Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

SYNOPSIS:

Kate Harker is a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human. Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows – one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons – Kate must face a monster she thought she’d killed, a boy she thought she knew and a demon all her own…

***

Genre: YA Fantasy; Science Fiction – Dystopia

Page count: 470

Rating: Taking another ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ from dear old Ilsa, bless her

„What happens when the effect kills the cause?”

Ah well, when I started this second book of the Monsters of Verity duology, I knew it was going to eat my soul out. I was completely right, I don’t regret my decision to read it, I assume all the fault like a big girl, so now I have to walk around soulless and broken for the rest of the eternity probably. Okay, not eternity. But a week at least. Should not be that hard though.

I will confess: I am furious.

Furious of V.E. Schwab having such a great sense of writing and such an awesome imagination and such a cool touch to the narrative facts. Like, how dare you, V.E.?

Moving on, even though I am still not over you, Ms Schwab, this second book of the duology was slightly better than the first one, This Savage Song. I say slightly because both of them are so good and so packed with action and facts that I just can’t draw a different conclusion than the one that they both are great. This second one a bit more because, oh well, IT MADE ME CRY.

Yeah, it made me ugly-cry and I caps locked that on purpose and I am going to leave it like that. It is a warning sign for everyone who hasn’t read the books and is masochistic enough to read them. I warned you.

I am still amazed by the fact that this book is based on music and monsters.

I read somewhere, some time long ago, that even the most feral beasts could be tamed with music. That, apparently, is the scientific version of „music is the cool kid”. So this is why I think those two major themes work so weirdly good together.

„Do you ever wonder why music brings a soul to surface?”

Music is some kind of soul nourishment if you ask my humble opinion. It is a way of treating a soul through the whole body. The escape, the safe place, the rock. Even a monster could agree on that, because, funny or not, monsters have such fragile hearts too.

As a developing point of the book, the idea of a new monster, worse than any other, a Chaos Eater, because it feeds on chaos and violence and death, has reached the action (or made the action, better said). And this is terrifying because it looks unstoppable. But it is not. As we say in Romanian, „fiecare cântec are și-un descântec”, every song has its own enchantment or undoing, this monster has a weakness that can be overpowered by a good cause.

This monster is the reason our characters are able to develop.

Kate and August. August and Kate. Hmm, there is something about the two of them that just mends my heart. They are a dynamic duo. They are the better half of each other. They pass good in any situation, each being the anchor for another. There is such an easy connection between the two of them that it just makes me feel like their souls have been alongside each other since the beginning of life.

I dearly appreciated the lack of romance in the first book, I forgot to mention it there. It is very rare to create two such perfect characters and not to throw them at each other on the first occasion. As for the second book –  this one –  I must say that I expected something to happen between Kate and August (it would’ve felt surreal if it didn’t). And it did. And I did almost burst into HA I KNEW IT. But as I read on, this kind of romance was so easy, so effortless, so platonic that I just combusted with love and gave them my approval to romance on. But then something happened, V.E.’s mother antennas shot straight up and she went like „Na-ah, not on my watch”. And she did THAT (for the ones who have read the book – you bloody know what I mean; for the ones you haven’t – well, read and see for yourselves).

„And for once, a word felt simple, because Kate was the one who kept him fighting, who looked at him and saw him, and saw through him at the same time, and who never let go.”

Also, I didn’t think I could’ve possibly love Ilsa more than I did in the first book, but apparently I could. She is the warmest presence of the book; her actions are always well-intended and her heart is full of love for her brother, August. The brother-sister relationship between the two of them is so warm and soothing that makes me think again at the author’s capacity of creating situations.

Further on, I couldn’t help but make an interesting connection between two things that caught me by surprise at the moment and I am so curious if the author had that in mind too or is was just a happy misunderstanding of mine.

In this book, there would be a shard of the monster stuck in Kate’s eye, throughout the book (don’t jump at my neck, it is not a spoiler, it is obvious in the book!). Okay. Shard of something in the eye, makes Kate interconnected with the monster, makes her desire to lose herself in violence. But…where did I know that from? And so it hit me.

Has anyone ever read the beautiful tale of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen? It was one of my favourite stories and if you haven’t read the original, please make a bit of time and do read it.

In the tale, an evil spirit like the devil possesses a mirror in which everything good and beautiful turned into something bad and ugly. When this mirror shatters, the shards get stuck into people’s eyes and souls, making them see and do inhumanly bad things. This happens to little Kai from the story too and I couldn’t notice the resemblance between him and Kate. It was absolutely fascinating.

As I previously said, this book is absolutely amazing and I base my statement by the fact that it is full of metaphors, one of which is the monsters that are humans and the humans that are monsters. But also, one of my favourites, there is the metaphor of the self.

The author does an amazing job by exposing this metaphor, everything that it is and everything that it does, causing and affecting and altering; winning and losing, losing and winning. In the end, there is nothing but the unforgivable equality of destiny. The wheel of fortune completing its righteous circle.

„(…) if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

In the end, coming back to an older discussion, humans and monsters can be very alike at times. Humans can be as monstrous as the monsters themselves…only just…can we tell the difference between the two in cases like this?

That is a question left unanswered. And so I am going to leave it to. I still can’t properly cope with the ending of this book, even though I am super glad that I’ve read it. So, as the great Victoria Schwab put it into the acknowledgements of the book, I have to agree with her and say that „this book nearly killed me” too.

5 thoughts on “Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

  1. I’ve been meaning to get into this series! I’ve only read the first book of ADOSOM, but I loved it, so I know I’m going to be continuing with Schwab’s works. I just don’t know in what order. 😓 I’m very indecisive!

    Great review and happy reading! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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