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Kate Harker isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it.

August Flynn once yearned to be human. But no longer. 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?

528 pages, Hardcover

First published June 13, 2017

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About the author

Victoria Schwab

33 books104k followers
Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say "tom-ah-toes," "like," and "y'all."

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,388 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,992 reviews298k followers
June 15, 2017
Because she knew a secret: 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.

Oh shiiiiit. Schwab was not playing nice with our feelings when she wrote this book. I suspect she might be a bit evil, but, you know, in a good way.

Our Dark Duet picks up several months after the events of This Savage Song. August is busy fulfilling his monstrous duty in Verity - reaping the souls of those who have committed violent acts - and Kate is now part of a monster-fighting gang in Prosperity.

The book starts slowly with some introspection. August struggles between his duty and what he believes, deep down, is right. He hears the voice of his dead brother instructing him in his head. Kate, on the other hand, is now battling her own inner and outer demons. She hunts monsters to ignore the sadness and loneliness she feels. This all seems fairly innocuous.

But then a new monster comes to town.
The air smelled like blood and panic as she forced herself toward the restaurant, toward the massacre, toward the chaos.
And there, in the middle of it all, so still she almost didn’t see it, stood a monster.

I'll let you find out the details for yourself, but this monster is unlike anything Kate or August have seen before. Not a Corsai, not a Malchai, and not a Sunai, but something else. Kate trails it back to the place that has been calling her for months - Verity.

When I started the book I didn't have a clear memory of This Savage Song and wondered if I would have to do a reread, but a couple of chapters in and it all came flooding back to me. I figured out somewhere along the way what this series reminds me of, and that's Kagawa's The Immortal Rules. Both are dark, creepy, and full of monsters and I get a similar vibe from them.

New and interesting characters emerge, such as the genderless Soro, who it's just a shame we won't get to see more of. But the very best part of this book is the ending. In fact, the whole latter half of the story just explodes. Breakneck pacing leading towards a fittingly dramatic conclusion that pretty much destroyed me.

I will end with my favourite quote:
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.

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Profile Image for Victoria Schwab.
Author 33 books104k followers
April 13, 2017
Now that this book is written and edited and out in 2 months, I guess it's time to finally mark it as read <3
Profile Image for  Teodora .
329 reviews1,780 followers
April 2, 2023
Taking another ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ from dear old Ilsa, bless her

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

„What happens when the effect kills the cause?”

Ah well, when I started this second book of the Monsters of Verity duology, I knew it was going to eat my soul out. I was completely right, I don’t regret my decision to read it, I assume all the fault like a big girl, so now I have to walk around soulless and broken for the rest of the eternity probably. Okay, not eternity. But a week at least. Should not be that hard though.

I will confess: I am furious.

Furious of V.E. Schwab having such a great sense of writing and such an awesome imagination and such a cool touch to the narrative facts. Like, how dare you, V.E.?

Moving on, even though I am still not over you, Ms Schwab, this second book of the duology was slightly better than the first one, This Savage Song. I say slightly because both of them are so good and so packed with action and facts that I just can’t draw a different conclusion than the one that they both are great. This second one a bit more because, oh well, IT MADE ME CRY.

Yeah, it made me ugly-cry and I caps-locked that on purpose and I am going to leave it like that. It is a warning sign for everyone who hasn’t read the books and is masochistic enough to read them. I warned you.

I am still amazed by the fact that this book is based on music and monsters.

I read somewhere, some time long ago, that even the most feral beasts could be tamed with music. That, apparently, is the scientific version of „music is the cool kid”. So this is why I think those two major themes work so weirdly good together.

„Do you ever wonder why music brings a soul to surface?”

Music is some kind of soul nourishment if you ask my humble opinion. It is a way of treating a soul through the whole body. The escape, the safe place, the rock. Even a monster could agree on that, because, funny or not, monsters have such fragile hearts too.

As a developing point of the book, the idea of a new monster, worse than any other, a Chaos Eater, because it feeds on chaos and violence and death, has reached the action (or made the action, better said). And this is terrifying because it looks unstoppable. But it is not. As we say in Romanian, „fiecare cântec are și-un descântec”, every song has its own enchantment or undoing, this monster has a weakness that can be overpowered by a good cause.

This monster is the reason our characters are able to develop.

Kate and August. August and Kate. Hmm, there is something about the two of them that just mends my heart. They are a dynamic duo. They are the better half of each other. They pass good in any situation, each being the anchor for another. There is such an easy connection between the two of them that it just makes me feel like their souls have been alongside each other since the beginning of life.


