Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
My rating: ★★★★☆
Our Dark Duet is the sequel to This Savage Song, and the conclusion to the Monsters of Verity duology. The story continues with Kate and August, and their efforts to eradicate their world of monsters born from violence. August is at the very center of the task force in Verity, a key player as a Sunai monster and very hard to kill. Kate is drawn back to Verity herself in pursuit of a new kind of monster. Once again, their paths cross and together they question who they are, what they stand for, and how to better the world they live in.
Recommended if you like:
- Books that make you question your moral and ethical beliefs
My Spoiler-Free Review
*Note: There are slight spoilers below for This Savage Song, so beware if you haven’t started the duology yet!*
I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book, because I love Victoria Schwab. I love her as a person and a writer. She seems like an awesome person. The way she puts words on a page is beautiful but concise, and I envy her writing skills.
However, her books don’t always have the impact on me that I wish they would. Unfortunately, Our Dark Duet is one example of such a case.
There are so many things I love about this duology and this book in particular. But, there are other things that don’t quite work for me. I didn’t find myself completely engaged in this book once I got to the second half or so. I finished the book feeling a little let down, which feels bad on its own, not to mention how frustrated I felt because I so wanted to finish it and love it.
That said, I’m still not sure I’m happy with giving Our Dark Duet 3.5 stars, but I’m going with it for now. Maybe a re-read in the future will change my mind.
The concept. I LOVE the concept of this book, that the characters are dealing with monsters created by acts of violence. I love the moral and ethical questions it brings up and makes me ask myself. I love seeing the characters’ internal battles with defining what makes a monster or a sinner and, particularly in Our Dark Duet, if people can change and if they are deserving of a fresh start. All of this is so deep for YA yet also very relevant for anyone and important to think about.
The evolution from book one to book two. Mainly I really like the set up at the beginning of Our Dark Duet; I felt very satisfied with where the characters were in comparison to book one, and also where they had to go and how they had to grow. Their character arcs weren’t complete yet, which brings me to my next like: August’s character arc. I just loved his personal journey. He ended This Savage Song accepting what he is–a monster–and now in Our Dark Duet, he needs to spend some time also accepting WHO he is–a compassionate, thoughtful boy.
Ilsa. And Allegro. Need I say more? (I really wish we had gotten more and more and more Ilsa. She’s so lovely.) Also, Alice. She was creepy and scary but wonderfully done. I really enjoyed reading her, and her interactions with Sloan. (Parallels between Kate and her dad much?!)
August’s violin. As a violist myself, I simply find the notion of August walking around with his violin all the time SO endearing. And also, when it’s used as a weapon, SO awesome. In general, the way Schwab ran with the musical themes and metaphors in this book was really lovely; not overdone at all, but incorporated at just the right moments.
My not so likes
The pacing. As mentioned before, I didn’t love the second half of the book. I was not engaged. I was SUPER engaged in the first half; interesting, actiony things were happening in both Kate and August’s POVs, and there’s always that sweet anticipation of reunion when the two characters are kept apart. HOWEVER, when we got past that reunion, things got a little messy plot-wise. There was a lot of back and forth, short scenes, not as much action. I was a little confused by the inclusion of some events–(view spoiler)–and the sequence of some events. When reading, this makes me distance myself from the plot, disengage, and as a result I wasn’t hyped up when I reached the climax and ending of the book.
Kate. I didn’t enjoy her in This Savage Song, and while I liked her more in Our Dark Duet, I still didn’t really connect with her. I guess I didn’t understand her motives? Also, her character development was not as clear as Augusts’s; in fact, I’m not sure she had any.
The Sloan POV. Now, there were moments I really liked this. Sloan is so creepy that in a way I perversely enjoyed reading all the icky things he was doing. But there were various chunks of his POV that seemed completely not needed; they didn’t contribute to the plot. Other times, it felt they contributed too much. I personally like to be more surprised about the villain’s next move, being surprised by it just like the main characters. In Our Dark Duet, reading everything from Sloan’s POV, I was surprised by nothing.
And then…a certain moment occurred that really bothered me. I think my enthusiasm for the book went downhill from there and just kept going down. But it’s a spoiler, so check out my review on Goodreads if you’re interested in reading more about that (and a few other spoilers).
In the end
I think the fact that I have so much to say and pick apart from this book is an indication that I did enjoy it, at least to some extent. And I did! Certain things just turned me off, and it didn’t quite live up to my expectation towards the end.
Do I still love Victoria Schwab? YES. Will I still read her books? YES. Will I reread this duology someday? PROBABLY.
Should you read this book? YES.
Have you read Our Dark Duet? What did you think of it? Leave your thoughts below!
Until next time,