Monsters of Verity #2: Our Dark Duet (V.E. Schwab)

I loved this. 5 stars.

V.E. Schwab really has an amazing way with writing the just speaks to me. Her’s is the only writing that I will patiently wait for the truth.

August Flynn is my bias. I’m like him in one aspect. His disdain for noise. That’s me. People are so noisy.

But anyway. This book, the pacing is a little slower at the beginning but once we start, we keep going.

Here’s the review for the first book in the duo logy: This Savage Song

In the end of the first book, the pair split ways right before the war begins. Kate who’s lost her home, has decided to go hunt in other cities, August stays to fight for his home.

SPOILERS MAYBE

The story gets going only after Kate finds herself having no choice but to return to the city she calls home, V-city. But it takes a while to get there. A good 220 pages. Is it a long wait? I don’t know, maybe. But it’s a fun ride. The first few chapters brings us up to date with the person they’ve come to be six months later – present time. August, my man, I don’t know what he changed into, but I’m so digging it. In the first book, he so badly wants to be human, in this book, he’s embracing what he is. Kate, my girl, she’s still kickass awesome. And they both are introduced with a set of friends that are very different. I liked the gang Kate hung out with – I thought they’d make an appearance in the later part of the book… but they didn’t. I do find that sad, but still not worth cutting away any stars.  August’s friends mostly kept dying.

Anyway, the two meet while the war is still ongoing. But the scale of war is going to change with a fourth monster on the loose.

I don’t want to ruin this book at all.

But so I’ve seen the negative reviews on Goodreads, and I think there are some valid concerns.

  1. There are unanswered questions about the fourth monster, how Kate somehow manages to be immune to it. Does it bother me enough to affect my rating? No. I’m here for the characters. See with VE Schwab I’m always there for the characters and the story. Some plot conveniences, some unexplained things to get things moving, I don’t mind.
  2. The ending. Did I think the death was necessary? No. But I liked the way it happened. With all the foreshadowing, I think it was poetic. I think no other death would have befitted the character that we lost.
  3. The romance. Some people are upset there was a romance, some people are unhappy that it happened without much build up. And.. I actually really just loved the romance. These guys have obviously shown to care about each other, they’ve been thinking about each other in various instances in the 6 months they spent apart. Not yearning to meet each other, but just wondering about the other. And I like that when they meet, they’re not that happy to see each other. <Spoiler? Sorry. But I like how their relationship goes from there. I thought the love scene was so beautifully written actually. It was cute, spontaneous, but oh so lovely and so impactful of exactly what’s at stake.
  4. A personal pet peeve. On the whole scale, I feel like the war could have gone a lot more crazier and that our villains could have really upped their game even more than they had.  This felt more like personal vendetta rather than all out war. At some point, I just think they all just got used to the fighting, of who can outsmart the other. And I mean… especially at the end when Kate has to fight her monster. Her monster has the whole place on lockdown with Kate and August and August’s troops. Her monster asks for Kate and lets the rest go. Why? Why not blow the rest up to? Since when did a monster keep to it’s word? I don’t know. So it just felt like, things were a whole lot more personal rather than a bigger world changing goal on the villain’s side. (August Flynn’s side obviously has a bigger goal since their’s is about the survival of mankind.) But is it enough to affect my rating? Fcuk no. I still enjoyed this book.

Let’s just say pick this duology up if you’re looking for a character driven story. The plot’s there. Set in a fantasy world, in the middle of the war, things are happening, so there’s sufficient plot to keep you going. But even though I’ve only read a few fantasy novels, even I can see that some of the subplots got addressed in very… ‘well… okay’ ways (cue the death of the fourth monster). But I like the characters, I like their arcs. I love V.E. Schwab’s writing. I love how her writing explores her characters. All the nuances of her characters and their emotions really shine in a very friendly way that it doesn’t feel like you’re being told instead, you experience. Her writing never once took me out of the story.

When Kate and her new group of friends are wondering why V-city calls their monsters weird names like Corsai, Malchai and Sunnai, instead of naming them after the things they eat, Body Eaters, Blood Eaters and Souls Eaters respectively, Kate ponders about August:

Calling him a Soul Eater was like calling the sun bright. Technically accurate, but only a fraction of the truth.

Out of all the beautiful descriptions in this book, this really got to me. Kate recognised the humanity, the monstrosity and everything else about August that August himself could never believe about himself despite hoping for someone else to recognise. It was just sweet.

 

 

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