Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, Book 2) by Victoria Schwab
Synopsis: 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 has 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 a 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.
About the Author: Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes”, “like”, and “y’all”. She currently lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and when she is not wandering in search of buried treasure, fairy tales, and good tea, she’s tucked in a cafe, dreaming up monsters.
Genre: young adult, fantasy, dystopia
More Info: hardcover, 528 pages, published by Greenwillow Books on June 13, 2017
Kate has become a monster hunter in Prosperity. August has become a leader in Verity. Both of them have grown in the six months they spent apart, but while Kate has discovered herself, August has only become more lost.
August has been fighting small battles against the Malchai, Sloan and Alice (Kate’s Malchai), and Fangs (collared, vicious humans). Kate has been fighting small battles against the Heart Eaters (the only monster in Prosperity). That is, until Kate encounters a new monster—the Chaos Eater. She inadvertently leads the new, intangible monster to Verity. So, she heads home.
There she finds a city still separated between north and south: humans vs monsters. She also finds a divided group of FTF councillors and people who are fighting, but making minimal progress.
With new threats to face, the FTF fighters must come together to defeat monsters, before they are pitted against each other by the Chaos Eater.
First, I would like to say that I am so happy the cover for This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet match. They are both pretty and look great together. I really don’t like when the cover art changes between books in a series.
Schwab’s writing has captivated me again. Our Dark Duet did not have the same impact on me as This Savage Song, but it was still a great read. The sequel/conclusion to the Monsters of Verity duology was very well handled.
The content, such as details and information, was very consistent with the first book. This consistence applies to the characters as well. (Except for Emily Flynn. To me, she was timid in book one and suddenly became a commanding—almost harsh—presence in book two.) However, the characters still underwent significant character development. For Kate, without her father hanging over her head, I believe she found herself. She still struggles with making connections, but she is a fierce yet less distanced person. August became more monster than human (he wasn’t even keeping track of his tallies!). He seemed numb to me as he attempted to be someone the people needed, but someone who wasn’t himself.
On that note, I was so amazed by Kate’s concern for August. The way that she pushed him to face himself made their relationship so much more powerful. I missed their witty banter, and wanted more scenes between the two. But I think exploring their friendship was one of the best parts of Our Dark Duet. As a result, I loved the evolution of August’s music, and the changes in August and he figured out his identity.
Besides the two stars of the novel, there were new characters introduced into the story. While Kate is in Prosperity, she
reluctantly teamed up with a group of “hacktivists” called the Wardens. They are kids her age who find patterns of violence, which helped Kate discover and get rid of hidden monsters. I was sad Riley, Bea, Liam, Teo, and Malcolm weren’t more involved in the book after the first few chapters. I was hoping they would make some miraculous appearance in Verity.
Another new character was Alice. Kate’s distorted look-a-like monster is twisted. Strong, violent and determined, she goes after August, and eventually Kate.
The other new character was Soro. Soro is another Sunai, born from a suicide mission to kill Corsai after Harker fell and the monsters took over. Soro uses ungendered pronouns they/them/their! Despite the fact that Soro is a monster, not a human, I was still very happy to see gender-neutral representation in Our Dark Duet. I did think they were a little too serious. They were so convinced of their purpose to reap sinners, that I was intimidated by them. But they were a good soldier and a good addition to the Flynn family.
This is the final book and I felt some of the plot points were skimmed over. I was left with a few questions, like the creation of the Chaos Eater and a definition of Henry’s illness.
Also, the finale felt somewhat rushed. To me, the climax was in the final chapters. The only falling action came from the elegy with no resolution; it felt short. For all of the reveals in the end, I just felt numb…like I didn’t have time to process what was happening. The end was left open. Verity still had problems, just like real life where there aren’t always happy endings. To mimic August, the conclusion went out “Not with a bang, but with a whimper.”
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