Review Blog

Aug 17 2017

This savage song by Victoria Schwab

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Monsters of Verity book 1. Titan Books, 2016. ISBN 9781785652745
(Age: 14+) Recommended. 2017 Locus Awards nominee. Dystopian fiction. In a world that has been invaded by monsters, Kate Harker and August Flynn find themselves together on the run. There are three types of monsters: Malchai who drink blood and are made when there is a murder, Corsai who eat flesh and bones and are formed from violence and Sunai who feed on the souls of sinners and are formed from a major catastrophe like a school bombing. August Flynn is a Sunai, but longs to be less of a monster. His adopted father, Henry Flynn, runs one side of Verity, while Kate Harker's father runs the other side. However the truce that Flynn and Harker had made is beginning to come apart at the seams and August is sent to spy on Kate in an effort to find out what is going on.
The setting of Verity and the formation of monsters from evil acts is quite original and made reading This savage song quite different. Kate's feisty nature and need to please her crime boss father contrasted with August's attempts to be less monster-like. When they both are attacked at their school, they have to rely on each other to work out what is happening and to escape the attempts to kill them. Although there are slight hints at a Romeo and Juliet type of relationship, this is minor to the plot, which is action driven, while posing questions about morality and ethics.
There are some very thrilling and frightening scenes as the monsters chase Kate and August through the underground tunnels and Schwab manages to surprise with some unexpected twists and turns. The conclusion is satisfying but leaves plenty of opportunity for expansion in Our dark duet, the second in the series, which is on my to-read list.
This was a compulsive read with unique characters and magic. Readers who enjoy Holly Black's books will want to read this one.
Pat Pledger

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