ARC Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

51ait2bmdvulTitle: This Savage Song

Author: Victoria Schwab

Series: Monsters of Verity #1

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: July 5, 2016

Source: e-galley provided through Edelweiss by the publisher

 

 

 

 

 

I received a free e-galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes the honesty of this review.

Um, guys? I LOVED THIS BOOK. So many reasons to love this book, but the main one was: this story was incredibly gripping. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve done a review (Sorry. I just started grad school and am still working full time), so remember, I keep things spoiler free! If you want to discuss finer points, please message me here or on Twitter! Without further ado, here is your synopsis from Amazon:

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed 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, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.

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. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.

1. The protagonists were AMAZING.

This book follows to main characters: Kate Harker and August Flynn. One is the daughter of a rich man who offers protection for money (who, I might add, has his own army of monsters). The other is a monster – a Sunai – the most rare type of monsters in this crazy world. They both have parts about themselves that they hate, and they battle this beautifully in the book. A lot of the book is with them being apart, but once they meet, they are able to bring out the best in each other. They come from completely different backgrounds (and believe me when I say COMPLETELY DIFFERENT), but find themselves thrown together on this crazy adventure. Their growth and development over the course of just a book is astounding, and a true testament to Schwab’s incredible talent. Even though her characters live in a world we know nothing about, it is so easy to relate to them, commiserate with their troubles, and celebrate their successes.

2. The world building is INSANELY GOOD.

Sorry for all of the shouty caps so far, but believe me that this book deserves them. A lot of this book was world building. Of course, as readers, we all know that that is a necessary part in a book one. A lot of times, I will get bogged down with the details of world building and get really bored, but not so here. This world is a world destroyed and divided. The enemies are not only monsters, but the monsters that live within “normal” people that create the monsters. North City is where Harker rules. He doles out protection to the people who inhabit his city in the form of medallions that repel the Malchai and Corsai monsters that inhabit the dark. Harker has a “pet” Malchai named Sloan who is basically his butler and the thing that carries out tasks that would get his own hands dirty. The monsters themselves are even part of the world. Malchai and Corsai are both formed after violence is committed. Malchai look like monsters and are mostly bone, so they are hard to kill. Corsai reside in the dark, and abhor UV lights, so they’re a little like vampires…but also not. Sunai are formed from mass murders, like mass suicides or mass shootings. Anyway, the South is run by the Flynns, who are basically fighting for their lives. They have an active military, and do not charge a fee for their protection. As long as you are a good person and are willing to work, you earn their favor. I’m not going to say much else about the world, since that gives away a lot about the story, but aren’t you intrigued?

3. The villains. OOOOHHHHHH, the villains!

This book is a little along the lines of American Horror Story, where you don’t truly know who the monsters are. Yes, there are monsters that inhabit the world, but are they really that bad, or is it the humans that make them that way? The humans in this world are sometimes as bad as the monsters. One of August’s “special talents” is that he can see the darkness on people. When someone commits a violent act (which creates a Malchai or a Corsai, depending on the severity), their shadow has a stain on it. It shows their evil to August. Sunai (the type of monster August is) are the great equalizers. They are there to even the balance between good and evil. Aaaand that’s all I’ll say on that. However, we never really know who the true villain is here. Is it Kate’s dad, who will stop at nothing to keep his power? Is it Sloan, the one who seems to be raising his own army? Is it Flynn, who will also stop at nothing to keep his city safe? Is it August, who is a monster? Is it Kate, who buys into everything her father says? Or, is it something completely different? I’ll never tell. Read. It.

OVERALL: FIVE STARS!!! Couldn’t you tell, with all the shouty caps? Anyway, I know I only gave you three points here, but I feel they’re extremely descriptive without giving anything away, so I think I get a pass. This was the first Schwab book I have read in its entirety and I need to go out and get all of her other books immediately. The world was stunning, the characters were amazing, and the writing was top notch. Get thee to a book store to get yourself a copy on July 5, 2016! Links below!

Amazon: Get it here!

Barnes & Noble: Get it here!

Visit the Goodreads page here!

 

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ARC Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

51crgzr20qlTitle: And I Darken

Author: Kiersten White

Series: The Conquerors Saga #1

Pages: 496

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: June 28, 2016

Source: E-Galley provided by the publisher

 

 

 

 

This is my first review in awhile, so stick with me here, okay?

I was provided with a free e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion on the book.

1. Ladislav is the most bad ass heroine I’ve seen in a long time.

Lada’s father is awful. Like, I’m not sure he’s even capable of love kind of awful. However, Lada is just like her father. He is vicious and cruel and wild. While Lada is the unwanted, weak female in a world that values males, she tends to surpass her brother, Radu, in everything – even though he is a boy. Lada fights for everything she wants. She is seen as ugly, but she is so strong-willed that she is noticed by the soldiers, her father, and feared by her brother. She is more vicious and ruthless than any boy her age running around her castle. I can’t tell you a lot about the story, because a lot happens, but Lada was definitely my favorite part.

2. There is a lot of questions about religion in this book. Normally, this would make me uncomfortable, but when I considered when this took place, it actually made a ton of sense.

Because of some unforeseen circumstances, Lada and her little brother Radu end up in the grasp of the Ottoman empire. The two siblings came from a world of one religion (usually fire, blood, sacrifice, and death) and thrown into the Muslim-run country that they were brought up to adore. The more he learns about The Prophet (peace be upon him), the more Radu is drawn to the foreign religion of his adopted land. Lada rages against the Prophet, and is violently angry toward the religion. She is desperate for her home of Wallachia, and will never forget it until she is returned to it, so anything non-Wallachian is horrible to her. A lot of this book is a question of morality, what is right, love, and religion. Normally, that would be something that would make me roll my eyes, but this is done extremely well. White does this in a way that doesn’t intend to try and sway her readers into believing what her characters believe – simply there just for a story, which I LOVED.

3. This is my third Kiersten White book, and there was NO. PARANORMAL.

This is something that I’ve come to expect from White, but honestly there is no complaint from me here. It’s like historical fiction – except the horrible man in charge is changed into a female, which is so awesome! The preview I read on Amazon says that it’s for fans of Game of Thrones, and that is definitely correct. If you liked the Song of Ice and Fire books, then this YA version is most definitely for you. Kiersten White did a fantastic job with this. It may seem heavy, but it is most definitely a feminist book. In a time when females were NOT valued, Lada makes a name for herself and is powerful when she shouldn’t be. What’s better than that?!

 

OVERALL: 4 STARS! I know I didn’t tell you a lot here, but that’s because SO. MUCH. HAPPENS. I honestly don’t even know what you would consider a spoiler because there is just so much here. It feels like the entire history of Lada’s life, and the end catches up with her present. This was beautifully written, especially if you like historical fiction. This book comes out on June 28, 2016 so if you’re down for some medieval adventure, go forth and preorder!!

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads