This Savage Song Makes The Best First Book Of The Year // Schwab Has Just Written The Start Of The Next YA Movement

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I am not generally known for being someone who shrieks a lot about books. Most people who don’t know about this secret blog set up or whatever you call it 😉 have reason to think I’m a cool, engaging, interesting little social butterfly. So now, I have to take a moment to sigh and place my hand dramatically on my forehead because I am about to ruin the reason people have to always think of me in that facade.

You see, I have come to shriek about This Savage Song.

And you know, before you go about screaming, I must say one thing. YES I KNOW IT IS 2017. I AM TRYING TO HAVE NO REGRETS YOU GUYS. So therefore, I’m trying to get my priorities straight and post atleast twice a week. I MISS THIS WHOLE LITTLE ENDEAVOR. I’m hoping you’ll get to see more of me and so before you go scared off because WHY AM I COMMITTING WHEN LAST YEAR I WAS SO VERY CLEARLY DOWNGRADING THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS BLOG TO ME?

Because I love blogging, y’all. And you have to make time for the things you love. It can’t even be in your control–if you love it enough, by the end of the day, you’ll always have time left for everything you love in this world 🙂screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-11-07-07-pm

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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.screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-11-07-07-pm

 

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It empowers the concept of strong female characters who are allowed to be different. Let me take a minute to mention that I AM A FEMALE okay? And since I was little, I’ve looked up to girls in fairy tales because, you know, they were white, they had long hair that was usually blonde, most definitely blue eyes all the time–they were incredibly beautiful and kind-hearted and EVERY FREAKING MALE CHARACTER WANTED TO ROMANCE THEM.

But you know, that was alright with me because that’s how the real world is, right? Everyone’s white, straight, unfathomably gorgeous, loving and loved on–am I right? I mean, that’s the only possible explanation because other than every single princess minus Tiana from the princess and the frog who represented the African majority as an ethnicity, everyone was like that–perfect.

And then I thought, but why do I exist?

I’m not white. I’m not perfect. I’m not the most gorgeous person of ever. I’m not always kind or loving or caring. I’m not always cared about or cared for.

Therein I am NOTHING like girls from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. And I’m not hating on them or anything, but that’s literally how my thought process goes sometimes. I am entirely DIFFERENT from fairy tale tropes.

And so now I hear there’s a new movement for diversity in the YA and that people are pushing to see more people of sexual diversity in books, and that people are pushing to see more people of racial diversity in books, and that people are pushing to see more people of physical and mental diversity in books. But then how are my hopes be pushed down?

Authors degrade characters of ‘diversity’ to secondary positions and other minor-importance slots. Every single other character in the book could be gay and black but I guarantee you, in every 9 out of 10 latest YA books, the main characters will be straight and white, or close to it.

This Savage Song is the kind of book that speaks to girls all over. It doesn’t preach to them about being a sexual minority or a racial minority or a health minority–it preaches to them about societal standards and how you can’t let them change you or define you. I realize that is SO stereotypical and insanely annoying, if you’re like me, but it’s true. It is WHY I enjoyed This Savage Song in the first place. It’s not being upfront about it, which is my favorite part, because when authors are upfront about diversity it makes me feel like they’re doing it to cross it off a checklist.

This Savage Song is not the same.

It empowers girls to be who they want to be–to be what they know they are. It empowers girls to not have to push and change themselves for the attention or approval of someone else. AND THIS MEANS A TON TO ME OKAY. LET ME JUST CRY OVER HERE FOR A SECOND :’)

Kate Harker is not a Brothers Grimm kind of girl. She is not even Tris from Divergent or Katniss from The Hunger Games. She has no human responsibilities to take care of, she has no one to care to leave a mark on, she has no one to change for, and most of all, she does not have any men hungering after her hand like beasts. SHE IS THIS INSANELY REAL PERSON THAT’S JUST ADORABLE.

Kate freaking Harker is an empowering girl to everyone who reads This Savage Song, and more than being diverse, or different, or unique, or exemplary, I think empowering is the most inspirational and important of them all. screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-6-08-28-pm

 

IT FOCUSES ON A STRONG, TRUE FRIENDSHIP, RATHER THAN ANGSTY TEENAGE LOVE. You guys don’t know how much physical pain I’ve endured by reading about all these annoying, egotistical, entitled little weak female teens that are whiny, problematic, and disingenuous. AND HERE: Nihaad* wrote a super great post (or maybe rant) on how twisted up and pathetic today’s YA heroines are. Okay, it’s true. Unfortunately.

Nihaad made a point of saying that women are portrayed as needy characters that can’t survive without someone to romance**. Anyways, after that bit, I have to say I agree with Nihaad, completely.

So can I say HERE I AM FINALLY PROUD OF THE YAVERSE. I did write my last post on how I believe that more friendship and familial relationships should be involved in books rather than the unrealistic, world-ending MAJESTIC FREAKING PERFECT LOVE BETWEEN THIS PERFECT TEENAGER AND THIS OTHER PERFECT TEENAGER (or in SJM’s case, centuries-old pedophile who never aged) WHO BOTH ARE PROBABLY DESTINED TO BE THE HEROES OF THE WORLD.

Perhaps August and Kate are destined to save the world, and perhaps they are destined to fall in love somewhere, sometime when August is not a monster that eats people’s souls and Kate isn’t a person who hunts and kills monsters like August. BUT EVEN IF THAT DID HAPPEN–let’s be real, it would be freaking super diverse love, and they’d probably be older, and you know–less angsty and teenager-like.

