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

Our Dark Duet continues the stories of Kate Harker and August Flynn, six months after the events of This Savage Song. You should read that novel before going any further with this review. The review for This Savage Song can be found here.

Kate has moved to Prosperity, a town richer than Verity, but slowly being corrupted by monsters, but these aren’t the monsters that she is used to; the Corsai, Malchai and Sunai. The monsters of Prosperity eat hearts. Although these monster attacks are not being portrayed as such. Kate has also realised that although she doesn’t want to make connections she is tired of being on her own and has surrounded herself with a team of hackers known as The Wardens who alert her to these attacks. It is interesting to see Kate struggle with caring about others and letting them into her life and being aware that they are more than just her team.

August has also changed a lot since the events at the end of This Savage Song, with Leo’s voice in his head, he has stopped asking questions about whether he has a soul, and now leads a team that flushes out the sinners from the refugees coming from South Verity, as well as destroying as many Malchai and Corsai as possible. August’s life is much more militaristic and constrictive than previously seen which is sad, but it’s interesting to see more of how the FTF is run.

In Verity things have gone from bad to worse, there is now no connection to the outside world, and only North Verity provides as long as you join up to fight. South Verity now belongs to Sloan and he is making plans to take out the Flynn's once and for all. Sloan still longs for the day that he can kill Kate, whereas he is content to let Alice go after August. Sloan and Alice’s contemptuous alliance is fun to read, as both of their personalities are so different from each other and also from the humans whose deeds spawned them. Sloan is much more obsessive about his goals, while Alice is a playful psycho, who is all about death, death and more death. Alice to me feels like a cat toying with August, just to see how he will react.

Kate comes back to Verity after a very different monster emerges in Prosperity, this monster can intensify and control the hatred in humanity leading them to extreme acts of violence. Eventually known as a Chaos Eater, this monster feeds on violence and proves to be very difficult to find and define. Kate knows that the harm the Chaos Eater can inflict on Verity is substantial and that she has to warn August of this new threat, even though it means giving up the life she is slowly building for herself.

I liked how different Kate and August’s relationship is, how well they know and understand each other, even though they still struggle to communicate properly, in a way they are both reminders of each other's pasts and what they have lost in trying to keep Verity from falling. Kate and August bring out both the best and worst in each other, which is needed when facing Sloan and working out what he is trying to do. It really felt that at times the characters were pieces on a chessboard, with the players having very different strategies with various strengths and weaknesses.

For a book that is over 400 pages in length, the story felt like a quick and easy read. The characters are presented in a way that even when they are hurting and making bad decisions you still want to know what happens next. Whether their decisions will lead to Verity becoming monster free or for some of the characters to work out that there are different ways of seeing that the world is not just black or white, or in this case red or white. The ending of Our Dark Duet is dramatic, I really didn’t see it coming, but it is written in a way that felt like it was the only way this story could have ended.

9/10 The ending of Our Dark Duet is dramatic, I really didn't see it coming

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