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?
Description taken from Goodreads.
Call me a black sheep, but I can’t love this one as much as This Savage Song. It’s just not there. And that doesn’t mean I was completely unaffected by the *spoiler* death at the end of the novel. It was sad. I was sad, mostly because of the death but partially because there wasn’t more to change my opinion of the book.
The problem with Our Dark Duet is that the plot, which is 100% cliché, doesn’t support the premise, which is 100% certified all-natural glorious Victoria Schwab. Thankfully, it doesn’t start out that way.
The beginning of Our Dark Duet is set months after the events of This Savage Song. In the long run, it was a literary decision that made sense both plot-wise and pacing-wise, but it created a stark and ugly disconnect with the previous book. I last read the first book in this duology more than a year ago, and I only remembered snapshots the characters and the circumstances we left them in, to the point where I had to flip back through This Savage Song for a refresher course.
The story started out brilliantly once I knew what was going on. I loved the sinister beginning with Alice and Sloan, and unsurprisingly, I was reminded why Schwab is one of my favorite writers. It was great to catch up with August and Kate and to find what had changed and what hadn’t in their lives. For me, the best part of this book was the character development that we see in August and his internal struggle over whether to be a monster or be human–or if he can even choose just one. That theme came in right from the get-go and was fascinating to follow.
When things started to go downhill was when the plot didn’t go anywhere. Unlike its predecessor, Our Dark Duet has noticeably slow pacing and filler scattered throughout it. Almost the entire first half of the book focuses on August and Kate doing their own thing, Kate hunting monsters in Prosperity with an entirely new cast of characters who are, more or less, forgettable, and August trying to keep things together in a broken dam of a city. On August’s side, Sloan’s new right-hand Alice tries tactic after tactic to bring down August, and all she ends up with is more dead troops (because August goes Super Saiyan now that he has a steel-tipped bow on his violin) and readers who are sick of seeing the same thing repeatedly. Things change when Kate discovers a new kind of monster while in Prosperity and tracks it down to Verity.
What rubs me the wrong way about this plot is that it feels like such a cliché and a cop-out. Nothing else seems to make the plot move forward, so why not bring in a new, common enemy? Kate’s story is significantly less interesting and relevant to our lives today than August’s in Our Dark Duet, and it was a disservice to send her out to another irrelevant city just to bring back a plot.
The fight that ensues manages to be both chaotic and boring at the same time. All things considered, I wanted much more from Our Dark Duet.There were bits and pieces of it that I loved, and Victoria Schwab is still very high on my list of favorite authors, but there were a lot of things about the book and the plot that weren’t surprising or innovative at all. I know most people won’t see the book this way, so I’ll still be recommending it, but it just wasn’t there for me personally. 2 stars.