Twelve years since the Phenomenon, when violence started taking shape, and V-City fell apart.

Six years since the truce that put it back together, not as one city, but two.

Kate Harker and August Flynn come from powerful, rival families on opposite sides of a city divided. Where the worst deeds carried out by men literally create monsters, the citizens look to these families for protection. Kate has bounced from school to school, finding new ways to be expelled. All she wants is to return home, prove her father that she is a worthy daughter. And August? He is one of those monsters, created by the worst kind of crime.

This Savage Song is a promising start to the Monsters of Verity series, setting up a world in which violent crime manifests itself in monsters. There are three different types, each created by different types of crime; Malchai, Corsai and Sunai. The Malchai and Corsai didn’t seem all that different, both vampiresque, but the Sunai is the one we learn most about, as that is what August is, although he wishes he were human.

It does take a while to get into, there’s a lot of information about the world to introduce. It didn’t feel like one of those books where it wouldn’t matter if you hadn’t picked up on the context of the world. Once I got into it though, I really enjoyed it and I think it has plenty of mileage as a series. I would have liked a more gradual, and therefore maybe mysterious, introduction.

The Sunai are created out of acts of violence which result in the loss of multiple lives. You would think the worst crimes would create the worst monsters, but August and his siblings seem more like the judicial system of the monsters. They feed off sin with music that steals the soul. If they don’t feed, well you’ll learn what happens.

Kate is the daughter of the criminal boss of one side of the city, the one that is supposedly safer, but only if you’re under his protection. She isn’t under any illusion that her father is a good man, but the truth is harder than even she expected. There’s plenty of that classic YA theme about discovering truth and the realisation that family are flawed people too.

He’d been talking about monsters, not teenagers, but they had a lot in common. Both had hive minds; they thought – and acted – in groups.

August is sent to school to get close to Kate but this is not a romance. I started the book expecting to feel like one party had been used, but a reluctant friendship, of sorts, forms between the two. On one hand is a daughter who wants to get on the good side of a criminal father, the other is a monster created through sin, but somehow you end up rooting for both of them.

This Savage Song is published by Titan Books and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive | Wordery

Also reviewed @ A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.