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. (Good Reads)
This was my first foray into V.E. Schwab’s writing and I really loved it. The world, the characters and the concept were just absolutely spot on and exactly what I was looking for in a book.
First up, the characters: Kate Harker is not the most sympathetic of lead female characters at the beginning – our first introduction to her is her burning down a chapel at her school because she’s desperate. She’s a girl with a rough past and she’s desperate to get home to her father who is the leader of one faction of Verity City. She’s determined to be as tough and as ruthless as he is in order to gain his respect. In contrast, August Flynn is one of the ‘monsters’ but all he wants to be is human. He’s kind and good-hearted and wants desperately to protect the innocent all while learning to manage who he is. There’s no love story in this book – although there’s definite potential for one – and that increased my enjoyment of the relationship between Kate and August once they meet and forge an unlikely companionship.
The side characters in this book are fantastic, too. At the top of my list is Isla who was just a beautiful character and her backstory was just heartbreaking. There’s a great contrast between August’s family and Kate’s, as well as between the citizens we meet in both parts of Verity City.
I also loved the world that Schwab has created. The city is no longer safe; violence begets more violence as each act forces the creation of monsters that spread fear. There’s a strong social message there, but I loved the way each branch of monster comes about in its own special set of circumstances – Corsai, Malchai, and Sunai.
This book is gritty and gripping and I cannot wait to see what happens to Kate and August in the second book. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.
title // Monsters of Verity #1 This Savage Song
author // Victoria Schwab
publisher // Greenwillow Books
genre // Young Adult, Science-Fiction & Fantasy
publication date // July 5th, 2016
format // Hardback