Malachai, Corsai, Sunai, oh my!


Rachel Laposka

Victoria Schwab’s young adult dystopian novel “This Savage Song” follows the hardships of two teenagers in an unstable city on the brink of war. By constructing a novel unlike anything she has done before, Schwab issues a novel anyone can enjoy.

Rachel Laposka, Staff Writer

In a literary world full of cookie-cutter dystopian novels, Victoria Schwab veers onto her own path with “This Savage Song.”  Diving into a world divided by monsters and humans, two unlucky teenagers have to put aside differences to team up and try to prevent another war.

The story starts in Verity, a city on the brink of war between Callum Harker on the north side and Henry Flynn on the south side. Verity had been unstable since the Phenomenon — an armageddon of sorts that bred monsters in the midst of the violence. Three breeds of monster came from the Phenomenon: the Corsai, the Malachai, and the Sunai.

Harker has rallied the Malachi, a breed of monster that is nothing short of a vampire, to aid him in the war. Flynn, on the other hand, only had three monsters, but the rarest and deadliest of all — the Sunai. 

It would not be a young adult dystopian novel without two teenage protagonists of opposing views, would it? That is where Kate Harker and August Flynn come in, and you guessed it, they are the children of the rivaling men ruling either side of the city. While Kate is a normal teenager, with the exception of all of the emotional baggage, August is not. He is one of the three Sunai.

In an attempt to let his son feel equal, Henry Flynn sends August off to Colton Academy, a prestigious school where only the best of the best attend. August’s job at Colton is simple — keep tabs on Kate Harker. When an attempt at assassination on Kate and August goes awry, the two are forced to work together to fight through the chaos ensuing Verity.

She avoids the stereotypical route of star-crossed lovers and jumps right into the gory details of two untrusting kids forced to work together to stay alive. ”

— Staff Writer Rachel Laposka

Despite the fact that it seems like an over-done troupe, it really adds depth to the plot. If anything, it misleads the reader into thinking that a stereotypical forbidden romance could bloom between the two. In fact, it is almost the opposite. Kate does not trust August, or as far as his Colton alias goes, Freddie, and August does not want to get close to Kate in fear of compromising his position.

I have read this book more times than I can count. Every time I read it, I find something new to love about it. Schwab is like a wizard when it comes to dystopian novels. She avoids the stereotypical route of star-crossed lovers and jumps right into the gory details of two untrusting kids forced to work together to stay alive. 

Victoria Schwab is no stranger to monsters, although none of her previous novels focus on monsters quite like “This Savage Song” does. 

This novel does not really fall into line with any specific work Schwab has done before, but that is what makes me love it so much. The main similarity that you can find all throughout almost any Victoria Schwab book is that there is always an underdog, and the underdog almost always prevails in the end. 

A typical Schwab novel would not focus on monsters quite as this one does. One of the main characters, after all, is a monster with human-like tendencies, and the other is a human with monster-like tendencies. 

If there is one thing Victoria Schwab does incredibly well, it is writing emotionally accurate novels that readers invest themselves into. I constantly found myself stressing out over the events of the book as if they were real-life scenarios I had to be concerned about.

Victoria Schwab carefully crafts each individual character with their own uniqueness in such a way that immerse readers into her novels.