Review: This Savage Song

savage-songby V. E. Schwab.

Titan Books, out now

A longstanding grudge explodes into new violence.

This Savage Song is the first novel in a new series by V. E. Schwab, author of the A Darker Shade of Magic series. Verity is a place split into two halves as part of a truce following an event that destroyed a section of the town – one half controlled by Henry Flynn, who fights the monsters, and the other by Callum Harker, who has struck a deal with them.

Verity exists in a world of monsters created by atrocity: Corsai are created by acts of violence; Malchai are created by murder; and the worst atrocities create the Sunai, about which least is known.

In the novel’s prologue we see Kate Harker, Callum’s daughter, destroying yet another boarding school in an attempt to be allowed back home – having been bounced from one school to another ever since her mother’s death. Finally, she’s taken back to Verity.

Once there, she starts school on the same day as August Flynn, Henry’s son – a Sunai trying to pass for human. The two meet and, as their acquaintance grows, they find there’s a conspiracy to destroy the fragile truce. As Kate seeks a way to impress her father and finally be accepted, August in turn tries to uncover the truth of what’s happening in an attempt to help his father maintain the crumbling peace. What they discover changes everything, and the two flee as they try to decide what to do, how to proceed. Nothing is what they thought, and neither know who to trust.

This Savage Song is the first in a planned duology, and is an excellent introduction to the world of Verity. Kate and August are very well drawn, as are the supporting cast, and they evoke true sympathy as they strive to reveal the truth behind life in Verity and all that entails. Comparisons can be drawn to Romeo and Juliet in the bittersweet nature of their relationship, and the reader roots for the pair to find a way forward and come through the dangers unscathed. The story moves quickly, the plot twisting and turning as it heads towards a satisfying conclusion. I’m looking forward to reading the next volume in the series.

Verdict: Monsters are real, and Verity is their home. 9/10

Marie O’Regan

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