Saturday, December 30, 2017

Book Review: "Our Dark Duet" by Victoria Schwab

You know when you want to absolutely devour a book, but it's the last book in a series you love, so you're torn between reading it in practically one sitting and savoring it for as long as you can? That's the way I felt about Victoria Schwab's Our Dark Duet, the second and apparently final book in Schwab's Monsters of Verity series. (The first book, This Savage Song, was pretty fantastic, too. See my original review.)

"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. It didn't have teeth or claws, didn't feed on flesh or blood or hearts. It simply reminded you of what happened when you let people in."

Kate Harker and August Flynn should never have known each other, much less become friends. Kate's father was a notoriously power-hungry man who harnessed the monsters that roamed the half of the city he controlled, and then charged the city's residents for his protection from them. August is the adopted son of Henry Flynn, who wants to keep the residents of his half of the city safe by controlling the monsters, not harnessing them as pawns in a shakedown.

August is also a monster, the rarest of the three breeds, who can steal a person's soul by playing his violin. He simply wants to to be kind, to live a good life, and not face the reality of his familial responsibilities, but he cannot escape what he is. He and Kate were thrown together, and after weathering fear and mistrust of one another, they built a relationship, more than a friendship, and each became indebted to the other in a bloody battle for survival.

Six months later, after fleeing her home city, Kate has become the monster hunter she always knew she was destined to be. But when another breed of monster appears, the so-called Chaos Eater, one who feeds on bystanders' emotions and fears in order to reap violence, she finds she has some sort of dangerous connection to it, and it lures her home to Prosperity, where old and new nemeses await her. Meanwhile, August has assumed his rightful place as heir apparent to his father's task force, but he is still conflicted between what is expected of him and what he wants from his life.

"And here in Prosperity, Kate had found a purpose, a point, and now when she met her gaze in the mirror, she didn't see a girl who was sad or lonely or lost. She saw a girl who wasn't afraid of the dark. She saw a girl who hunted monsters. And she was damn good at it."

Kate's return to Prosperity drops her back into the thick of the war between the monsters who wish to rule the city and those who wish for peace. She faces the resentment of those who hate her for who her father was, and don't believe in her capabilities. She doesn't understand what happened to August, where the boy she once knew has gone. And she knows that in order to fight the Chaos Eater she must unleash her own inner monster, and there may be no turning back once she does.

There's a lot more to this book, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone. I would say if this interests you, read This Savage Song first, because this book builds on that one. I know this series isn't for everyone, but if you've ever thought about giving YA fantasy/science fiction a try, here's a series worth cutting your teeth on.

I loved Our Dark Duet immensely, because Schwab pulled me right back into the amazing, dark world she created, and gave me even more emotion, conflict, and epic battles. I haven't read her other series but I definitely will have to, because she is an incredible storyteller. I loved these characters and their relationships, and my only frustration is that the series ended so soon.

I'm not a fan of so many books being adapted into movies and/or television series, but I'd love to see these books get adapted. Schwab's words and imagery deserve to be read, but this incredible world she has created deserves to be seen as well. I'd love to see how August and Kate, their family and friends, and those monsters translate onto the screen. So sad to see this end, but Schwab has a huge fan in me!!

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