Title: Our Dark Duet
Author: Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity #2
Genre: YA Urban fantasay
Note: Because this is the conclusion to the duology, this review will contain mild spoilers for the first book, This Savage Song, but none for ODD itself. Read at your own risk.
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?
Let me preface by saying that this book has many tropes I absolutely adore. From the overrun city, to the pseudo-vampires and shadow selves. Now that the peace has been broken, the world –bleak as it is– shines off the page. I left with a better idea of how Verity works from this book than the first one, now that it wasn’t getting boggled down by the school setting. I’m biased in favor of any book that includes those tropes, but Schwab executes them well. The two main villains often get chapters for themselves, though they fall into common territory, their personalities and dynamic are engaging enough to justify it. The methods that the humans use were also interesting and new that I didn’t mind the slow beginning. I guess I was always going to like this book more because of the tropes, but they’re helped by Schwab’s skills. Also I have to mention the use of free verse for the point-of-view of the Chaos Eater which I adored.
Also this book is darker than most of the YA I’ve read, even more so than This Savage Song and, best of all, it’s all earned. The violence, the deaths, all make sense within the narrative, and they all add to the atmosphere and the world. For a series whose whole premise is based on the ramifications of human violence, I think this is more than justified. And Schwab does take the time to make things more complex than humans versus monsters. It truly is dark and I love it. But there’s always a counteracting force in hope, in the connections the characters make, in their stubbornness and sacrifice. If there is one thing I commend about this book, it is how it balances the dark and light.
I reread This Savage Song right before starting Our Dark Duet, and it reminded me of how strong the characterization is. Well, in this book, the character development is amazing to read. After all the game-changing events of the first book, Schwab delivers. August is just as endearing, troubled, and introspective as before, but he is changed so much under the pressure of leadership. because of all the things he’s lost. I felt for him all the way. And Kate. In my opinion, she’s the star of the book. The angry, stubborn girl from the first book is still very much there, but she’s grown. Her resilience, her pursuit of what’s right, and her sense of humor make her an amazing character to read about, though she’s still carries her flaws and mistakes. I loved her arc the most (including that ending).
Overall, I think Monsters of Verity is a great example of how a duology should be structured. Both books follow a particular story that is fully told within that book, but also there are overarching threads that need of the two books to be whole. Many of the events, especially regarding characters, of This Savage Song make sense in the light of Our Dark Duet. You feel that it was always going to come to this. That is why I thought the ending was not only earned but emotionally satisfying. There are no cop-outs for everything that’s been built up. I adored the ending in case you couldn’t tell.