Who’s more monstrous: the monsters or the humans? | This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

thissavagesongThe city of Verity is divided in half. The North half is run by¬†Callum Harker who has a team of monsters working for him. If you’d like he’ll protect you, but it comes at a price. The South half is run by Flynn who has exactly three Sunai and an army of humans to help him keep the peace. August is one of those Sunai and all he wants is to be human. When the Flynns hear that Callum’s daughter, Kate, is coming back to town, they register August at her school to try to get close to her. Kate, meanwhile, is just trying to show her father that she can be valuable to him–that she’s more like him and nothing like her weak mother. The truce between the two halves of the city is crumbling and both August and Kate will need to decide which side they’re going to end up on.

I read a preview for this book and really enjoyed it, but then I read some less than favorable reviews on it and that made me a little hesitant to pick it up. Honestly? I shouldn’t have been. I really enjoyed this book and I thought that Schwab did such a great job creating this city. It’s a post-apocalyptic America. There’s an event that’s referenced a few times throughout the book, but I don’t think we’re every really told what that event is. Whatever it is, it created three different types of monsters. I thought the distinction between the three types of “monster” was very interesting. Honestly, it’s like…everything just kind of makes sense. This type of event creates this monster and so forth. Even though this is a world that doesn’t exist, I feel like the logic is still there and that made the book a lot easier for me to read.

As far as characters go, I thought August was a great character. I really enjoyed reading from his point of view and I felt like the reader was really supposed to sympathize with him. Even though he’s the “monster”, he still has these really human feelings and I was rooting for him the whole time. Kate, on the other hand, I could care less about. I didn’t like her very much as a character and even though she kind of redeemed herself in the end, she didn’t really. I liked that even though there was kind of a romance between these two characters, it was very subtle and definitely not at the forefront of either characters’ mind. That just seemed more realistic to me given the circumstances.

I thought the setting was really quite amazing. This world that Schwab has created is fascinating to me. She didn’t spend too much time describing setting details but she spent enough time that I really felt like I could see the city and buildings. More than that, I felt like she did a really good job creating an appropriate atmosphere that matched the story.

Overall, I thought this book was really quite good and I look forward to the rest of the series. I feel like there are some things that still need to be explained and I hope that the author is able to explain those things in a reasonable way. This was the first book that I’ve read from Schwab, but now I’m definitely looking forward to reading more.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Mild

ANNOTATION: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

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Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Genre: Horror

Publication Date and # pages: May 13, 2014; 272 pages

Plot Summary:¬†There’s something out there that’s making people kill themselves and if you see it, you’re dead. Mal doesn’t believe in this “monster”–she thinks¬†everything’s¬†gotten blown out of proportion by the media. But one¬†day she finds her sister¬†lying on the bathroom floor with a pair of scissors sticking out of her chest. Alone and pregnant, Mal answers an ad from the newspaper. She finds herself with a new group of housemates who are just trying to figure out how to survive in this new world. This story follows Mal and the housemates through those first few months and also gives the reader glimpses of what the world will be like five years later.

Characteristics of Horror: Sense of unease throughout, erratic pacing, haunted/vulnerable characters, supernatural monsters, unresolved ending, moments of surprise

Appeal Terms: Sympathetic characters, nightmarish tone, deliberate pacing, violent

Read-alikes: The Silence by Tim Lebbon; Cell by Stephen King; I Am Legend by Richard Matheson