By Courtenay


“Good and bad were weak words. Monsters did not care about intentions or ideals.”


“He could be the monster if that kept others human.”

This Savage Song is set in a world where monsters are created through violent acts. Kate Harker has just returned home after being kicked out of yet another boarding school with the intention of proving herself worthy of inheriting the empire of monsters her father has acquired. August Flynn is just attempting to get by in a world where he does not know his place. Although the set up seems a little Romeo and Juliet-esque with the rival factions within the same city, there is no romance in this book, which is a refreshing change from the saturation of romance subplots commonly found in YA.

While there were actions that I disagreed with the characters taking, I can see why they may have chosen to do so. The book just didn’t grip me for a variety of reasons, mostly I think because the book was written with a YA audience in mind and, unfortunately, I think that it detracted from how great this story could have been. The characters are there-I mean who can resist a musical prodigy who loves poetry and has a tortured past. The balance of the story just felt off. Maybe it was the atmosphere that was lacking. Maybe I wanted more terror. Maybe I wanted the story to be set closer to the beginning of when the events started occurring, not when people had grown used to functioning in a new world.

While I enjoyed reading this novel, I didn’t love it. Overall, I enjoyed the writing and the general semblance of the plot, but I felt that some of the world building suffered in the type of narratives used to tell the story. I thought that this book was a decent introduction to the world, but the concept is just so big and complex that I think YA was the wrong venue to place the story within.  Although the city is divided into two, there’s almost no explanation for why the rivalry between the two main families developed. There’s also a strange absence of politics. I get that this is a city that has become overrun by a phenomena that creates monsters, but I wanted more politics in how the two sides were operating and why they were allowed to operate that way. I think the story would have been much better if it utilized older characters and perspectives, but maybe I’m just one of those people who don’t see how a pair of rag tag teenagers could change the world that they are living in.