And here: we know that August isn’t like Edward so we can make sure that Kate doesn’t get pregnant at 19 with a half-monster. HURRAH.

So finally: AUGUST AND KATE ARE FRIENDS. Perhaps more than that like soulmates*** (that don’t have to be romantically involved) since they went on a run from Malchai and Corsai where many a time were they both very injured.

Perhaps August can’t technically be injured, but at one point he did have a lack of souls to devour**** and at one point Kate did have a lack of people to kill and cigars to smoke that would just kill her faster.

I applaud, V.E. Schwab. Congratulations on finally winning the admiration of probably 94.6% of all YA-fantasy devourers. You have just created the most idealistic friendship any of us could have.

Now pardon me, because I’m going hunting for a soul-eating monster to befriend.

*my legit SOUL SISTER okay
**WELL HERE I AM STANDING IN FRONT OF YOU SO I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU WOULD THINK THAT I AM AFTER ALL A BOOK CHARACTER 😉
***HAHAHAA DID ANYONE GET THAT SOUL JOKE. That was so great.
****which reminds me of authors who honestly kill of everyone’s favorite character and eat their reader’s souls during free timescreen-shot-2016-11-07-at-6-08-28-pm

 

It has morally grey characters that are also diverse! Well then. As you must already know, I’m a person of a color in a fluently growing-in-diversity country, my mother tongue is NOT English, my biological roots settle in Southern India, and I am a devoted Hindu AND ENTIRELY PROUD OF ALL OF IT OKAY LET ME JUST CRY HERE A BIT*.

And if you read my excellent 2016** wrap-up then you’ll know that I talked about being such a depressed little human last year AND WELL HELLO 2017 HERE COMES GREY VEDA.

Last year, if I was completely honest, I tried to be such a black-and-white person, but hey, this year I am not trying to be a totally UNREALISTIC BLACK AND WHITE PERSON. ALSO DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH I LOVE ABUSING CAPS LOCK. I am a very grey person. Sometimes it takes me quite a bit of effort to choose to stay true to myself and not mimic everyone else. WELL I HAVE DECIDED I AM ME AND ME IS AN INDIAN BILINGUAL EXTROVERTED FEMALE OF COLOR living in one of the greatest countries on the surface of the world.

And like that, August Flynn, and Kate Harker are not exactly good people, per se. But they aren’t bad people either. Sure, Kate has burned buildings and rebelled against everything basically and, sure, August has eaten people’s souls–only those who have sinned, though, of course. AND I KNOW I AM OBVIOUSLY CRAZY FOR THINKING THEY AREN’T BAD PEOPLE.

But it goes both ways: if you look at everything they do right, then they seem like good people, but if you flip it and look at everything they do wrong, then they seem like bad people.

AND THIS IS LITERALLY THE MOST REALISTIC THING I HAVE EVER READ IN MY LIFE. Feyre Archeron has probably killed all of one thing plus a Middengard Wyrm. She is probably the goodest of the good, and then there’s Rhys, who’s slightly better at being a heartthrob. He’s killed and tortured so many fae, is perhaps the cruelest High Lord at the same time being the sweetest.

THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT OKAY? Kate Harker and August Flynn are two very different people.

Now, I do digress and cry that they aren’t people of color and are both white***, but they aren’t good and they aren’t bad. August is a sucker for good music (because that’s what he sucks the soul out of people with AHAHAHAHA I’M SO PUNNY) and he’s an introvert and can’t make friends, but he’s also a monster. WHO DESPERATELY WANTS TO BE A HUMAN AND BE MADE OF STARDUST AGHH 😉

Kate Harker smokes, is a possible arsonist, con, and rebel, but she just wants to fit into the world that her father has created in Verity. Perhaps I only understand this because I’ve always beat myself up over not being perfect and ordinary and in compliance with everyone else–but Kate Harker isn’t THE BADDEST OF THE BAD.

In fact, Kate and August are perhaps the most realistically diverse people I’ve ever read in a YA book, and that is what makes this book so great.

*and then here I am sitting in bed writing this post listening to Rae Sremmurd and then of course the shades on the windows are open SO HERE GOES THE SUNLIGHT JUST LIKE LET ME BLIND VEDA A LITTLE AND KILL HER EYES TEMPORARILY. repeat x100 until Veda finishes her post. SERIOUSLY THIS LIGHTING JUST GOES BRIGHT AND NOT BRIGHT AND BRIGHT AND NOT BRIGHT WITHIN LIKE TEN SECONDS. this right here makes me want to take photos so bad
**which was so great. Why would you NOT read it and if you didn’t yet–no, shush, go read it right now and I’ll pretend this embarrassing little reveal never existed 😛 ALSO TRUE FACT I LITERALLY ALMOST WROTE 2017 HAHA WELL THAT WAS A SHORT YEAR FOLKS
***as far white as you can get being a soul-eating monster, of coursescreen-shot-2016-11-07-at-6-08-28-pm

 

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This Savage Song is definitely an inspiring story. I am in love with how it signifies the importance of good friendship above all, because romance is definitely not for me. But most importantly, I love the monsters and the men, and most of all, those who are trying to be the other. I ALSO AM SO SO SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR OUR DARK DUET BECAUSE IT SOUNDS SO FREAKING AMAZING. Excuse me while I die up until June 13 🙂

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