THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.
KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.
AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.
THE WAR HAS BEGUN.
THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.
Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.
Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?
Once again, Queen Victoria Schwab does it again. If that statement didn’t make it obvious enough, Victoria Schwab is my favourite author. In the adult fiction world, you might know her as V.E. Schwab, author of the Shades of Magic series, but in the young adult world she simply goes by Victoria. No matter which world she’s found in, her books are always my favourites and she’ll always be one of the writers who I’ll read anything by because I trust that she’ll never let me down. I would just like to make a little shout out to The Archived, my absolute favourite book by her…..please go read it. The Monsters of Verity series is probably some of the darkest stuff I’ve read in YA. Nothing is sugarcoated and there’s no room for sunshine and rainbows and I love it. I mean, you can’t really expect to have all of that when it’s a series about monsters, right? After I read the first book of this series I felt like the bar was set incredibly high and I had no idea how it was gonna be topped. There was also the feeling of “I have no idea what’s gonna happen next and I’m terrified” and I’m pretty sure that feeling was well justified. I’m not sure how spoilery this review will be, since it’s the second book AND the end of this series, so we’ll place a teeny tiny spoiler alert just to be safe. Let’s get to it!
- I’m not just saying this because Schwab is my favourite author, but the writing of this book is incredible. The way that she’s able to build a world such as Verity, and later Prosperity, where Kate’s story begins in this installment, is just amazing. I’m not really sure how to say this, but when I read anything by her there always seems to be some kind of melodic flow to her writing. The characters are always well developed, the setting/world is so vivid and never over-explained, and you’re just never bored. Her words always pull you in and you not only satisfied by her writing but you constantly want more. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Schwab is the perfect writer because that’s impossible and I know she wouldn’t want me to say that, but to me she’s the ideal writer and I think it all comes down to how much she cares about her work. I know, I know, every author cares about their work. But with Schwab, I think that you can literally FEEL how much she cares in her words and that’s what makes her such a favourite of mine.
- As I’ve previously mentioned, Schwab’s characters are always so well developed. In the first book of this series, Kate was known to be “the girl who wants to be a monster” and August was known to be “the monster who wants to be human”, creating an interesting dynamic between the two. But in this book, things have changed. August now has to take over the role of his brother Leo and accept that he can never be a human. Initially, seeing August like this made me sad because I loved that softer side of him but I also understood how important it was for his character to become this. Kate, on the other hand, well she’s still somewhat of a monster since she becomes a monster hunter in Prosperity. But something happens to her when a new type of monster emerges and her theoretical monster essentially becomes real. I read this as that cliched “fighting the monster within”, especially with Kate, and cliche as it is, it’s still important for Kate’s development. She slowly learns that it’s ok to care and rely on people and she doesn’t have to be the monster everyone perceives her as just because she’s a Harker. For both Kate and August, they had to become the people that their city needed, regardless of how they felt about the change, and I think that is what’s most important about their characters. They didn’t become who they wanted to be, but who they needed to be, and I admire that.
- There was a bit of a lowkey romance between Kate and August and while some people might complain about it, I will not be one of those people. I have been shipping these two ever since the first book and they finally have a moment in this one. But what’s most important about this romance is that it’s so secondary to the plot and doesn’t get in the way. We already know how much Kate and August care for each other so whether or not they had their moment, the story wouldn’t change. Like, you know when you’re reading a dystopian book and the characters keep stopping to kiss or whatever and you’re like “people are dying there’s no time for this!!!”?? It’s basically the complete opposite of that. They KNOW there’s no time for romance, Schwab definitely knows there’s no time for it, but they’re still teenagers so a teeny tiny moment is not gonna kill them. So thank you, Victoria Schwab, for giving this to me it made me very, very happy. And it made me even happier that this wasn’t the main focus of the story.
- Initially, I wasn’t a fan of getting another POV other than Kate and August’s. But that’s something that’s 100% on me because I’m petty and I just hated Sloan’s character. BUT once I got over that and I really thought about it, I realized that his POV allowed you to see the whole picture of the story. You have Kate and August on one side of the war and the Sloan, the villain, on the other. You’ve seen me complain about not having other POVs in some books so you should probably know how much I value getting different sides of the story. Once I understood that and saw the importance of Sloan’s POV, I was fine. Not only does it allow you to see the whole story but it gives you that added thrill and excitement, knowing what the villain was going to do and the heroes have no idea and you can’t warn them. I wish more of YA was like this.
- I think one of my favourite things about this book was that there was a bit of openness to the ending. It wasn’t completely tied up and there were still some small loose ends, but there was also a sense of hope. I mean, when you think about it, this isn’t a story that you can just end in a chapter or less. It’s something that’s gonna take time but I don’t think we actually need to read about how everything will be solved. And if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t want to see this story end happily ever after because, in my opinion, it would go against everything this book is about if it did. A lot of this book focuses on change and how the only thing to do is to move forward and I think that the ending captures that perfectly. Life isn’t easy and rarely has happy endings and this book is a perfect reflection of that. But you can always have hope that eventually it will get better and I think that’s what should be taken away from this series.
- The thing that bothered me was the poem or lyric break that signified the presence of the new monster, the Chaos Eater. I mean I liked the fact that Kate had a connection to this monster and that showed you who was in control at that moment, but personally I wasn’t a fan of the style. I think it’s just because I never understood poetry like that so this is 100% a personal thing, not an author thing, but it still needed to be said.
- THE LAST 20 PAGES. WE ARE NEVER TO SPEAK OF THE LAST 20 PAGES EVER AGAIN. THEY DO NOT EXIST. HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME, VICTORIA???? HOW??????
THE BOTTOM LINE
- This is a dark and twisted series but it’s one that’s full of hope and it’s perfectly imperfect. But I recommend reading the first book before this one because a) you have to because this is the second book of the duology so nothing would make sense without reading the first and b) you won’t forget everything like I did therefore creating an all-around wonderful reading experience.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Pages: 510 (Hardcover)
What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!