the rest. I wait for new characters and what twists and turns go bump in the night by the hand of Victoria Schwab’s pen.