Good, but not memorable: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab [Review]

23299512This Savage Song by Victoria (V.E.) Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity #1
First published in June 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Tags: Young AdultFantasy

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: Purchased

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There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

I don’t know how long this review will be, because I honestly don’t have that much to say. I have a very on-again-off-again relationship with V.E. Schwab. I gave Vicious a glowing 5 star review, it’s one of my all-time favorites and everyone should read it, but A Darker Shade of Magic bored me to tears. 

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First Impressions: A Gathering of Shadows

a gathering of shadows review

Well, this is not going to be a proper review, because I’ve only read the preview from NetGalley, though it was a lot longer than I thought it would be. I think it was the first 155 pages or so, at least according to my kindle. 

A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in V.E. Schwab’s fantasy series Shades of Magic. As you might know, I didn’t really like the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, but I wanted to read this preview just to see if I’d like it better. And yeah, I think I do, at least a little bit. Maybe enough to buy the book and finish it. 

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

a darker shade of magic reviewA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Published by Tor Books in February 2015
Pages: 398
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
a darker shade of magic

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

I couldn’t be bothered to write my own synopsis this time, so you’re going to have to deal with the mile-long Goodreads one. 

First off, let me remind you how much I love Vicious. I love it so much, I read it in one single sitting and it became one of my all-time favorite books. I basically inhaled that book. I sat down and sucked it in like a dementor sucking in a soul and it was glorious. So naturally, after reading that deliciousness I couldn’t wait to start this one because people have raved and raved and raved about it. 

Magic, parallel worlds, a royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness (Victoria Schwab’s own description of him), blood magic, magic coats, pirate girls… What could go wrong? Well. Buckle up and prepare for some unpopular opinions. 

I started reading it this summer and I didn’t finish it until right now. That’s slightly more than just one sitting. Let me tell you why. 

It is SO BORING. Like literally so boring. Things happen, it’s not that, it’s just the writing. The writing in this book is bland and lifeless and not at all engaging. That’s the main problem. It doesn’t come alive or spring from the page, it’s just… there. I zoned out constantly and kept having to go back several pages because I had no idea what was going on.

It’s just incredibly hard to get into and I never got into it, no matter how hard I wanted to (because I really wanted to). Every time I put it down I didn’t want to pick it back up, so it became a chore to finish. It had some good moments here and there, usually involving Holland and/or Rhy, but other than that it was a pretty dry read, unfortunately. I know I’m blaspheming right now, but there you go.

I was glad to see I’m not the only one who felt this way. When I skimmed through a couple Goodreads reviews I found Darth J, who felt the same way about the writing as I do (high five, Darth J). They used the perfect image in their review to describe this book:

read me like one of your textbooks

The only quote that stuck with me is this one, and it’s the one I’ve seen everywhere else. 

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

Things I actually liked:

  • The cover
  • Holland (He gave me angsty feels. I wish he had a larger role)
  • Rhy (yay bisexual princes)
  • Rhy and Kell’s relationship (sibling dynamics is my weakness)
  • Kell’s black eye
  • It ended kind of like a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Take me to the horizon. 

Unfortunately, the things I liked didn’t make my reading more enjoyable. And I rate books mostly on my enjoyment, so it’s with a heavy heart that I give this beloved book such a low rating. It’s not that it’s a bad book necessarily, it’s just that it didn’t hit me in any way, shape, or form. 

Don’t kill me D: 


Am I just weird or do you agree? You probably don’t but let’s discuss it anyway. 

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Review: Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Vicious by V. E. Schwab
Published by Tor Books
on September 23rd 2013
Pages: 364
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Buy: Amazon | Bookdepository
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In this book we meet two young college roommates and best friends, Victor and Eli, who, through some pretty dramatic research, figure out how to get superpowers. All for the sake of their thesis on Extra-Ordinaries, of course. And then things go very wrong. Flashforward into the future, Victor breaks out of prison to look for Eli, his now arch nemesis, and kill him. And Eli has a terrible plot going on himself. 

THIS BOOK IS FUCKING AMAZING. Excuse my French. It’s that good though, I’m flailing over here just trying to express how much I loved it. I read this book earlier this summer and I’m still in awe. I read it in one sitting, completely hypnotized, and it went straight onto my favorites shelf after I was done. This book has been very hyped up, but for me it definitely lived up to it. 

Not only are the characters great and the plot something I haven’t read before, but Victoria Schwab’s writing style is so beautiful. I fell in love with it right away. 

“Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.” 

This book is about superheroes and supervillains. It’s got the whole “what makes a villain and what makes a hero” thing going on that I really like. Victor is the perfect anti-hero for me, I really liked him as a character, flaws and all. I think he might be one of my favorite fictional characters. And Eli… well. When I read the portion of this book that took place during their college years I imagined these boys kind of like I imagine a college aged Sherlock Holmes (the BBC version). So that tells you a little bit what kind of characters they are: ambitious, kind of arrogant, and dangerously brilliant but with a touch of loneliness and desperation. I loved their relationship and the complexity of it. Where are my Victor/Eli college years fanfics? Someone get on that.

“All Eli had to do was smile. All Victor had to do was lie. Both proved frighteningly effective.”

There were other great characters in this book apart from Victor and Eli and they were all fleshed out and complex. I’m going to mention Sydney especially, a young girl with a truly tragic story. It was heartbreaking to read from her perspective sometimes. And Mitch, bless him, another great character.

Even if you’re not into superheroes I really recommend you try this book. Actually I recommend it to everyone and their mother. I think my mother would like it. It’s fast paced and brilliantly written. I think some of my favorite parts were actually the scenes that described their attempts at getting superpowers, it was so creepy and dark and such a clever idea. When I read it I was actually like “yeah, that makes perfect sense.”

I think this book has great crossover appeal from the young adult genre. If you usually only read YA it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to read this.

Read this book now. Just do it.