Ｔｉｔｌｅ：Our Dark Duet
Ｒａｔｉｎｇ：★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
＊Ｎｏｔｅ：You can find the review for Book 1 here.
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?
✩ Kate was still stubborn and sarcastic. I would say she was also stronger in the sense that she faced her inner demons instead of running from them.
✩ August was more accepting of his role as a Sunai, he was a stronger leader, and he was still a loyal friend.
❝ “There were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head. She could fight the first, but the second was more dangerous. It was always, always, always a step ahead.” ❞
I was a huge fan of the first book in the series, so naturally, I was a little sad to continue because this is a duology–which makes this the last book *sad face*. But anyways, I was totally nervous about this book. I wanted it to live up to the first book and I was worried about what was going to happen to these wonderful characters. And after finishing the book I can honestly say that this book did not let me down. As a side note before I get into the actual reviewing: check out the audiobook. Seriously, love the narration for these books ❤
Anyways, despite totally being in love with the first book and this book in general, I do have to admit that the beginning feels a little slow. I’m going to chalk it up to being spoiled by all the action in the first book so reading the beginning–which basically just lets us know what’s happened with the characters in the following months–was kinda torturous because I just wanted to jump into the action again. And especially after the ending of This Savage Song, I really wanted to know what the monsters were up to! While things do get interesting when Kate encounters a new type of monster–the story didn’t really come alive until Kate was heading back to Verity.
And with this new monster, we had some changes in our characters as well. I’m focusing on Kate because her character development brought some interesting changes to the writing as well. With Kate’s mind being fractured between her normal self and the monster inside her we were able to see it play out in an interesting way. When the monster started to take over Kate’s chapters would go into a kind of broken poetry which I thought was a nice touch. It was different enough that it could be a little jarring when you’re used to the typical narration (which I think was pretty appropriate considering her condition). It wasn’t a big thing, but I did appreciate that Schwab chose this cool little way of reflecting Kate’s mental breaks in writing.
And because you can’t really talk about Kate without talking about August I want to get into his character a bit as well. I wasn’t seriously disappointed but in a way, it was like his character took two steps back. It’s hard to explain but it was disappointing, but it wasn’t? I guess the “wasn’t” part is because it was well written.
Yes, August does kind of go in the opposite direction after the first book, but you understand why his character developed that way. I think August went from being a dreamer to being more a realist. He knew he couldn’t be human the way he wanted to be, and he accepted that his role in the compound and what comes with it. I think the first book he was trying really hard to be human, but in this book, it’s more about striking a balance and not losing sight of what lines shouldn’t be crossed.
❝ “I’m willing to walk in darkness if it keeps humans in the light.” ❞
And, of course, we had the other characters (Alice, Sloan, Henry, Ilsa, Emily) but the rest of the characters were kind of … forgettable? I think that’s what made the beginning kind of rough too. We had these other random characters that were Kate’s friends/squad while she was in Prosperity but they were only there for a short time. They weren’t really that important and so they just kinda… were there? They didn’t make much of an impression on me and I wasn’t invested in them like I was with the others.
Oh, and I do want to take a little break here too to talk about the new Sunai in Our Dark Duet, Soro–because I feel like the Sunai are always interesting haha. I thought it was kind of interesting to have Soro identify as gender-neutral (so there is a little LGBTQ rep here). Each of the Sunai have their own obstacles to overcome, and I thought it was nice to have Soro be so confident in their identity. And each Sunai has their own take on what it means to be a Sunai. For Soro, that meant following the rules strictly and protecting others although Soro didn’t take it to quite the extreme that Leo did. So I just kind of wanted to address this because it was a nice touch and something different in the Sunai circle.
And because we’re talking about monsters I also want to talk a little bit about the new monster in this book. It was a nice change to have the monster be internal rather than a physical manifestation like we were used to. I liked the change from something you had to physically fight to something that took the worst parts of you and twisted them. It forced Kate to face a lot of the issues she avoided in the first book and to really look inside. The shift to more emotional/psychological battles was nice and then we still had physical dangers with the fangs and original monsters (Corsai and Malchai) so it still had plenty of action.
Lastly, we have to talk about the plot and the ending. I already mentioned that the beginning felt kind of slow. I feel like compared to the first book, Our Dark Duet does take a little longer to get to the actual story. I also think the plot didn’t feel as… intense–for lack of a better word–as the first book. Yes, the new monster poses a threat, but Sloan and Alice (who were our big antagonists) didn’t feel that important compared to the first book. I just felt like their motivations felt a little flimsy. Both Sloan and Alice spent most of the book just kind of obsessing over Kate which was really like eh to me. I wanted something more than pettiness fueling them.
Annnnnnd the ending… That. Ending. I cannot really process my feelings over that ending even now. It’s part of the reason I took so long to write the review for Our Dark Duet honestly. I felt a mix of emotions, including disbelief, shock, and sadness. It’s really hard for me to express my thoughts on the ending because I’m so indecisive about how I feel. Part of me is like “okay, yes, I can accept that” but part of me is like “no, no, no! WHY?!” Honestly, I’m not sure how to feel about it. I wish that what happened to a certain character hadn’t happened, but at the same time… it pushed other characters to reevaluate their actions/beliefs? If you read the book I hope you’ll stop by and leave a comment about the ending. Share your thoughts because I’m a mess over it haha.
So yeah, I’ll end this review with that semi-ominous/ambiguous thought haha. And just to be clear, this book is still a fun read and the duology has to be one of my favorite series. I do recommend it for people who like fantasy/paranormal and dystopian genres, but just be prepared for that messy ending (calling it messy because I can’t even think of the right word to describe it).