This Savage Song

Some books don’t even try to lie about what they are. 

This one? This book is a monster. 

  • Author: Victoria Schwab 
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • Year: 2016
  • Genre vibe: Urban fantasy. That’s it. (Can I get a “hell yes” from the people in the back?) 
  • At a glance: August Flynn has no wish to be a monster, and yet that’s the role he’s given. Kate Harker doesn’t believe in anything but monsters, and if she must become one herself to fight them, then so be it. Both of them are right, and both of them are wrong. (Also, there’s monsters.)

This Savage Song

What is there to say about any given Victoria Schwab novel, for starters? They’re gigantic. Someone is going to break your heart. There’s no possible way for you–oh measly reader–to comprehend the sheer scope of the world she’s created for you. I think of any given Victoria Schwab novel and think of a sculpture: sculptures are things that I can stand and stare at for hours, enjoying in such an objective manner that I find I don’t really care if I understand them or not. 

Here’s the thing about This Savage Song: True to Schwab form, this thing is huge. The world. The story. The amount of pages. It’s gigantic, and not exactly fast paced, and not exactly magic-saturated in a very traditional Urban Fantasy kind of way. 

But here’s the other thing about This Savage Song: It doesn’t have teeth–it has claws. And like any given Victoria Schwab novel, it is very, very good at keeping them sheathed until the last moment. 

Following August and Kate isn’t exactly a chore–but it’s not very easy, either. Throughout a lot of the first half, I felt vaguely distanced from them as characters with wants and needs and goals. It didn’t bother me, strictly speaking. After all, this is Urban Fantasy straight from the hands of a goddess, so it’s not like you’re suffering. You just don’t realize what you’re missing until the latter half of the novel. Because the latter half of the novel packs more than a punch. The latter half of This Savage Song packs heat. 

There is little I like more than to see my beautiful, darling characters brought to their knees by circumstances, particularly circumstances they have gotten themselves into in one way or another. That’s pretty much all that happens at the end of this book. Me being a little late getting started, I’d already heard the cries of “FEELS” from the majority of the world. “Heh,” I thought, flipping through page after page of mob politics and awesome demon creatures, “Yeah, right.” 

You’d think I’d know by now than to underestimate the sheer depth of the Schwab Feelings. But I am a fool, and so fools fall prey unprepared. 

By the end of the book I was quite angry with myself for forgetting that this was a series, gosh darn it Linnea, and spent a good amount of time ranting to Mariesa about it. This happens a lot after I read a Schwab novel. Covered in feelings and the depth of my own foolishness while Mariesa pats me on the head and provides the release date for Conjuring of Light to calm me down. 

This Savage Song is just that–savage, and while maybe not as musical as I’d hoped, certainly crafted like a song. Urban fantasy is something that has some very strong characteristics when it’s presentented in its true form. This Savage Song is missing a couple, but not nearly enough to disqualify it from being one of the best urban fantasies out there right now. Schwab is a story goddess, and bringing her take on the art to this particular genre is something that urban fantasy readers could only have dreamed of. And yet, here we are, and look at what we have been graced with. 

No complaintes here. 

So overall: 

  • Rating: 4.5/5 stars 
  • Recommended to: Urban fantasy readers! Everywhere!! All of you!!!
  • Lasting Impression: Blood on the wall, on your hands, caked into your jeans. Water sloshing in a too-full bathtub. A desert sunset, stretch of endless road that means hope to some and condemnation to the rest. 

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