This is only my second ever Victoria Schwab book. I know. You might have seen my review of A Darker Shade of Magic and wondered how I liked the sequels. But I have not read them yet. Sorry. But the lovely Hannah from Ink and Myths gifted me This Savage Song so we could buddy read it! Here I am starting a different Schwab series…
Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.
August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.
Their city is divided.
Their city is crumbling.
Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.
But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?
So the thing I enjoyed the most about This Savage Song was the concept behind the story. Violence breeds monsters. Our darkest actions manifesting in shadows with teeth. With the addition of August’s violin magic, and the entire Sunai world building. I am a huge fan of themes that present themselves as questions like what defines monstrosity? In a world where we think monsters can be identified, protected against, what happens when there are monsters in plain sight? When the ones who wear medals of protection are hiding violent streaks, manipulative lies, and under the cover of darkness.
In terms of characters, I loved how dedicated, clever, and reckless seeming Kate was. How desperately she wants the approval of her father and how relatable that was. At the same time, August is trying desperately to fight the pull of what he was, to try to not let the shadows and expectations consume him. But while I enjoyed these elements, I felt that the lead up action was introduced pretty slowly (although that might be a specific feature of Schwab’s work).
I was pretty convinced to keep reading, I just felt like it took a while to get started. At the same time, towards the ending I wish there had been a little more space in the story devoted to the character introspection. Like decisions made that had a lot of weight, and I wish we had a bit of space to delve into their minds and choices.
Overall, I’m still very intrigued by Our Dark Duet, especially considering the ending. It’s a story that asks us whether we are hiding parts of our true nature from the people around us. Or ourselves.