Review: Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity#2) by Victoria Schwab

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

Published by: Grenwillow Books

Date of Publication: June 13th 2017

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal

Pages: 510

Format: I own physical book

Rating:★★★★★ 5 Stars

*Please note there are spoilers for This Savage Song in this review. If you’d like to check out my review for This Savage Song, please see 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?

It has now been 1 week since I finished Our Dark Duet aka “Breaker of Hearts” in my home *sobs* & since this is the sequel to a duology, I’ll keep this review short, dark, and spoiler free 😉

Great track to listen to while reading ODD, Windmill Song is strictly Violin & it def has that Monstress tone to it 😉

When we last left Verity, Kate & August had confronted Harker (her dad) & asked for his truths. After finding out that Harker is responsible for the death of her mother & also for breaking the truce, Kate doesn’t hesitate to shoot at her father. August intervenes & reaps his soul so as to prevent her from making the kill shot & thus creating her own monster. They each go their own ways with the expectation that it would be their last time seeing each other. This was all fine & well until the world as they knew it grew even darker than before while under the “protection” of Harker. With Harker out of the way, Sloan a Malchai (Monster) has taken up the mantle with a full crew of monsters & deviants to do his dirty work. Up until now, Verity was the only place infested with these creatures. Kate soon learns about a new monster behind violent acts & it is roaming the streets of Prosperity a place known to be safe from the darkness that plagues Verity….

The events in This Savage Song left deep scars in all of the players involved & also left some questioning the very foundation of their principles. In this new world innocents seek shelter from the monsters that have taken over more than half of the city. However, a warm bed/meal on the opposite side of the city is made available only to those souls who have never taken a life voluntarily or in self defense. August is now a leader in the FTC & to him is left the toughest task of reaping souls. We all know August as a Sunai who longed to be just an ordinary boy going to school & not acceptant of his true nature. We see August give in to his darker side in ODD & kind of go numb to his new world. Kate on the other hand has gone full on vigilante mode in Prosperity. She’s even found a group of hackers that serve as kind of her “Over watch” who go by the name of The Wardens while she goes on missions to clean up the streets one monster at a time. I found this addition of new characters to be a bit odd this late in the game but I’m keeping hope alive that this leaves the door open for a spin-off. As always, Schwab doesn’t disappoint with character development. She has created a dark world filled with fear & desperation that has molded these characters in order to fight back. Seeing both Kate & August’ slow progression to their end game cemented my attachment to these characters. Heavily flawed & jaded yet holding on tight to the belief that humanity is worth saving…

Photo credit: alekzandermorozova

“People were messy. They were defined not only by what they’d done, but by what they would have done, under different circumstances, molded as much by their regrets as their actions, choices they stood by and those they wished they could undo. Of course, there was no going back – time only moved forward – but people could change.

For worse.

And for better.

It wasn’t easy. The world was complicated. Life was hard. And so often, living hurt.

So make it worth the pain.”

It’s safe to say that I will read anything Schwab writes at this point. She speaks to that dark part of your soul…yea I truly do believe we all have a smidge of that (some more than others lol). I’m also noticing that as I follow her writing career through her books, she gets better & better with each new book. I’ve gotten accustomed to her first book in any series being slow paced while it builds to the sequel & yet I do not mind. She is wonderful at weaving complex characters and worlds where nothing is ever as simple as Good or Evil. Her characters always walking that thin line between either or making them much more authentic. I’m sad to see this world come to a close & that ending truly destroyed me, yet I am satisfied with it all. A ending that isn’t neatly wrapped up & one where the reader shares in the pain of the characters they love. AMAZING. Fingers crossed that the door to Monsters of Verity is left even a fraction open, I’d take that 🙂

Are any readers out there mending a broken heart? (no spoilers in comm plz) I sure am! any theories on The Wardens? I’m being hopeful here lol!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten accordingly. I LOVE lists, they keep me happy…here are my top 10 picks for this weeks topic:

June 26th 2016: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far…

*had this been a prompt for the 2nd half of the year I think I would’ve tapped out with all the great books we have coming our way. The books listed below are in no particular order.

