Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Me on This Savage Song

Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)

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.

This Savage Song is a story of monsters and the monstrous, of humans and humanity. Of what makes us and what defines us, of intent and intentions.

Kate is cold, hard. Ruthless. She wants acceptance from her father, faith that she can be just like him. That he needs her around. That she can be the one to carry on his name. She waits for the day when he can let go of the past, of the sudden loss of her mother. Until then, she'll be hard as nails, shielding herself in armour. Waiting for the day to prove herself, waiting for the day her father will welcome her back.

August is looking to help his family, to help protect those who are preyed upon. He's looking to be human, even with his monstrous origins. He doesn't want to be like the others, like his older brother. He looked up to his father, a protector. He lives his life locked away, alone, hiding his hunger. Wishing it wasn't there. Wishing his past wasn't there, full of death and sorrow.

What are monsters? Who are monsters? What defines them? Can they be humans who assault and murder, drug and abuse and steal? Or can they only be fantastical creatures with sharp teeth and darkness in their eyes? What if one of those creatures is struggling to hold onto their humanity with both arms, both hands. Fighting every day to keep the shadows hidden, to control the hunger.

This book is dark, full of things that go bump in the night and creep out of the shadows, ready to claw your eyes out. It's a deep look at humans and monsters, the acts that make us human and the acts that make us dangerous. It's also a look at the relationships the main characters have with their fathers. Both Kate and August look at their fathers as something to strive for, whether it be in terms of power or compassion. They want to prove to them that they can be trusted, be used in the oncoming battle. If you're any kind of monster fan or complicated character fan or Victoria Schwab fan, then you should give this book a read.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

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