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BOOK REVIEW: “This Savage Song” by Victoria Schwab

Title: This Savage Song

Author: Victoria Schwab

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Greenwillow Books


There’s no such thing as safe.

Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.

August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.

Their city is divided.

Their city is crumbling.

Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.

But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?

About the Author

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.

Find her online at:







My Review

Victoria Schwab is a newly-discovered author for me. This Savage Song will not be the last book I read of hers. I marveled at her creativity and the in-depth emotions woven into a story about monsters.

I’m still reeling over the names Schwab created for her cast of paranormal creatures—Malchai, Corsai, and Sunai just don’t exist anywhere. I checked Google and came up with some possible explanations.

The Malchai are a wicked twist on vampires. They do feed off blood but they are not forced to live their lives in darkness. If anything night time fuels them, making them appear less haunted. The closest you get to Malchai on Google is the Book of Malachi. In that sense, Malachi refers to a prophet and he’s a messenger. Well, the Malchai in Schwab’s story might be messengers. By the end of the book you’ll find a very blatant message from one in particular.

The Corsai are dark, shadowy, birdlike apparitions. They consist of teeth, talons, and wings. Well, there’s an airlines known as Corsair. I can work with that possibility.

Finally, the Sunai are more like dark avengers feeding off the sins of humanity. I must say THESE are my favorite monsters. Google has plenty of different possibilities for this name including a law firm, airlines, and a company bottling water. Trust me, all of those references would work for the Sunai.

Schwab’s monsters aren’t born like traditional ones (from a bite or a virus). Instead they are hatched from the evil which lurks behind human actions. That’s deep. People have a tendency to believe their actions don’t have consequences. According to Schwab, that’s not true. Whatever you do in evil leaves a dark stain, a shadow. It’s the shadow that becomes its own monster. Priceless.

Furthermore, Schwab’s monsters are synonymous with human behavior. Some are easily seen, the Malchai, but are clever. Others are ever-present but can’t be seen, the Corsai. They ravage coming out of the dark to feed upon fear. Some are hidden in plain sight, the Sunai, tricking their prey and stealing their souls. Finally, there are those familiar monsters. They hide behind a façade of family waiting for the chance to strike. Brilliant.

The characters Schwab paints are well-developed and intriguing. Although Kate Harker is not a nice girl, you are drawn to her. You come to like her because of her struggle and her deep-seated needs. August Flynn was likeable from the beginning despite what he is. His struggle is one that any human would have—a choice between right and wrong, good and evil. August wanted to embrace humanity, but the darkness lurking within begged him to cave in. The villains in This Savage Song were indeed scary due to their motivating factors—the need for power and freedom.

I appreciated how the backstory was woven in without info dumps or long diatribes by characters. Instead, it was part of dialogue amongst minor players.

The entire time I read This Savage Song questions came up—deciphering the Phenomenon and what exactly happened to the landscape were the main ones. Fortunately, the story unfolds in such a way that these details aren’t pertinent. There is a second book coming next year. Perhaps we will learn more about the Phenomenon at that point.

Schwab did an excellent job crafting a story that was part West Side Story/Romeo Juliet with a dash of post-apocalyptic horror. Romance, for a change, did not play into this tale. There was room for it, but it never saw the light of day. Survival was the name of the game for two sets of monsters on opposite sides of a wall.

The post-apocalyptic elements were fantastic—barren landscapes, structures turned into fortresses, and territories replacing states with dubious names like Verity, Prosperity, Temperance, and Fortune. I suspect the founders of those territories had lofty goals and hopes for the areas, but sadly, nothing is as it seems.

I highly recommend reading Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song. The next book is due next summer. Guess I’ll be checking out her other books in the meantime.

My Rating: 5-hands-up5-hands-up5-hands-up5-hands-up5-hands-up (5 Hands=Excellent, 4 Hands=Pretty Good, 3 Hands=Good)

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