• Jools Aguemont

Review: Victoria Schwab - "Monsters of Verity" series

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Let's talk about monsters and why it took me almost a year to decide to read "Our Dark Duet" after I had finished "This Savage Song".

“I know it hurts," she said. "So make it worth the pain.”

"Monsters of Verity" is a YA series by one of my absolutely favourite authors Victoria Schwab. Very obviously, I am slightly biased when it comes to her books, ever since I totally fell in love with "A Darker Shade Of Magic" a few years back. Yet, this doesn't automatically mean I will rate all of her writing 4/4.

Here's the thing with Victoria: She will draw you into her world, she will introduce you to her characters. And you will love them, as flawed and strange and crazy as they all are.

And then she might or might not rip your heart out.

She did this in the "Villains" series, which I might or might not write about at some point and I am still not over that ending.

So when I started "This Savage Song" I was immediately drawn in. This world isn't as fantastical as the one in "A Darker Shade Of Magic". It's weird and dystopian and there are monsters, some of them bad and some of them trying to be good. I absolutely adored the concept of how the monsters came to be and I totally loved August. August is one of our protagonists in this series and he's a monster. And he doesn't want to be. That's pretty much the main theme of "This Savage Song": You have August not wanting to be a monster in the actual monster-way and Kate Harker, whom he becomes friends with, who also fights her demons albeit more invisible ones. They couldn't be more different, but they work extremely well as friends and perhaps more.

The ending of "This Savage Song" was cruel though, and it left me scared of what might happen in "Our Dark Duet". So it sat on my shelf. For months. I think I started reading it three times and put it away again, because I was scared. And two weeks ago, I finally decided I needed to brave it, I needed to read this, I needed to find out if I was right. I wasn't. It was worse. And yet it was better. I don't want to put spoilers in this review, but I think me shouting "no!" at some point might be enough of an indication of how emotional this was.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. I enjoyed every single bit of it. The worldbuilding is superb, the characters are likeable and August's transformation from the boy he was to the man he is now is shown so well. Also kudos for including a nonbinary character in this! I was pleasantly surprised by that and if anyone is still wondering if it is possible to write a person with "they/them/their" pronouns into a story, please use this one as a reference, because Soro is marvellous!

Victoria writes for different audiences. I, personally, have not had a look at her MG works yet, but I enjoy both her YA and adult books equally and apart from the fact that the protagonists in this series are both rather young and go through these growing pains of finding who they are, it didn't feel like a book for teenagers to me. It totally speaks to adults as well, with this theme of the "monster" in everyone of us.

Did it rip my heart out? It so did. But that's kind of what I expect from Victoria these days. A pure Happily Ever After ending just doesn't seem to be on the plate if you read her stuff. Was it a satisfactory ending? Yes it was. And that's why even though it reduced me to a crying mess, I am still giving this series a 4/4 rating!

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