Book Reviews

Book review: Our Dark Duet by V. E. Schwab

ODD

Author: V. E. Schwab

Pages: 470

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Edition: Paperback

Publication Date: 13th June 2017

Read: 3rd – 10th June 2017

Rating: 4-stars

‘The only one who’d say her name with any sense of knowing was August, and he was hundreds of miles away in Verity, at the center of a city on fire.’

Goodreads synopsis

Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is 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—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

Review

Heart-stoppingly intense, deliciously dark, and brilliantly written, Our Dark Duet will electrify you at every twist and turn.

After the dramatic ending of This Savage Song, we return to the world of Verity almost six months on to find Kate living in a different city under a new identity, and August embracing the identity he never wanted.

Kate is still bold, incorrigible and distrustful, and she’s graduated from hunter novice to hunter alumni. We get more of her inner thoughts in this novel, which become darker and more intense as she heads for destruction. August, meanwhile, is powerful in a way he always knew he could be but didn’t want to be. He’s stopped striving to be human and cast off his emotions, yet his fundamental goodness still manifests in his desire to save people instead of reaping their souls.

The character development is detailed and sonorous, and will delight readers who love to see morals and humanity challenged to the extreme. The aspirations of both characters have inverted; after trying his hardest to be human, August has embraced his Sunai nature, and after acting monstrously, Kate is now grasping onto what makes her human. These nuances are part of the book’s poetry and demonstrate how good Schwab is at understanding the human psyche, and injecting her characters with incredible realism.

The relationship between Kate and August remains one of my favourite aspects of this series because their experiences in This Savage Song forged into an incorrigible bond, which grows in intensity and depth in Our Dark Duet. Their friendship is a wonderful exploration of how two people can be so different and yet see straight through to each other’s hearts.

As well as our two main characters, we’re introduced to new, diverse characters, such as Soro – a new Sunai who identifies as genderfluid – and Riley, Kate’s gay roommate. V. E. Schwab has spoken frequently on social media about the need for more diversity in publishing and stories, so it’s great to see her bringing queer and non-binary characters into her work.

In terms of plot, the stakes feel much higher in this book than This Savage Song. New enemies are in play and the Corsai and Malchai seem even more malicious this time round, especially in the fight scenes which are more violent and even more enticingly good. The pace oscillates between moderate and introspective and rip-roaringly fast, hitting new heights in the final few chapters.

As usual, Schwab’s narrative style is gorgeously lyrical, poetic, and imaginative, while managing to make you tense to your bones. Her plot never disappoints, and this is no exception. I’m normally quite good at predicting a twist just before it unfolds, but this had me guessing (and clutching my heart) until the very end. And what an ending. Dynamic, riveting and bittersweet, it was a fitting end to such a brilliant duology (but be warned, you’ll likely shed a tear).

This was a stunning conclusion to a unique series. It’s a testament to Schwab’s talent as a writer that she made me feel so much within the space of 470 pages. I’ve grown to love Kate and August and I feel sad that their story is at an end, but when one story ends anther begins and I can’t wait to see what V. E. Schwab will write next.

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4 thoughts on “Book review: Our Dark Duet by V. E. Schwab

  1. This is the next book on my tbr pile and I can’t wait to dive into it. I love how Schwab takes the time to explore the complexities of human (and monster) nature. I can’t wait to meet the new characters, they sound like a wonderful addition to the cast of characters. I’m so excited to read this!!

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