(Covers  —-> Goodreads Links)


320756711. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

*A raw & moving read relevant to our current times. It’s hard to read THUG & not walk away feeling like you need to do your part in the Black Lives Matter movement. Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


2. love, and you by Gretchen Gomez34335011

*For all those who have experienced that one toxic relationship, you know? the one you simply cannot let go…this one is for you. Love, and you will haunt you with each turn of a page & ultimately will leave you with hope for healing. Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


   3. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera   history-is-all-you-left-me

* If you’ve been following me for a while now, this comes as no surprise. I ADORE Adam Silvera to pieces! so much so that after being pushed by a mob at Bookcon for his new book They Both Die at the End, my hubby went into full on Superhero mode & got me a copy smh lol. Every single one of his books make me cry & I keep going back for more! smh. Check out my review here.

 

 

 


4. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Upside

*Upside was my 1st Albertalli book & it was everything I could’ve hoped for and some. I laughed so hard & fell in love with all of these characters. Filled with diversity & positive body rep, Upside is a Gem of a book <3. Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


5. A Million Junes by Emily HenryA Million Junes

*STUNNING writing! if you’ve ever felt a tad bit intimidated (Me) by Magical Realism or even had a bad experience reading a MR book, please give this one a go, it’s not at all the type that will have you looking all types of constipated trying to figure it out lol. A beautiful story at its core about a daughter trying to find answers from her father who passed away…Check out my review here.

 

 


6. The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

25489134*This was Katherine Arden’s debut novel & OMYGOSHHH how is it so damn good?!?! Atmospheric, slower paced, filled with Russian folklore gahhhh! female protog reminds me of Merida from Brave lol, be still my heart! Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


300954647. The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) By Rin Chupeco

*The Bone Witch has a ton of mixed reviews, mostly the complaint was based on the slow pacing & I won’t deny that it is slow paced.  However, as a lover of Memoirs of a Geisha, I instantly got sucked into this world and its main protog. This one is for the lover of lush worlds & details. I am looking forward to the sequel . Check out my review here

 

 


8. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappa Eliza and her monsters

*I am still a mess from having to leave this world & these characters. For those who have ever loved being part of a fandom, Eliza is your girl! filled with bits of comic strips and online chat messages this book will make you wish Monstress Sea was a real thing 😉 Check out my review here.  

 

 

 

 


291028969. Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

*Impactful, raw, painful, but necessary. A story centered around dating abuse & domestic violence  I just recently finished Bad Romance & it’s safe to say that it will resonate with me for years to come. This isn’t the type of book I’d recommend to just anyone as it does tackle many difficult topics. Check out my review here.

 

 

 


Our Dark Duet10. Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

* I couldn’t possibly compose a list of my favorites so far & not include the most satisfying conclusion to a duology. Our Dark Duet left me in tears & heartbroken yet at the same time, it was perfect. Review to come just as soon as I could work up my nerve to write my RAVE review lol 😉

 

 

 


Happy Tuesday Bookworms!!! have you read any of the books I’ve listed? It’s already the last week of June & there are a ton more EPIC reads ahead of us *Gasps* legit wish I could slow down the hands of time just a smidge 😉

Review: Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis

25314447Given to the Sea (Given Duet #1) by Mindy McGinnis

Published by: Putnam’s Children’s

Publication Date: April 11th 2017

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Pages: 352 pages

Format: eGalley

Rating: ★★★ (3 STARS)

*Trigger warning for attempted rape & suicide

HUGE thanks to Putnam’s Children’s, Penguin’s First To Read, and Mindy McGinnis for the eGalley of Given to the Sea in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.

