Monsters of Verity #1: This Savage Song (V.E. Schwab)

See I just finished this book in one day. You don’t get it.

I took two – 3 weeks to complete Furthermore. Not that Furthermore was bad. It was lyrical and slow and okay but V.E. Schwab’s writing is definitely for me.

Holy shit.

This book. Climax from start to end.

So we have Kate Harker, the only child of a man who controls half the city’s people and monsters. A man who makes people pay for protection and if they don’t, they are free meat for his monsters. On the other side of the city, we have August Flynn, the third adopted child of a man who controls his side. A man who has an army set out to only kill monsters and people who have sinned. Pick a side.

Let’s get this out of the way first: there are three type of monsters, Corsai, Malchai (pronounced Mal-kai, I’ve been pronouncing it as Mal-chai and now it’s too late to go back) and Sunnai. Corsai feed on everything dead or alive. Malchai feed on blood – may or may not have a preference on the prey being alive or dead. Sunnai feed on souls <specifically human souls that have done evil.

But anyway, let’s get back to the story. Kate and August end up getting tangled in a mess that sparks a war between both sides. And it ain’t got nothing to do with romance. Ho ho ho.

Okay, first of all. I really love V.E. Schwab’s pacing and writing. It just keeps going. I mean it’s quite the challenge to keep up. Like I’m not a wait-er especially when I know something is coming up but the writing is purposely pushing it further and further away. But damn, this book has me hooked on every page. I just click so well with her style of writing unlike any other.

And her characters! Okay Kate is quite hard to like. But. She is smart. That I will give to her. Don’t get me wrong. She doesn’t make the best of decisions but I definitely know why and how she would think the decisions she’s making is the best for her given what she has gone through. So I like that even though I’m like ‘Kate, why?!’, I’m also like, ‘Urgh, I understand.’ And don’t get me started on August Flynn. He’s great. He’s a monster, I mean not monstrous but his being: he IS a monster, a Sunnai. He is a beautiful thing. Naive but not dumb. Resilient but not invincible. He has a lot of heart.

I love this book. So I did the next logical thing, go to Goodreads and read the 1 star -2 star reviews.

People hate the characters, people hate the world building – or lack thereof -, people hate that there’s no plot until too late.


I can see why people won’t like the characters, especially Kate. Kate is set-up to be unlikeable anyway. She comes off as a self-entitled brat. She is. She even admits to it. So although it makes her uncomfortable to read, her story makes sense. Like, I can see why she is the way she is, you know? If everyone is bowing down to you, it only makes that much more sense that you find it weird that someone isn’t. And August, people say he’s a whiny trash, whining about how he doesn’t want to be a monster. But I don’t know, man, I just found that all the more endearing. He didn’t come off as whiny to me though. Who was he whining to? To himself? If anything he just came off as very considerate, too considerate of others at his own expense. Some also comment how there are no grey characters and everyone’s black and white. I actually see Leo to be grey. Callum Harker (Kate’s dad) may or may not be black. I don’t know what Callum Harker’s motivation is in trying to stir shit. But true, it is not that hard to pick a side in this book. But should it have to be hard?

Let’s get to the world building. Ok I have to say, I actually have issues with how the monsters work and how everything is going down in this city. It took me really long to have a solid understanding of why the Harkers were against the Flynns, why they each had different kind of monsters working for them, what their motivations were etc. It took me really long to understand how August worked – how his tattoos worked, how his hunger worked, how his fall worked, the difference between feeding and falling – really long. But my understanding did get better as I continued reading the book. And I think I actually prefer this kind of book – or maybe this plot and August’s monster qualities were very interesting to learn about – because I was willing to wait for my answers. This is the kind of book that really requires a re-read. The first time for the rules, the second time to enjoy it.

The question of plot. Hmm. Okay, I see the relevance of this point. Yes. A lot of nothing happens until Kate and August have their first interaction and then a lot of nothing happens as well. But I was hooked on to it because I knew something was going to happen. August was practically tasked to get close to Kate so that his side can use her as leverage. He knew that before he even interacted with her, we knew that. But leverage for what impending doom? In the backdrop of this, we can see that the Harkers and the Flynns are starting to have differences, the divide between the cities is slowly being challenged. War is going to happen, that much we all know, but how? How is shit going to go down? I’m glued in for that bruh. And I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions the Kate and August shared because everything is subliminally building up to the inevitable war.

And something to add on the plot, if you take away the monsters and the fantastical element to this, I actually will agree that this plot will read as an average coming-of-age story where Kate learns she is not and will never be her dad and August will learn to embrace himself. But why take those beautiful elements away? These elements are really great. The different types of monsters, how they come about, what their weaknesses and strengths are, were all very interesting to learn about.  The very concept of these monsters are great. They are born from violent acts. Because violence breeds violence. Evil breeds evil. Very curious.

But despite the issues I might have had with this book and the issues that I see why others would dislike it….

5/5 bruh. Take it.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Our Dark Duet, here I come. I’ve actually been spoiled for the deaths in our dark duet. I’m quite scared to pick it up actually. Gah.

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