I’m an unabashed V.E. Schwab fan. I read A Darker Shade of Magic last year and absolutely adored it, so I had high hopes for this brand new fantasy/dystopian twist from her. And it was full of glorious action and writing and kickass, but it missed that certain sprinkle of charm that ADSOM had. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, since it twinkled brightly in some areas and then gloomily retreated in others. ADSOM was full of innovative ideas and characters, but this felt like a really good idea that was unfortunately mixed with a few YA clichés and ended up being a slightly off-putting book.

Wow, I am just full of metaphors today. *flourishes proudly*

This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab

Format & Pages:  Hardcover, 427 // Published: Jul. 5th, 2016

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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.


• August, the typical ‘solitary & mysterious’ character who was actually something different. But he didn’t relish being all quiet and self-contained, and wanted to fight in the war between Harker and Flynn, which was a breath of fresh air.

• The writing describing the monsters, which was just exquisite. They were probably my favorite part of the book, solely because I enjoyed reading about them so goddamn much.

“Whatever he was made of — stardust or ash or life or death — would be gone.
Not with a bang, but with a whimper.
In with gunfire and out with smoke.
And August wasn’t ready to die.
Even if surviving wasn’t simple, or easy, or fair.
Even if he could never be human.
He wanted the chance to matter.
He wanted to live.”

• Kate’s father, Harker, and his Malchai accomplice Sloan were satisfying creepy to give the story a subtle kick in the ‘weirdly dominant male’ direction. They weren’t sexist, just… strange.

• August’s family, with two Sunai siblings and a father who’s literally brought war on the country, was incredible. I really wanted to learn more about them, especially Leo and Ilsa. ILSA. I can’t fangirl over her enough. Those star marks that wrapped themselves around her body? Damn, that was good writing.


• Kate, who was bitchy for almost no reason. She could have had such a strong backstory, with her family crisis and badass fighting skills, but instead she became a prop in August’s story and was meaningless.

• The geography and politics, which were very sadly boring and unrealistic. Two politicians who’ve divided the city exactly in half? Where’s the magic of ADSOM, the alternate Londons and different kinds of magic?


TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection |music to my ears (quite literally)
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES | wish I’d designed it
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as fuck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution | some unique, some boring
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing |suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) |infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle | forbidden friends | forbidden lust
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body


I’m not saying I hated it, and I’ll give the next book a try. But overall, this fell below my expectations, and I couldn’t connect with most of the characters in a meaningful enough way to want to read more about them. If you’ve read A Darker Shade of Magic and want to try more Schwab, then I’d definitely give this a read, but if you’re new to her writing, READ ADSOM. IT IS AND WILL ALWAYS BE A FANTASTIC BOOK.



Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes,” “like,” and “y’all.”

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.


let's discuss copy

Have you read this? Want to read it? Agree with my critiques? Are there any other Schwab fans out there that I can wildly scream with?


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