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The Goodreads Blurb for Given to the Sea gives a pretty detailed account of the plot and how all of the characters are tied together. So instead I’ll talk about some of the plot points and the things I enjoyed…

  • We start of our story with the main protagonist knowing that her whole existence is meant to serve as a sacrificial lamb to appease the Ocean.
  • Khosa (main protagonist) is no heroine jumping at the chance to save Stille and her people. She is also in no hurry to fulfill her role’s main requirement which is to bear a female child prior to being given to the sea.
  • Similar to many other stories of court life, we see politics at play. Khosa’s path does cross with that of the young prince who is 3rd in line to the throne.
  • While getting to know Khosa’s fears and wants, we are also introduced to other pivotal characters through multiple POV chapters.
  • Dara & Donil are Indiri brother & sister who were adopted since birth by the Prince’s mother. They lost their entire native race and since then have lived to protect those who took them in. The twins are feared by the people; known to have the ability to talk & walk from birth, they also possess certain abilities (a pretty cool superhuman ability lol) that make them excellent hunters.
  • We get introduced to the Pietra who pose a threat to Stille, the Pietra are led by Witt who obtained his rank or position by being the most fearless. Unlike in Stille, the elderly aren’t in positions of power. It’s up to Witt to cast away the elderly once they  can no longer physically contribute.
  • The Pietra however, aren’t the only threat to Stille who has yet to yield the Given to the ocean. A tradition that they believe is necessary in order to pacify the ocean & keep it from wiping them out completely.
  • I however, found the outside forces such as the Pietra to be the most interesting part of the story. There’s a bloody history tying the Indiri & the Pietra that was touched upon and think we will get more of in the sequel.

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Our main protagonist Khosa is strong willed & full with the desire to live although her fate has been decided since birth. Born into the line of women that have all been sacrificed to the ocean as the Given, she appears to have accepted her fate. Internally however, Khosa is angry & despises the idea of being set to breed at all. She wants to save her people & Stille however, a part of her resents them all. There wasn’t anything about Khosa that stood out to me as a likable quality, then again I would be bitter too if I was existing only to be sacrificed. Prince Victor gave me Dorian from the Throne of Glass series vibes & I could take him or leave him. Just like with Dorian, I wasn’t a fan of this Royal. I was however, VERY intrigued by Dara & Donil who are the Indiri twins adopted as Victor’s siblings. I LOVED their relationship with one another & how fiercely loyal they are. I also loved that Dara is actually made out to be the more lethal & stronger one (YAY Girls Rule! lol). Witt, the leader of the Pietra is a character I didn’t feel much towards even though he’s written as having a struggle with morality. Whether it’s the years of sending elderly to their deaths in handmade boats, or the brutal murders he’s witnessed & committed himself…we are made to believe that he doesn’t enjoy any of it. I however, wasn’t able to feel any empathy towards this character since all throughout this book he carries on sending people off to their deaths. I was satisfied with most of the characters development since the multiple POV’s allowed me to see things from each character’s perspective. I did wish that Dara & Donil’s POV’s were actually separated in order to get more from Donil.

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Given to the Sea is broken into multiple POV chapters, the focus being: Khosa, Victor, Dara, and Witt. As I mentioned before, Donil’s perspective is meshed in with Dara’s even though he has as big of an arc as Dara. I also struggled with half of these characters perspectives being told in first person while the other half is told in third person. Often times stopping while reading because of the awkwardness. It is the supporting characters and their histories that really drew me in and made for compelling story telling. The Indiri’s birth into this world was a bloody & painful one filled with loss & I found myself wanting to know more. I flagged this review for the following trigger warnings: attempted rape & suicide…the suicide is the “willing” sacrifice made by each of the women born to the lineage of the first given. There are also scenes of attempted rape that are a bit generous with the details. The reasoning behind the attempts is that the clock is ticking, the sea is angry, and the Given is not with child. Although I flew through this book,  found myself feeling uncomfortable with many parts. Some i’ve described in this review & others i’m still sorting my feelings on. Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable scenes for me, was one between a woman from a group of outcasts that is described as missing all of her limbs and one of Witt’s men. I won’t go into detail other than to say that I felt this character was very much sexualized because of  her missing limbs. This being my 1st Mindy McGinnis read, it’s clear to me that I may not be a fan of her Fantasy however, I am still very interested in her other books some of which I already own & will be reading later this year. Given to the Sea ended off possibly stronger than it’s slower start & for this reason alone, I will probably read the conclusion to this duology. I am attached to the Indiri twins and it is their story I would like to see to the very end 😉

Have any of my bookish peeps read Given to the Sea? what are your thoughts on Mindy’s first full fledged YA Fantasy? did you connect with any of the characters like I did with the Indiri?