This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

by - September 10, 2019

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (2016)

This book doesn't have a conventional enemies-to-lovers set-up (though it is enemies to lovers). But it's still god-tier, because Victoria Schwab is god-tier.

Quick categories

Steamy hatefuck scale: 2/5

  • Honestly, it's so funny how much heat they lack considering who they are. At one point Kate shoves August against some lockers. At one point August yells at Kate for being terrible. But they never do it with the real intent to harm each other. Even when they realize they are enemies, they can't bring themselves to hurt each other. So, absolutely zero hatefuck, but that's not a bad thing. Read on below to learn why the dynamic is still so appealing.

Secret softness scale: 5/5

  • IT'S AMAZING HOW TWO MONSTROUS CHARACTERS CAN BE SO SOFT WITH EACH OTHER. There's a significant difference with how August and Kate act with other people... versus with each other. They see through each other's bullshit. They know they're both outcasts, both different, both struggling. It's so beautiful to see them click. They have a tradition of sitting with each other by the track field every daytwo kids who would so much rather be alone, but end up together. They slowly reveal their pasts, their insecurities, their true selves. And they just get so much closer from then on.

I actually gave a shit about other things scale: 4/5
  • August is so sweet and adorable but honestly, I'm in love with Leo. Maybe bastard characters are just my type lol. His motivations make perfect sense despite the plot twist. The novel's setting is also kind of weird; I originally assumed it was dystopian, not urban fantasy, but eventually I got into it. My only real complaint is that I wish we could spend more time with the other characters because everyone was so intriguing! I loved Ilsa. I loved Sloan. I even miss August's schoolmates. 
For fans of Broody Hero X and Ferocious Heroine Y:

August is a sad, adorable, shy monster boy who does not want to kill people even if he's forced to. But he loves his family above everything and will do all it takes to protect them. He's a cross between Azriel from A Court of Thorns and Roses and... Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion, maybe? I promise that's a good thing!! He just wants so desperately to be human. To be normal.

Kate, in contrast, wants nothing more than to prove her monstrosity so her father will finally acknowledge her. But as cruel as she acts... it's just an act. She's actually a good person. She reminds me of Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. FYI, I freaking loved Kate from the beginning.

On to the actual review...

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

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.

The City of Verity is divided into two. The North is ruled by Callum Harker, a ruthless man who demands payment for his protection. Forget payment and you'll be fed to the monsters he keeps. Henry Flynn rules the South. Here he treats the three deadliest monsters as familyhe's adopted them as his childrenand also commands a task force that keeps his citizens safe. But everyone, no matter where they are, lives in fear of the monsters hiding in the dark. Harker and Flynn may rule, but their power is tenuous at bestthey're only both human.

Kate Harker just wants her father to love her. So she tries to be as cruel as he is; she commits arson, threatens her schoolmates, and kills monsters. August Flynn just wants to be normal. But he can't, because his father is Henry Flynn, and his brother Leo is a zealous monster who takes pride in killing criminals. When Kate and August meet at school, August knows he has to keep an eye on her... and possibly hurt her, if necessary. But both of them are outcasts who don't fit in, so they're instantly drawn to each other.


I want to emphasize that THIS SAVAGE SONG is not actually a romance novel. It's an urban fantasy with hints of romance. And unlike other fantasies, it actually starts quite slow. Kate and August spend lots of time dealing with their own internal struggles, unsuccessfully fitting in at school, and interacting with their family. It takes a while for the plot to get rolling. And when they do meet, August is hiding his true identity, so they don't actually act like enemies.

Normally, this would make me dismiss it as not truly enemies to lovers. But August and Kate's interactions are just so sincere, well-developed, and believable. Kate sees through August's attempts to blend in. August sees through Kate's attempts to be a cold-hearted bitch. He's the only one that isn't afraid of her. She's the only one that knows what it's like to be different. They fit.

And while it doesn't have the usual romance aspects (SPOILER: they don't kiss or confess their feelings, at least not in Book 1), it still feels like one. You can tell that they really do care for each other. They have amazing chemistry. They have no reason to keep saving each other and yet they do, over and over again. There is love thereso wickedly ironic, considering August is a monster who struggles with human emotions, and Kate tries so desperately to be monstrous and inhuman.

It's a brilliant dynamic, and I recommend this book just for it. The characters are so likable too. I adored Kate from the start because I'm always a fan of ferocious female characters. August is so deliciously conflicted; he just wants to be normal and human.

And their interactions with their family members are also wonderful. August really loves his family. Leo and Ilsa (his adopted siblings), despite being monsters too, show that they care in their own way. August does say that Ilsa loves Leo. And while he canonically says Leo can't love anyoneI personally disagree. He's twisted, but he does show that he careshe just does it in such a monstrous way.

Kate, too, is so well fleshed out. She really loved her mother. She just wants to be acknowledged by her father. Her character is just so achingly real. Both August and Kate are relatable on so many levels.


Frankly, there's nothing very original about the plot or the setting. But in Enemies to Lovers Reviews we love tropes done well, so I have no complaints. Even Schwab herself described this book as Romeo and Juliet-esque, I think.

Just a quick comment: I already said it before but the genre was a bit confusing at first lol. It really read like a dystopian sci-fi novel at the beginning. The country is torn apart, some cataclysmic event has killed numerous people, and now monsters are born from it. But it's really an urban fantasy. The monsters are created when tragedy occurs and human lives are lost. I don't fully understand why it only happened recently (maybe all the violence reached a tipping point? IDK) but eh. This book came out in 2016.

TL;DR YES I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK! It's fantastic and stands on its own. The "romance" is just the icing on the cake because THIS SAVAGE SONG is so much more than that. Plus, the writing is beautiful. The prose is simple but brilliant. There were some lines that just took my breath away.

Also, there's a creepy lullaby in this book and let me leave you with it:

“Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They're gonna come and eat you all.
Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.
Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul.
Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They're gonna come and eat you all!”

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