Schwab’s “This Savage Song” a monstrously good read


Carter Diggs, Entertainment Editor

Sometimes an overnight success is nine years in the making.  Author Victoria Schwab found that out when her new novel This Savage Song hit the top spot on the New York Times Bestseller List upon its release.  The fact that it had a lot of anticipation surrounding its release cannot be denied, but does it live up to the expectations?

In brief, Schwab herself described the book as “Romeo and Juliet + Sin City + monsters – romance.”  The premise focuses upon the children of two opposing families that hold control over a city where violent acts give birth to three types of of monsters: the hiveminded Corsai, the inhumanly strong Malchai, and the soul stealing Sunai.

Beyond the already interesting premise, the book has quite a lot going for it.  The main cast, headed by August, a young Sunai who steals souls with music and Kate, the youngest member of the more militant of the two families, is very well crafted and full of distinct, memorable characters.  

One of the main highlights of the novel is the interactions between the characters.  Each character is custom fit with his or her own unique outlook on life and the events around him or her, so it is always fun to see how their views clash throughout the story.

As for the story itself, Schwab, as previously shown in her Shades of Magic series, does an impeccable job at crafting a thriller-style story and injecting tension onto each page.  Her writing style lends itself well to the structure of the story and makes the tone much more effective.  Most of the plot twists that come along aren’t really all that surprising, barring one in particular, but Schwab manages to make up for it by giving these scenes a nice impact and making the foreshadowed outcome very entertaining.

The biggest flaw unfortunately comes from one of the big draws of the novel, most of the monsters aren’t that interesting.  While the idea that all the monsters are born at sites of violent crimes is really unique, the Corsai and Malchai just don’t stick out as nearly as much as the song-singing, soul-stealing Sunai.  The Corsai just feel like zombie stand-ins. Furthermore, while Sloan was a fair character, the other Malchai feel underdeveloped and might as well be regular human mobsters.

While the other monsters pale in comparison, the Sunai characters are some of the best in the book and definitely stand out over the rest.

In the end, despite some ideas needing more definition, This Savage Song is definitely worth a read if you’re looking for something a little strange and different.


Genre: YA Urban Fantasy