They’re gonna come and eat you all!”‘
I’ve heard so many good things about Victoria Schwab’s books that I’ve been meaning to try them out for ages! Oddly though, despite having owned A Darker Shade of Magic for ages I ended up reading this one first after I bought it as part of an offer with Empire of Storms.
Thie Savage Song tells the story of Katherine Harker and August Flynn, the children of two bitter enemies, each of whom control a different side of a divided City. Kate wants nothing more than her father’s approval, and tries to be as tough and ruthless as him, whilst August just wants to fight his monstrous nature and be human. With war threatening to erupt between their two families and monsters roaming the street, Kate and August find themselves being forced together as they try and keep the peace.
Although this wasn’t a particularly long book, it has seemed to take me so long to read it! I’m really not sure why either, seen as I did enjoy it, but I didn’t find myself really looking forward to picking it up. There were so many things I loved about it though, and I can’t seem to pinpoint what exactly about it meant it didn’t 100% wow me.
For example, the world of the book was really unique and well developed, and I liked how it felt very science fictiony and dystopian, but also had a kind of fantasy element what with the monsters who drink blood and steal souls. I really liked the dark, dangerous feel of the city setting, and the gritty atmosphere, and I was left curious about the wider world of the story and the other territories with their intriguing names (eg. Fortune, Temperance, Prosperity).
The main characters were also really likable, both as individuals and as friends. In fact I really liked how this book, rather uniquely in the YA world, didn’t automatically make the relationship between the main characters a romance just because one is male and one is female. There’s every likelihood that’s where it will go in the later books, but I liked how romance wasn’t a central feature (or even much of a feature at all) in this book.
Whilst Kate is in many ways the typical ‘tough-on-the-outside but good on the inside’ character, and August is the classic ‘monster with more humanity than most humans’, they still felt like fresh, interesting characters. However bad of a person Callum Harker is, and how terrible the things Kate does to win his approval are, there is something very relatable in her need for her father’s approval, and it’s the same with August’s struggle to always do the right thing.
However, I do wish some of the more minor characters had been a little more developed. The Flynn family for example: Henry and Emily Flynn just seem to be goodie goodie characters with no real back story as to why they are like that, and I was fascinated by Leo and Isla and would have really liked to have seen more of them!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the dark tone and the originality of the world it’s set in, and the main characters were interesting and relatable. However, there was just something about it that stopped me absolutely loving it…maybe it just wasn’t the kind of book I was feeling like reading at the time, I don’t know. I’ll definitely be getting round to reading A Darker Shade of Magic soon though!