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

Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
pub 7/5/16 by Greenwillow Books
YA - Urban Fantasy
Received e-ARC via Edelweiss  
This was my first time reading something by Victoria Schwab and it took me by surprise! It’s a dark and gory urban fantasy filled with elaborate world-building and complex characters. None of which I completely anticipated since I was going into the story blind. (Do not do this!) Because we’re thrown into the chaos of Kate Harker and August Flynn’s life, it did take me some time to understand the politics of their divided city, the tense relationship between humans and monsters and even warm up to the characters themselves. But the ride to the end made it all well worth it.

The book alternates between Kate and August’s perspectives and it couldn’t have been a more perfect way to emphasize their differences and just why their city is so divided. Kate’s father is a ruthless man who makes humans pay for protection from the monsters he allows to roam free. And while Kate is tough, fierce and believes she wants to be just like her father, it’s clear from the get-go that there’s more to this drive than what we’re seeing. This is where August becomes the ideal foil for her character (and vice-versa). August is actually one of the monsters to be feared except he hates it. He wants to be human, has a good heart and wants to be more like his father, who struggles to keep the peace and his family safe. Kate and August paths cross when August joins her high school to keep an eye on her but as you can imagine, Kate is super paranoid and figures it out. It isn’t before long that the line between enemies and friends begins to blur and for me, that’s when the book really started to get interesting. I was impressed by the plot twists and the details that came together and I’m looking forward to seeing how Schwab will resolve it all.

(Some) reservations
Again, I thought the introduction was a bit jarring. I was reading this with Alexa (for Friends with ARCs) and at one point I said to her, I have no idea what’s going on. Words and politics are just sort of thrown at you and I think it could’ve gone smoother. Likewise, I wish we had a better understanding of the characters at the start, namely Kate. Even though both Kate and August are the “main” characters, I did feel like this was primarily Kate’s story and I didn’t connect to her until much later.

Do I recommend?
Yes! It’s made me curious about the rest of Victoria Schwab’s books and while I don’t necessarily need the sequel tomorrow, I do want to know how the conclusion of this duology will unfold.

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

What's a piece of classical music that you really connect with?
August's ability as a monster stems from music (he plays the violin) so I thought this was a great question to ask. My answer is a bit cliche but I'm still going to say it – it's Für Elise by Beethoven. Long story short: I started playing the piano when I was 5 and loved it. My parents signed up for lessons at age 7 and I started hating it (I didn't like being told when or what to play). Fast forward to age 12, the newest piano book from my teacher had this piece and on a whim, I taught myself how to play it. And just like that I fell in love with piano all over again. To this day, I can still play most of Fur Elise from memory and that's why I'll always connect with it.


  1. I love that we ended up picking the EXACT same piece for our answer. Also, Victoria's storytelling is quite impressive! I definitely got invested, and I'm looking forward to the next one :)

  2. I really enjoyed this one. I saw some reviews mention that the world building was uneven which I agree is a fair point although I think with patience everything does come together and I was inclined to give this a lot of flack as it's the first book in a series and I'm a fan of the author's YA and adult titles. It's interesting you mentioned not connecting with Kate. I didn't have that same problem but I can see where you are coming from. Again, this might be because I'm a fan, but I chose to interpret Kate's distance as intentional--she really doesn't want to let anyone in on her story including the reader.


with love,