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Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Review: Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy/Dystopian)
Date Published: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow Books


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.



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? 

Our Dark Duet is the second and final book in the Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria Schwab. I'm not sure what happened,but this wasn't the book I was expecting to read. While it has the action and gore that you'd expect it to have for this story line to work, I still had such a hard time staying focused. The pacing was slow. I don't feel like we learned much more about the monsters(especially the newest monster), or really anything more about what's going on in their world than we already knew. There was no real plot progression. I didn't think so anyway. Did I miss something? And the ending just wasn't great. I needed more from needed something. Through the book, things seemed to happen without any real reason, and I want to know those reasons. We really needed to know more about the Chaos Eater too. I have so many questions... where does this all leave their world now? Is is better? Is it worse? The same? I don't know. 

I loved the first book quite a bit, so I was already going into this one with some pretty high expectations. The premise behind these books is fantastic. It makes complete sense that monsters would be created from the evil behind tragic events. The people behind those events are already monsters, so it fits. It's believable. I haven't read anything similar before. I love finding that kind of originality when I read. But, I don't feel like this second book lived up to the expectations created by the first book. And I know, a lot of people feel the opposite, and that's great. Maybe this second book just wasn't for me. I honestly don't know what to think now. Maybe I missed something. I really feel like must have missed something crucial. I'm at a loss.



Kate Harker hit the ground running.

Blood dripped from a shallow cut on her calf, and her lungs were sore from the blow she’d taken to the chest. Thank God for armor, even if it was makeshift.

“Turn right.”

Her boots slid on the slick pavement as she rounded the corner onto a side street. She swore when she saw it was full of people, restaurant canopies up and tables out despite the brewing storm.

Teo’s voice rose in her ear. “It’s catching up.”

Kate backtracked and took off down the main road. “If you don’t want a mass casualty event, find me somewhere else.”

“Half a block, then cut right,” said Bea, and Kate felt like the avatar in some multiplayer game where a girl was chased by monsters through a massive city. Only this massive city was real—the capital at the heart of Prosperity—and so were the monsters. Well, monster. She’d taken out one, but a second was heading her way.

The shadows wicked around her as she ran. A chill twisted through the damp night and fat drops of rain dripped under her collar and down her back.

“Left up ahead,” instructed Bea, and Kate bolted past a row of shops and down an alley, leaving a trail of fear and blood like bread crumbs in her wake. She reached a narrow lot and a wall, only it wasn’t a wall, but a warehouse door, and for a split second she was back in the abandoned building in the Waste, cuffed to a bar in a blacked-out room while somewhere beyond the door, metal struck bone and someone—


Kate blinked the memory away as Bea repeated her instruction. But she was sick of running, and the door was ajar, so she went straight, out of the rain and into the vacant space.

There were no windows in the warehouse, no light at all save that from the street behind her, which reached only a few feet—the rest of the steel structure was plunged into solid black. Kate’s pulse pounded in her head as she cracked a glorified glow stick—Liam’s idea—and tossed it into the shadows, flooding the warehouse with steady white light.

“Kate . . . ,” chimed in Riley for the first time. “Be careful.”

She snorted. Count on Riley to give useless advice. She scanned the warehouse, spotted crates piled within reach of the steel rafters overhead, and started to climb, hauling herself the last of the way up just as the door rattled on its hinges.

Kate froze.

She held her breath as fingers—not flesh and bone, but something else—curled around the door and slid it open.

Static sounded in her good ear.

“Status?” asked Liam nervously.

“Busy,” she hissed, balancing on the rafters as the monster filled the doorway, and for an instant, Kate imagined Sloan’s red eyes, his shining fangs, his dark suit.

Come out, little Katherine, he’d say. Let’s play a game.

The sweat on her skin chilled, but it was just her mind playing tricks on her—the creature edging forward into the warehouse wasn’t a Malchai. It was something else entirely.

It had a Malchai’s red eyes, yes, and a Corsai’s sharp claws, but its skin was the bluish black of a rotting corpse, and it wasn’t after flesh or blood.

It fed on hearts.

Kate didn’t know why she’d assumed the monsters would be the same. Verity had its triad, but here she had only come across a single kind. So far.

