Tuesday, July 5, 2016

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Release Date - July 5, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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
This Savage Song is about monsters, and humans. What makes someone a monster, and what makes someone human? This novel dissects that exact question, and discovers that it is sometimes a thin line that separates one from the other. This is Victoria Schwab's return to writing young adult novels after releasing a few adult ones, and it is a triumphant return. She's written an achingly beautiful story of how light and dark can coexist in anyone.

Music is the heartbeat of this story. It's a driving force, particularly for August's part of it. The is a melodic, lyrical quality to the writing that beautifully highlights the use of music and the characters themselves. It's the nuanced, pitch perfect writing that fans of Victoria Schwab have come to expect, and the story overtakes you like a song. It entrances, and sweeps you along while pulling emotions out of you with the subtlest ease.

There is a duality to the characters. Kate is a human who wants to be a monster, and August is a monster who would give anything to be human. These are characters that are so beautifully flawed, and vivid. There is a natural chemistry to them, and the way the balance each other lends itself to hopes of romance. However, this novel has not one hint of romance, and is all the better for it. Victoria Schwab allows her characters to develop and grow as individuals. They compliment and contrast one another along their joint journey but it is very much one of self discovery for both. There is something tantalizing about the hope for a deeper connection in the sequel, but this installment of Kate and August's story is made all the stronger without it.

There are instantly recognizable motivations and desires within these characters. Kate's desperation for her father to see her as worthy. August's need to be who he wishes he could be. These are things that are very human at their centre. Victoria Schwab masterfully takes these very human emotions and twists them with fantasy/supernatural elements in way that blends them together seamlessly. It adds emotional resonance to all her novels, and her characters.

This is a commentary about the echo the violent acts in our world leave behind. In this case they are literal echoes that have to be faced. An actual walking reminder of the pain humans can inflict. In reality they are metaphorical echoes that haunt us long after. They way these horrific acts twist, and shape not just our world, but ourselves is something that lingers on every single page of this novel. There is a shadow that these events leave behind, and Victoria Schwab examines what it would mean for them to have a voice. It's poetic, and darkly captivating and begs to be discussed. This isn't the kind of book you forget easily after finishing, because it leaves it's own imprint on you.

Those who have fallen in love with Victoria Schwab's previous novels will be delighted to discover another brilliantly written story within these pages. A thoughtful look at what it means to be human, and the darkness that exists within us all.

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