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

The first book in V.E.Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology, that I read on kindle, was good, but I’ll admit after my emotional rollercoaster at the hands of her Shades of Magic trilogy, it wasn’t quite that good. The artwork on the cover is gorgeous – I mean, I read it on kindle so no pretty artwork for me, but really, swirly black smoke floral awesomeness.

In Verity, a tipping point was reached, and violent acts become monsters. From murder are born the bloodsucking Malchai, from non-murderous violent acts, the clawing Corsai, from monstrous acts the soul-sucking Sunai. In Verity, monsters are created and these very real monsters seek very real human prey. In this grisly city, two families rule. The Harker’s of the North of V-City, where protection can be bought, a seal can be paid for to keep the monsters at bay. And the Flynn’s of the South, fighting against the flow of monsters for the right to live and survive in the isolated city. Kate Harker wants to be as feared as her father, August Flynn just wants to feel alive. When the truce that keeps the two families at peace starts to crumble, August is sent to North V-City to spy on Kate. But when Harker’s men (and monsters) try to kill Kate and pin it on Flynn to break the truce, they have to run from both sides, before the real monsters get them.

August loves music, he needs it. But those who hear him play could end up dead, or mad. He was created and is lost in the world, wondering how he can be human when he isn’t. Kate is angry at the world and determined to make her father see her as his daughter, his natural successor.

It’s an interesting concept. A world where violence breeds monsters into the very shadows of the streets and nowhere is safe. And in this world are a girl trying to control the monsters as her father does, and a monster trying desperately to be human. They are very real, with desperation and loneliness and determination laced into their souls. And these two teenagers, heirs to a divided city overrun with violence and monsters, have to try and work out what is best for their city and for themselves without really knowing the whole picture.

I love that there isn’t a romance between August and Kate, just dependence on each other for survival and because they are two loners in the world. I liked the premise of this world of violence, and how to be a good person within this violent, dark world. About who are the real monsters and what makes a monster of a person. There were interesting twists (I called one) and it was emotional and just a genuinely awesome read. Even the overarching stereotype of Bad Girl (or girl trying to be bad and sorta failing) and Good guy (who is actually a monster but wants to be good) was well handled.

Honestly, V.E.Schwab is amazing. The narrative is lyrical and all the characters are excellently written and I just love her books so much. I went to a book signing in London the other night (turned up an hour late because my ticket had the wrong time and I’d come straight from work – I was gutted. But I got my Shades of Magic signed!) and she actually apologised for the duology so I’m not sure what’s waiting for me in Our Dark Duet, the conclusion of the duology but it’s not likely to be good! I can’t wait.

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