Review: Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Published by: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: June, 13, 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 528

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.


“It wasn’t easy. The world was complicated. Life was hard. And so often, living hurt.

So make it worth the pain.”

Sometimes, you find a series that simply speaks to you. Sometimes it throttles you, demands your time, and throws you away once it’s done. And Monsters of Verity is naturally the latter. So don’t expect yourself to walk away clean from Victoria’s latest series. And don’t hope for a happy ending. Our Dark Duet is, by far, the darkest sequel I’ve read.

Six months have passed since August and Kate parted. And Verity hasn’t gotten any better with its monster problem. August now leads a team of his own, hunts monsters, saves the North refugees, and tries to protect what is left of his city. In Prosperity, Kate tracks down and kills monsters. But when she discovers a new beasty, she finds her way home, but it’s not the way she left it.

I don’t know what I am supposed to do with myself after I’ve finished this series. I don’t. I’ll move on to the next the book, obviously. But I feel hollow, empty, and slightly broken. Our Dark Duet is one of my most anticipated books of 2017. And I feel as if I walked straight into Verity and haven’t left since.

 

“There were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head. She could fight the first, but the second was more dangerous. It was always, always, always a step ahead.”

I easily fall into this dark and vicious world. So believe me when I say that Victoria’s writing traps you from the beginning. Victoria doesn’t use action-packed scenes to move along the story. Instead she focuses on her characters, who are utterly flawed yet human. And I stress the last point. Kate finally shows her humanity. Her vulnerability grabs a hold of you and makes you see what being human truly means. I loved reading about her time in Prosperity. It gives me a better perspective on this complicated character who wants nothing more than to be a monster. But she’s more than her desires though.

Even though Our Dark Duet is a slow burn, it radiates existentialism. It demands you to figure out who you are, what you’re worth, what you soul means to you, and what you’re willing to do to preserve your humanity. I wasn’t expecting this effect from a YA fantasy. Sure, some fantasies will make you debate the difficult questions, but this one forces you to put down the book and think. Maybe that’s just my interpretation though. Victoria forces August down this road. He’s not the same Sunai who wishes to be human and who clings onto his hope for humanity. He fighting a battle on the streets and in his head. And with Sloan at the helm in North City, August may have to throw away his wish to be human so he will become the Sunai he is. Both Kate’s and August’s progression tug at my heart.

This dark and gritty world freaks me out, but I love reading every second of it. Victoria brings a new spin to monsters, which are the after effects of vicious crimes. Unfortunately, Our Dark Duet is the finale in this series. And I wish I could get more from it. The ending is killing me. I want to hold on more, but I have to let go.

At the heart of Our Dark Duet are two deeply flawed characters who live in a city dripping in crime, hatred, anger, and pain. What makes this sequel stand out are Kate and August and their journey through a dangerous landscape that may scare even the hardest people. Victoria’s work has something to say, so listen up. You may learn something from a monster who wants to be human and a human who hopes to be a monster.

Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

23299512This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Published by: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: July 5, 2016

Genre: Yound Adult, Fantasy, Crime

Page Count: 427

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


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.


“You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.”

From the moment I heard of This Savage Song, I’ve been hooked. For years, I’ve been hoping to find a refreshing take on a monster story. You and I have seen everything. But Victoria brings a new twist to fantasy and takes her spin to another level.

Kate Harker wants nothing more than to be a monster so she will gain her father’s respect and earn her rightful place by his side. August Flynn wishes to be a human, yet he’s a Sunai, who harvests souls through songs. Both live in a divided city, where violent crime breeds monsters. An opportunity arises that allows August to turn spy by watching over Kate. But when she discovers his true identity, both are thrown together and must escape after a botched assassination attempt.

Victoria’s eloquent prose captures you immediately. Victoria masterly layers in cleverly written twists into her coming-of-age story. Just to take it up a notch, she then injects music, which adds more to this complex book. But deadly political trickery plays a pivotal role. And yet you want to turn the next page and see what happens to these two teenagers.

Their lives cannot be more juxtaposed. Kate, while finally arriving in V-City, lives in grandeur and paid-for protection in the North, while her father, Callum, controls his monsters. August lives in the South side of the Seam, where he constantly hears screams and gunshots, and his father, Henry, and his men risk their lives to protect humans. I love the contrast Victoria slides in between these two characters. She reverses the gender roles in her new series. Kate, the daughter of a crime boss, prefers not to be human. She’s rather turn into a monster, like her father. And Victoria surprises me when she makes August, the son of a man who tries to keep his city together, more human than people. These sixteen-year-olds have grown up to be anything but teenagers. They have seen horrendous acts, and they’ve also committed some themselves.

I was hesitant to read a YA novel set in a school atmosphere. I prefer a YA novel that has no connection to one. However, Victoria plays with that setting in a unique way. Set in a future dystopian backdrop of the former United States, the first instalment in the Monsters of Verity series takes place more than a decade after the Phenomenon, which cleaved a city in two. Victoria opens up a corrupted and violent world, and through her captivating writing, she lets you witness the atrocities that walk the streets of V-City.  

Both Kate and August stand out against this evil. These main characters connect. And why shouldn’t they since they’ve been sheltered by their parents and must live up to the expectations placed on their shoulders. Their connection is what attracts me to this story. Kate sees August as a monster, yet she also sees herself in him. They’re polar opposites, yet they experience the same struggles. Both their character developments shape this book into a fantastic YA novel. You may expect some romance in this urban fantasy, and I feel there is some inklings of it, yet Victoria doesn’t bring it to the forefront of the story.

Victoria’s reimagining of monsters also draws you in. Each monster possesses a certain power: the Sunai steal souls by drawing out a tainted soul and is the rarest out of the three, Corsai feed on flesh and bone but cannot be out in light, and Malchai are undead creatures that feed on blood. Where have these beasties been all my life?! You gain my respect when you create new creatures that keep me on my toes.

She also builds a world where violence is paramount and prevalent. Violence takes centre stage. This theme may not sit well with readers, but I think she wants it to scream at people. You cannot say our society has improved over the last few decades. The way she addresses this problem impresses me, and I hope she continues with this theme in This Dark Duet.

I couldn’t put this book down. This Savage Song is the first book of Victoria’s I’ve read, but I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel and wanting to buy the rest of her series. Call me an instant fan.

What did you think of This Savage Song? Are you a fan of Victoria’s work? Let me know in the comments!