Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary: “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?” (Summary found on Goodreads).
Despite the really conflicting reviews, I ended up preferring Our Dark Duet to This Savage Song (though, I did really love TSS). Our Dark Duet is darker, with more questions about the nature of being human and morality. It’s a really existential book, but I loved all of the moral debate throughout it, especially when August deals with turning away from who he used to be–a monster feigning to be human.
I also really loved the inclusion of poetry, which brought an even darker sense to Kate’s descent into insanity. It was really poetic and it worked very well where it was used. I really, really love free-verse poetry. Victoria Schwab has a way with words and I think I’m destined to love anything she writes. This solidified my love for her (and my need to read the rest of her Shades of Magic series).
I definitely appreciated the casual diversity she included as well, which made the world feel more realistic (as much as possible in a world of Sunai and Corsai). I think diversity is a really important part of literature and it’s often missing within young adult books. Clearly, the publishing industry and the literature being pulled into it is changing and I love that so much.
I think I only had one issue with this book, and that was the really unnecessary romantic scene. I thought this would be sans romance, but was unpleasantly surprised. It didn’t belong in the book, if you ask me, and felt out of place in a novel about friendship and humanity. I just didn’t need the romance there. I love romance in books, but the characters need chemistry and August and Kate just work better as friends. You can probably hear me screaming all the way through the computer screen. While it was interesting to see the impact of romantic liaisons on a Sunai, I think it negatively impacted the course of the novel and the dynamic between August and Kate.
Anyway, the plot and characters made up for that one little scene, keeping it at a shiny five stars. I especially loved the growth of both Kate and August in this book and how different they are from in This Savage Song. They haven’t necessarily changed positively, but it made for very good literature. August has become a much darker, more inhuman character, and it was riveting to read about that drastic change and how it impacted his character. Kate has become more cynical (if that were even possible) and angrier toward the world and the monsters. It also doesn’t help that a significant event sends her spiraling into darkness (cue the poetry). While the ending may come as a surprise, I thought it was a necessary reminder that happy endings aren’t always there. And, it also wasn’t a surprise for me. Note to self: Don’t click the “see spoiler” button on a Goodreads review…yikes.
I think it’s fairly obvious how much I loved this book. It was definitely my favorite of January and a wonderful way to start off the new year! I highly recommend picking up this series if you haven’t yet.