Goodreads bills Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song as a “dark urban fantasy,” but it’s only dark and urban until the monsters come into play. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill YA paranormal. No vampires, werewolves, or zombies here. These monsters are dark and deserving of the name. The Corsai and Malchai are born of evil acts, people’s sins made flesh. And the Sunai are the worst, rising from the ashes of the most violent deeds perpetrated by humanity. The Sunai play music to steal souls.
In the near-future territory of Verity, Kate Harker is desperate to prove that she can be just as monstrous as her father. August Flynn is a monster desperate to be human. Verity’s capital city is divided into halves. In the north, Kate’s mob boss-like father has an understanding with the monsters, people buy protection from him. In South City, Henry Flynn’s task force keeps the monsters at bay.
When Kate’s father sends her to a school in South City, August jumps at the chance to join his father’s cause, to prove he’s more than a weapon. He enrolls as a student to spy on Kate. But Kate discovers his secret, and when an assassin tries to kill her and frame August for it, they’re forced to run for their lives, together.
This isn’t a sparkly vampire novel. There’s a fair amount of violence, and the book’s darker aspects could be disturbing to some readers. But overall, I thought it was a stunning, unique tale about what it means to be human.
By day, Constance is a mild-mannered elementary school employee who is far more outgoing on social media than in person. But once the sun sets, she transforms into a hangry were-novelist in search of the perfect writing spot.