Title: Our Dark Duet
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity, #2
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: June 13th 2017
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
It’s been six months since the end of This Savage Song, and while Kate fled to Prosperity after the death of her father and the revelation about his actions August remained in Verity to continue fighting the war. Now Kate hunts down the monsters Prosperity creates, until she comes across a new breed of monster unlike anything she’s ever seen before. This monster feeds on chaos, it turns humans into vengeful, hate driven creatures, and through Kate’s memories it’s led to Verity.
Kate is left with no other option but to follow this new monster back home, hoping to stop it before the rage it infected her with has a chance to take her over. However while Kate has been hunting in Prosperity there are monsters waiting for her in Verity, monsters who seek revenge and who plan to see Kate dead when she steps foot in the city once more.
On the other side of Verity August has become a leader in the war against the Malchai. After Harker’s death the Malchai took over and now the streets are no longer safe. Flynn is seeing an influx of refugees however they cannot let anyone who has been touched by sin into their city, and August acts as the judge and executioner for the sinners.
As August struggles with who he is, and who he is becoming in the wake of his brother’s death, Kate struggles to keep a hold on her emotions and not let the rage the new breed of monster has infected her with through. There is a war brewing in Prosperity, and the presence of this new monster, as well as Kate returning home once more, has the potential to tip the scales the wrong way.
It seems impossible to believe but Our Dark Duet was a lot darker than This Savage Song. Nowhere is safe, while Flynn is struggling to keep control of the his side of Verity the Malachi are running the Harker’s, and the humans left there are nothing more than things to be tortured and killed at will. Everything has a consequence and in this book we see all the terrifying consequences of the actions Kate and August took at the end of the first book.
Kate has put her past behind her; she’s shed the Harker name and become another anonymous person in Prosperity. Each night, with assistance from the Wardens, she hunts down the heart-eaters that overrun the city, but despite relying on the Wardens for support she doesn’t trust them, doesn’t open up to them about herself or her past. Kate is very much a loner, determined to forge her own path, but she still has a strong sense of loyalty and purpose. The second she realises the new monster she encountered is heading to Verity she’s close on its trail.
August has changed a lot after what happened in This Savage Song. He no longer hides his Sunai nature behind his desire to be human, instead he hides the side of himself that went to high school, that wanted nothing more to fit in with humanity, and becomes wholly Sunai. His whole purpose becomes his missions; seeking out sinners, killing monsters, and helping the cause in any way he can.
After killing Leo August hears his brother’s thoughts in his head, not sure if it’s just his mind playing tricks on him or a side effect of absorbing Leo’s soul. The words Leo whispers in August’s mind start influencing him, he believes Leo’s words about what it means to be a Sunai and throws himself even more into what he’s doing. August is close to his family, his sister Ilsa, but whenever she tries to reach out to him he knocks her back, refusing to open up about what he’s feeling.
The relationship between August and Kate is a hard one to define. August let Kate live at the end of the first book where, as a sinner whose actions created a monster, he should have killed her. The two of them seem to be bound by their actions in This Savage Song but there is something deeper between them as well. Where Isla can’t get through to August, can’t help her brother as he walks down a dark path, Kate is not afraid to ask the harsh questions. She reaches out to who August used to be in a way no one else manages to.
We are introduced to some new monsters in Our Dark Duet. Soro is a new Sunai who like August is all about their duty as a Sunai. However unlike August Soro isn’t conflicted about their purpose; Soro is a Sunai, it is their job to seek out and punish sinners so that’s what they do. Alice is a new Malchai who is cruel and bold and who doesn’t care who she steps over in order to get what she desires. Both of these monsters were an interesting reflection on August’s and Kate’s characters; Soro the Sunai August felt he needed to become, and Alice the Malchai created by Kate’s sins.
While I enjoyed being able to explore a little more of the world outside of Verity, following Kate through Prosperity as she hunted monsters, I do wish we’d spent a little more time there. There is a whole world outside of Verity, different cities likely full of different breeds of monster, and we got very little information on them. However it was interesting going back and seeing a darker side to Verity. After Harker’s death Verity has become a different place, the citizens who were once able to pay for protection are no longer able to turn a blind eye to the monsters they create. There is a war brewing in the city, between the Malchai and the humans, and it’s a war that’s becoming increasingly more desperate as the Malchai continue to hunt and new monsters make their way to Verity.
Our Dark Duet was a brilliant conclusion to this duology, and while the ending was bittersweet I honestly cannot imagine this story going any other way. This book has everything I’ve come to expect from a V.E. Schwab novel; great characters, even better world-building, and an attention-grabbing storyline that isn’t afraid to throw the consequences of their actions back at the characters, no matter how dark they may be.
What did you think of Our Dark Duet? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.