We’re back in Verity city for the second installment in Schwab’s Monsters of Verity series and what a book it was. It took me a while to get around it but it was worth the wait.
After managing to escape Verity at the end of This Savage Song, Kate Harker has started to make a new life for herself in Prosperity. She works in a café during the daytime and in her spare time she now hunts the monsters which are appearing there. It still doesn’t stop her from thinking of home though. The blackout from Verity calls to her, and when monster she encounters shows her images of Verity she goes home, not knowing the danger she is taking with her.
August is simply surviving. The war is still waging and he is now a foot solider. He may not be on the front line, but he’s fighting a losing battle. Before people can be allowed into the compound they must be checked to see if they have sinned and if they have, they must be taken be him. This soul-destroying task is left to him and new Sunai, Soro Flynn. Made for action and with a sure and steady moral compass, they do not get along as well as others would like them to and their dislike of one another comes to head when Kate comes home, bringing the newest monster with her.
This Savage Song is a raw book, I cannot think of any other way to describe it and Our Dark Duet follows in its footsteps, upping the ante and delving deeper into the question of what makes us human, and what makes us monsters?
August now longer keeps track of the days he has been in the light. After going dark his body is restless and the words of his brother haunt his every thought. He longer wishes or openly wants to be human. After killing Callum Harker, he buried the human part of himself to stop it from being hurt again.
Kate is the monster she has always wanted to be. Feared, ruthless, and in control, hunting monsters is what she was made to do. But when she is taken over she knows there is only one person who could possibly help her.
Kate needs to face her fears and finds them in Sloan, the monster she thought was dead. August needs to face his and it is the monster she created when she killed a man, and this monster haunts him and shows him the darker side to a girl he cares for.
I loved This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet picks up the gauntlet right where I left off. Kate and August are both still struggling to work out exactly who they are and what they want. With pressure from all fronts you would hope they would still have each other. Except a lot has changed since Kate left and August killed her father, they are not the people they once were.
It is to Schwab’s credit that in only two books she has managed to create such complex and deep characters, layered in ways the reader can’t being to comprehend. Despite being so other, they are so familiar. All they want to do is be themselves, but neither of them are quite sure what that is.
Schwab’s world building, character development, character introduction and story telling are simply magnificent and this series is everything I hoped it would be. Schwab asks the big questions and is not afraid to have morally grey characters. But, I suppose, those are the best ones. As with all of work I am drawn to her characters, what makes them who they are and how it affects the choices they make. August and Kate are not simply living, they are trying to survive the demons in their own head.
You may notice that I don’t really talk about the plot of the books I read, from me, at least with Schwab’s writing, while the plots are intricate and fascinating it is her characters which drive the story forward and I can’t help but to talk about them. I loved this duology and I would anyone who likes Schwab’s work, morally grey characters and excellent world building to pick it up.