Review: Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)

The only kind of trail you were supposed to leave was the one you yourself could follow home.

Our Dark Duet – V.E.Schwab

A while ago, and I mean like, my summer reading binge, I read the first of a duology by the amazing V.E.Schwab, called This Savage Song. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the Shades of Magic series by the same author, but I thought it was a damn good book, and then proceeded to read other things forgetting there was a second half to the story as it ends quite definitely with the potential for more. Anyhow, Our Dark Duet is the conclusion to the tale of how a monster who wanted to be a human boy, and a girl who was trying to be a monster met and became allies in  the fight against the malachi and the corsai in the monster-ridden streets of Verity.

Kate Harker, the daughter of the now dead monster-mob boss Callumn Harker, has become a monster hunter in nearby Prosperity, concerned with the complete lack of contact from the city of Verity. August Flynn, Sunai, has decided to grow up and become whatever he needs to be in order to help save his dad’s campaign to save Verity from it’s monster rule. But the monsters have seized control of the North City, under the orders of the Malachi Sloan (Callum Harker’s very own monster) and the monster Kate created – Alice. In order to save his city, August decides to become what he tried so desperately not to be – the monster that he had the potential to be. When a new monster makes its way from Prosperity to Verity, Kate returns to the city of her home, to a city in chaos, hell-bent on destroying itself, and a monster that feeds on the chaos and violence around, amplifying it and invisible.

As always, V.E.Schwab was amazing. Introducing Prosperity as a city that teeters on the edge of controlling the monsters, with a different kind of darkness breeding in the underbelly, and then flitting back to Verity where the monsters reign and people consider becoming monsters to have a chance of winning was a good case of bad and worse. The cities reflected the different states of human society, how what causes the monsters in one doesn’t lead to the same monsters in another. And Kate seemed to be doing well in Prosperity, but she was isolated while surrounded by people that genuinely cared for her, and after her childhood spent desperately trying to get her fathers attention, its like she doesn’t know what to do with affection. She warms up as August cools down, a pair that are destined to always be opposite.

August has a new Sunai sibling, and Ilsa is dreamily tragic, and the Flynn compound is struggling to hold its own weight up. What’s a little scary is August giving into his monster side a little, and how he develops into a survivor because he fears the alternative – he fears feeling. So while Kate learns emotions aren’t all that bad, August is stoically cutting himself off from thinking about friendship, or feelings. It’s quite an interesting dynamic really. I like how brash Kate is, and I like how insecure August is and how desperate both are to find a place where they belong.

I don’t want to give any more spoilers, but the ending was really quite sad because it suddenly felt like it was over. But it didn’t feel rushed. Give V.E all the awards please, she really is quite extraordinary. I really enjoyed this series. I will however, admit to just liking it, its a solid four star series, but I probably won’t pick it up and re-read it. Part of the magic of the Monsters of Verity duology is not knowing what might happen next, what stupid thing a character is going to say, or who’s going to die. I think it’ll lose a bit of magic in re-reading so I’m not going to.

I’m hoping to have Howard’s End finished before Christmas so I can read the Christmas books I already know my brother has gotten me. I was aiming for a flat 60 for this years Goodreads Reading Challenge, but 57 is a fairly close hit so it’s ok.


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