Two for the road

SFX - - Reviews - Miriam McDon­ald

re­leased OUT NOW! 407 pages | Pa­per­back/ebook Au­thor Ve sch­wab Pub­lisher Ti­tan Books

This Savage Song ends bet­ter than it be­gins, which is a good thing, be­cause to be­gin with it gives the im­pres­sion of be­ing yet an­other “hot, re­bel­lious and su­per­nat­u­ral stu­dents” story.

Au­gust Flynn, adopted son of the leader of one half of a city, and Kate Harker, daugh­ter of the leader of the other half, end up at the same col­lege. How­ever, soon the two are forced to flee for their lives as con­spir­a­tors try to use them to force the two halves of the city into con­flict. The fact that Au­gust is a mon­ster just com­pli­cates things.

There’s not ac­tu­ally enough ex­po­si­tion in the first part of the novel (and it’s not of­ten you’ll hear us com­plain­ing of that). As an­noy­ing as ex­po­si­tion can be, VE Sch­wab has cre­ated three unique mon­ster types – Cor­sai, Malchai and Su­nai – that arise from acts of vi­o­lence, and a lit­tle ex­pla­na­tion ear­lier on would have helped quite a bit. Pos­si­bly the lack of ex­pla­na­tion is there to cre­ate ten­sion and a sense of mys­tery, as the ba­sic plot is stan­dard fare and the vil­lains easy to iden­tify.

At the end of the day, Sch­wab has cre­ated an in­ter­est­ing world, but not a story that does jus­tice to it, which is a shame.

VE Sch­wab’s A Darker Shade Of Magic is be­ing adapted for tele­vi­sion, and Sch­wab her­self is writ­ing the script.

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