Then again, Verity boasted the highest crime rate of all ten territories—thanks in large part, she was sure, to her father—while Prosperity’s sins were harder to place. On the books, Prosperity was the wealthiest territory by half, but it was a robust economy rotting from the inside out.

If Verity’s sins were knives, quick and vicious, then Prosperity’s were poison. Slow, insidious, but just as deadly. And when the violence began to coalesce into something tangible, something monstrous, it didn’t happen all at once, as in Verity, but in a drip, slow enough that most of the city was still pretending the monsters weren’t real.

The thing in the warehouse suggested otherwise.

The monster inhaled, as though trying to smell her, a chilling reminder of which of them was the predator and which, for the moment, was prey. Fear scraped along her spine as its head swung from side to side. And then it looked up. At her.

Kate didn’t wait.

She dropped down, catching herself on the steel rafter to ease the fall. She landed in a crouch between the monster and the warehouse door, spikes flashing in her hands, each the length of her forearm and filed to a vicious point.

“Looking for me?”

The creature turned, flashing two dozen blue-black teeth in a feral grimace.

“Kate?” pressed Teo. “You see it?”

“Yeah,” she said dryly. “I see it.”

Bea and Liam both started talking, but Kate tapped her ear and the voices dropped out, replaced a second later by a strong beat, a heavy bass. The music filled her head, drowning out her fear and her doubt and her pulse and every other useless thing.

The monster curled its long fingers, and Kate braced herself—the first one had tried to punch right through her chest (she’d have the bruises to prove it). But the attack didn’t come.

“What’s the matter?” she chided, her voice lost beneath the beat. “Is my heart not good enough?”

She had wondered, briefly, in the beginning, if the crimes written on her soul would somehow make her less appetizing.

Apparently not.

A second later, the monster lunged.

Kate was always surprised to discover that monsters were fast.

No matter how big.

No matter how ugly.

She dodged back, quick on her feet.

Five years’ and six private schools’ worth of self-defense had given her a head start, but the last six months hunting down things that went bump in Prosperity—that had been the real education.

She danced between blows, trying to avoid the monster’s claws and get under its guard.

Nails raked the air above Kate’s head as she ducked and slashed the iron spike across the creature’s outstretched hand.

It snarled and swung at her, recoiling only after its claws bit into her sleeve and hit copper mesh beneath. The armor absorbed most of the damage, but Kate still hissed as somewhere on her arm the skin parted and blood welled up.

She let out a curse and drove her boot into the creature’s chest.

It was twice her size, made of hunger and gore and God knew what else, but the sole of her shoe was plated with iron, and the creature went staggering backward, clawing at itself as the pure metal burned away a stretch of mottled flesh, exposing the thick membrane that shielded its heart.


Kate launched herself forward, aiming for the still-
sizzling mark. The spike punched through cartilage and muscle before sinking easily into that vital core.

Funny, she thought, that even monsters had fragile hearts.

Her momentum carried her forward, and the monster fell back, and they went down together, its body collapsing beneath her into a mound of gore and rot. Kate staggered to her feet, holding her breath against the noxious fumes until she reached the warehouse door. She slumped against it, pressing a palm to the gash on her arm.

The song was ending in her ear, and she switched the feed back to Control.

“How long has it been?”

“We have to do something.”

“Shut up,” she said. “I’m here.”

A string of profanity.

A few stock lines of relief.

“Status?” asked Bea.

Kate pulled the cell from her pocket, snapped a photo of the gory slick on the concrete, and hit send.

“Jesus,” answered Bea.

“Wicked,” said Liam.

“Looks fake,” offered Teo.

Riley sounded queasy. “Do they always . . . fall apart?”

The litany in her ear was just another reminder that these people had no business being on this end of the fight. They had their purpose, but they weren’t like her. Weren’t hunters.

“How about you, Kate?” asked Riley. “You okay?”

Blood soaked her calf and dripped from her fingers, and truth be told, she felt a little dizzy, but Riley was human—she didn’t have to tell him the truth.

“Peachy,” she said, killing the call before any of them could hear the catch in her breath. The glow stick flickered and faded, plunging her back into the dark.

But she didn’t mind.

It was empty now.

Check out my review of the first book in this duology!

Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say "tom-ah-toes," "like," and "y'all."

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.

To learn more about Victoria Schwab and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookTumblrYouTubePinterest, and Twitter.

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