“It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.” // Review of “This Savage Song” by V. E. Schwab

Title: This Savage Song
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: YA/fantasy/dystopian
Date Read: 18/08/2016 – 22/08/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

I’m starting to think V. E. Schwab is a one-hit wonder for me. I loved A Darker Shade of Magic, but every other book I’ve read by her, including this one, has been a bit of a disappointment in comparison.

Verity City is split into two parts; in one, you pay for Callum Harker’s protection from the monsters. In the other, Henry Flynn’s task force protects the public. Kate Harker and August Flynn come from two very different worlds, but after an assassination attempt, are thrown together in an uneasy alliance and discover that the truce between two sides of the Seam is breaking, and not everything is as it seems.

One of my main issues with this novel was that I never warmed to the main characters. I think I was supposed to think Kate was really badass, but I can’t support a character who burns down school buildings simply because she doesn’t want to be there, and who pulls a knife on schoolmates just beacuse she was called a freak. I actually didn’t mind August too much at first, but once I realised he was one of those monster characters who just wants to be human, and will do everything to ignore his monster instincts, which puts a lot of people in very immient danger… then I rolled my eyes at him and wanted him to just suck it up.

I did like the premise of the novel, that people’s sins manifested into real monsters. The monsters came in three different types, all were well-established as creepy. What puzzled me, though, was that there seemed to be no additional effort to curtail people’s violence. If you knew that punching that guy would lead to a new monster on the streets, would you actually punch them? And where was the incredibly strict law enforcement? There wasn’t really much detail about how the USA had become the dystopia it is now, and thus it seemed strange that there would just be these two powerful families fighting monsters while everyone else just carried on.

It may be that the speed I was reading (because for all of this, dammit, Schwab keeps you reading) at made me miss details, but I did sometimes find the plot a bit confusing; the Truce between the two halves of the city was clearly breaking, but I kept getting confused about who was betraying who, and I thought the reveals towards the end got a bit far-fetched.

Having said all that, there is no denying the Schwab is a good writer. I read the book quite quickly, as her writing style is easy to follow and keeps you turning pages.I just wish I had been able to get a bit more involved.


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#WWW Wednesday – 24 August, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

thissavagesongcoverI finished This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab and while I liked the plot, I never really warmed to either of the main characters, so that let it down for me. I’ll go into more detail in my review, which will go up on Friday.

My reviews of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling et al and Tallow by Karen Brooks both went up in the past week.

What are you currently reading?

birdmanswifecoverMy main focus at the moment is The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley, which I received from NetGalley. This is historical fiction based on the life of the illustrator Elizabeth Gould. I’m about a third of the way through and John Gould’s demands and taking for granted of his wife are making me frowny, but the fact that she was so overshadowed by her husband is partially why the author set out to the write the book, so I am glad this book exists.

I am still going on Votive by Karen Brooks and The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. I have about five hours left of Votive, so I’ll probably finish it in the next couple of days. I am still enjoying it but it’s way too long! I didn’t relaly feel like returning to the world of the Rook immediately after This Savage Song, hence checking out The Birdman’s Wife first.

What do you think you’ll read next?

paperandfirecoverPaper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine is waiting for me at the library, so that will be next. The reviews have been mixed but I hope I like it as much as I liked the first one. After that, back to my extensive list of ebooks and physical books that I own and need to get through.

That’s all from me today. I’ve decided to take a bit of a hiatus from WIPpet Wednesday while I’m editing rather than writing. See you on your blogs!

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 17 August, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What did you recently finish reading?

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My partner ended up buying Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and so I ended up reading it a lot sooner than I expected. It wasn’t perfect, but I actually really enjoyed it! It probably helps that I haven’t really been involved in Harry Potter fandom since 2008, so I was able to shrug off the more dubious parts more easily. And being a theatre person used to reading scripts also helped as well, I guess. I wish I could see the play now, I think it must be amazing! My review for this will go up on Friday.

tallowcover  I finished the audio of Tallow by Karen Brooks this morning. This was a good series opener, though it really was setting up for things to come. I do like the alternate-Venice setting though. It’s really fresh and original. And I got quite invested in the romance, which is unusual for me in a YA series!

Reviews of Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant, and Am I Black Enough For You? by Anita Heiss went up this week. Anita Heiss retweeted the link to my review, and it subsequently got retweeted by 24 other people, which then translated two days where my blog stats were off-the-charts (at least compared to my usual traffic). So that made me happy.

  • What are you currently reading?

therookcoverI am still going on The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. I’ve really only been squeezing in reading time on my lunch break this past week so this one is going slowly. Fortunately, it’s borrowed from a friend rather than the library, so I don’t need to worry about impending due dates (though it does make me paranoid about breaking the spine or doing it other such damage that has usually already happened to the library book).

votivecoverVotive by Karen Brooks is my new audio book, as I finished Tallow this morning. From the reviews, it sounds like this one gets a lot darker than the first book.  At 23 hours long, it is the longest audio book I’ve committed to by about 7 hours, but I’m trying not to pick anything else up at the library at the moment, so I’m rolling with it. (I know, I know, some of you are able to get through 40 hour ones quite easily, but if it’s faster to read the book than listen to it, I usually try to go with that option).

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

thissavagesongcoverI know I just said above that I was avoiding getting anything from the library, but This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab has come in for me after several weeks on hold, so I’ll be picking it up tomorrow. I’ll probably put The Rook on hold to read this as it is likely to be a popular title and therefore only have a two week loan period rather than four.

And now for WIPpet Wednesday. This is another blog hop in which writers share excerpts from their current WIP that somehow relate to the date. Clicking the blue guy on the right will take you to the linkup for this one.

I decided to share from Operation Sugarplum this week, since that is where my interest is at the moment. For those newer to these parts, this is my modern-day retelling of the Nutcracker. In  this scene, Max is battling an Evil Creature, and for context, the sword he has just produced is magic and can only be used in defence. That isn’t explained here, but does come up later when Clara tries to use it to attack someone. I have complicated maths this week! ((1+7)/16) x 8 = 4 paragraphs.

“Ah,” it said. “It has to be this way, then?”

“I guess it does,” Max replied.

“What if I don’t touch you? What then?”

“Well, then, you might as well turn around now because I won’t come with you willingly. If you’re going to make your King happy, there’s going to have to be some sort of confrontation here, and that means I’ll be able to use it. And then I’ll beat you.”

Max is awfully confident for someone whose magical abilities have been an abstract concept/training exercise up until now. Let’s just say it’s a good thing Clara is spectating.

I think this is the first time I’ve shared from this story this year. You can read more excerpts by clicking here. Bear in mind, I’m working on the second draft now, so things are liable to change a bit.

All right, better finish this up! See you all later!

~ Emily


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