“People were messy. They were defined not only by what they’d done, but by what they would have done, under different circumstances, molded as much by their regrets as their actions, choices they stood by and those they wished they could undo. Of course, there was no going back – time only moved forward – but people could change.”
Well, this book made my poor, little, dark heart shatter. I am not sure if I should thank V. Schwab for the amazing world she created with the Monsters of Verity series or go book a session with a therapist!
In Our Dark Duet, we pick up the story of Kate and August six months after the first book of the Monster of Verity duology ended. If you have read my review on This Savage Song, you would be aware that I fell in love with the world Victoria Schwab had built. She sets her story in a city where monsters are bred by the violent acts of humans. The main protagonists – a girl that wants to be one of the monsters and a boy, who dreams of nothing more than to be a human, are just the cherry on the top when it comes to this unordinary urban story. Well, in the second book we see what happens in the aftermath of Kat and Augusts’ fight in order to save the city – Verity from the rule of all the things that lurk in the dark.
We meet Kate who is now a permanent resident of Prosperity. A city quite opposite to Verity, where monsters are just a story. But she knows better and since she is who she is, Kate quickly finds herself in a sticky situation once again.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have August. Still living in Verity and dealing with the consequences of his and Kate’s actions from the first book. Now that the monsters roam free in the Northern part of Verity, he has to step up and become what everyone needs him to be.
The question is — are they both prepared for what is to come? A new kind of monster is born and this time it is like nothing they have ever encountered. It does not feed on flesh like the Corsai, blood like the Malchai or even souls like the Sunai. It is darkness and all it needs it chaos. It is a Chaos Eater!
MY OPINION ON THE BOOK WITH SOME SPOILERS ->
So here is the thing. I really, really wanted to love this book. But if felt kind of flat for me! Hear me out. It starts slow, too slow in fact. I don’t mind when an author takes the time to give us some additional information about the characters. Actually, I do appreciate it. Taking the time to fill me in about the things Kate and August go through during their time apart is ok with me. Especially in Augusts’ case when it has such a huge impact on the development of his personality.
I was also interested in meeting Kate’s new friends and seeing a different type of characters (ones that have not been in the thick of it all as you might say). But, see – this is part of the problem for me. Schwab takes the time to introduce so many new personas, whit such a huge potential like – Soro and the Wardens for example but she doesn’t actually do anything with them. Yes, Soro did have some important moments, but I would have loved to see so much more from them. I felt kind of robbed on that end. Same goes for the Wardens. They were just there to make the timeline seem long and colorful enough before Kate went back to Verity. They were basically fluff.
I know it sounds like I am complaining that the author made the secondary character way to interesting which is ridiculous, but I just needed something to happen to them, since I was invested in their future at this point. Also what was up with Kate meeting Rick? This scene felt so unnecessary to me! What was the idea there? To show us that people suck? Duh, if you have been paying attention throughout the book, you would have already known that.
And speaking of Kate, the coming back home scene and seeing August after all that time, I have only one word for it – disappointing. I get that he acted the way he did, because of the circumstances that came before and it was needed to show him distancing himself and becoming colder. But I just craved something else from this first encounter. I am not talking about some mushy, slow-motion kissing scene because honestly I feel like this is not at all the tone of the book and I love it for that. But since the moment they saw each other everything felt rushed to me! It went from 1 to 100 in a second.
The connection between Kate and August lacked. I understand that it was kind of the point since he was trying to appear stronger, unfettered by those pesky human emotions, but maybe I expected some more insides about his inner dialogue and struggles. See, this is what made me so interested in this series. The notion of someone that is supposed to be a monster, was made to be a killer, a soul-stiller, but did everything to fight his nature. He was a paradox – opposite to what he was supposed to be. It fascinated me.
Admittedly, without a shame, my dark twisted heart was happy when August decided to embrace his darker urges. I HOPED that when Kate came into the picture we can see her, helping him realize why he has to be true to himself. Why he shouldn’t let go of his human side. In a way she did. But I wanted something more epic since this aspect of the book was the most alluring to me. Nothing like this happened. It felt like a lost opportunity to me.
I would not spoil the end of the book. I will say though that I read the author’s note and maybe I get why the book was rushed in this way at the conclusion of the story.
The Monsters of Verity was truly a joy to read. Mostly, due to the author’s personal style of writing and the two main personas – Kate and August. I loved seeing them evolve in front of my eyes. See inside their psyche. Learn enough about them in order to understand their actions, their drive. The connection between Kate and August and the way their relationship developed was authentic. I was happy to see that they both had flaws but were ready to accept that in each other. I think that the way Schwab made me see them mostly as friends before anything else is my favorite part. The moments they shared together, in their personal bubble, alone but together, moved me. Made me think of how I would feel if I was the monster or the broken girl. And isn’t this an author’s biggest thrive?
Maybe the end was not something I personally wanted. Not because it didn’t fit into the story (it did so brilliantly) but because it lacked a bit in the intensity and on the emotional front for me. Still, I would recommend both This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet to anyone who likes monster with human souls (which in Augusts’ case is kind of literally) and humans with… well, inhumanly big hearts.
Song I would listen to while reading this book: Human by Christina Perri