Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
There’s no such thing as safe.
Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.
August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.
Their city is divided.
Their city is crumbling.
Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.
But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?
Kate Harker and August Flynn live in a world where violence breeds actual monsters. Set years after the United States has been destroyed and replaced with territories and in one particular region the city of Verity sits divided. On one side of the divide citizens can purchase their safety from its leader, Kate Harker’s father. The other side houses the most powerful of the three types of monsters, and August Flynn just happens to be one of them. Thrown together because they are both trying to be different than themselves they will learn more than they ever thought they could about themselves and the world they live in.
Kate Harker wants nothing more than to prove to her father that she is just like him. She wants to be ruthless and fearless in the face of the monsters he commands. Kate tries her best to intimidate her classmates and rule over those her own age much like her father rules half of the city and it’s interesting to see when she succeeds and how she deals with her failures. It’s also interesting that she vocalizes one thing while her internal thoughts are screaming another. We get to see that she is just a child who wants nothing more than to be loved by her parent and that makes her vulnerable and relatable.
August on the other hand is a monster or at least that’s what the nursery rhymes tell say. Created from a moment of tragedy he arrived surrounded by death. He hates the part of himself that has to steal the souls of sinners in order to survive and struggles to learn that it’s not the only part of himself. He struggled with an over protective father who wants to keep him safe and away from the war that threatened to split V-City apart. He wants to be part of the life that his older brother, Leo thrives in. His brother who is the face of the military in their half of the city. His brother who so many people are intimidated by.
The story is told in alternating narration and really gets started once the two are thrown together. Schwab paces this book out perfectly and I was never left feeling sluggish or like I was zipping by so quickly I was missing things. I feel like the alternating narrations works perfectly in this story. For a long time, I absolutely despised more than one narrator in stories, but this one didn’t bother me in the least, in fact I feel like it only makes the book stronger.
I love the fact that August can take the souls of the sinners simply by playing the violin, it makes me feel like I will be all powerful anytime I play my flute. I love how Kate’s memories of the night her mother died are so strong at first, then turn shaky as we start to realize maybe her memories of that night are unreliable until she finally discovers/reveals the truth near the end of the book.
Overall I loved so many things about this book, most of them I can’t discuss in ways that aren’t spoilers. I can’t wait to read Our Dark Duet when it comes out later this year. Have any of you read this book? What were your thoughts?