I dearly appreciated the lack of romance in the first book, I forgot to mention it there. It is very rare to create two such perfect characters and not to throw them at each other on the first occasion. As for the second book – this one – I must say that I expected something to happen between Kate and August (it would’ve felt surreal if it didn’t). And it did. And I did almost burst into HA I KNEW IT. But as I read on, this kind of romance was so easy, so effortless, so platonic that I just combusted with love and gave them my approval to romance on. But then something happened, V.E.’s mother antennas shot straight up and she went like „Na-ah, not on my watch”. And she did THAT (for the ones who have read the book – you bloody know what I mean; for the ones you haven’t – well, read and see for yourselves).

„And for once, a word felt simple, because Kate was the one who kept him fighting, who looked at him and saw him, and saw through him at the same time, and who never let go.”

Also, I didn’t think I could’ve possibly love Ilsa more than I did in the first book, but apparently I could. She is the warmest presence of the book; her actions are always well-intended and her heart is full of love for her brother, August. The brother-sister relationship between the two of them is so warm and soothing that makes me think again at the author’s capacity for creating situations.


Further on, I couldn’t help but make an interesting connection between two things that caught me by surprise at the moment and I am so curious if the author had that in mind too or is was just a happy misunderstanding of mine.

In this book, there would be a shard of the monster stuck in Kate’s eye, throughout the book (don’t jump at my neck, it is not a spoiler, it is obvious in the book!). Okay. Shard of something in the eye, makes Kate interconnected with the monster, makes her desire to lose herself in violence. But...where did I know that from? And so it hit me.

Has anyone ever read the beautiful tale of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen? It was one of my favourite stories and if you haven’t read the original, please make a bit of time and do read it.

In the tale, an evil spirit like the devil possesses a mirror in which everything good and beautiful turned into something bad and ugly. When this mirror shatters, the shards get stuck into people’s eyes and souls, making them see and do inhumanly bad things. This happens to little Kai from the story too and I couldn’t notice the resemblance between him and Kate. It was absolutely fascinating.

As I previously said, this book is absolutely amazing and I base my statement by the fact that it is full of metaphors, one of which is the monsters that are humans and the humans that are monsters. But also, one of my favourites, there is the metaphor of the self .

The author does an amazing job by exposing this metaphor, everything that it is and everything that it does, causing and affecting and altering; winning and losing, losing and winning. In the end, there is nothing but the unforgivable equality of destiny. The wheel of fortune completing its righteous circle.

„(...) if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

In the end, coming back to an older discussion, humans and monsters can be very alike at times. Humans can be as monstrous as the monsters themselves...only just...can we tell the difference between the two in cases like this?

That is a question left unanswered. And so I am going to leave it to. I still can’t properly cope with the ending of this book, even though I am super glad that I’ve read it. So, as the great Victoria Schwab put it into the acknowledgements of the book, I have to agree with her and say that "this book nearly killed me" too.
Profile Image for emi.
453 reviews1,088 followers
July 4, 2021
Funny, she thought, that even monsters had fragile hearts.

10382950/5 stars

RIP EMI, 1998-2017

I'm so dead.

Victoria Schwab has killed me one too many times that I'm all out of lives.

I just can't.

The fact that this series is only two books and I'll never get to see my children again makes me so mad. I'm currently saving up for a lawyer so I can sue Victoria for emotional distress.

Also sorry, this review is a complete mess, much like myself right now. I've been trying to write it for three days now and I just don't know what to day. Everything I want to say is so spoilerly and I just can't.

If you read This Savage Song and was like "it's good but not my favorite" which, shame on you for ever saying that about a Victoria novel then you are gonna die even more than I did because this book wasn't even on the same level as TSS. I can't believe they are even the same series.

We start off 6 months after TSS and holy f*ck shit has gone down in between books. Kate's off ignoring her responsibilities and monster hunting in a different city and being a bamf. August is in Verity running an army and slowly dying inside and every time he is sad I am sad and I don't like it.

If you didn’t know this already, August is my son. He’s five years old and I love him very much. His first day of Kindergarten is in September and I am very excited for him to go off into the world and make friends. He’s just growing up so quickly

Then there's this creepy monster that feeds off chaos that goes to Verity to create chaos and Kate has to return home and reunite with her bff August to take down this monster down

And that's when everythign goes to shit

August Flynn

First of all, someone please teach me to kill people with a violin like August does. I honestly want to be that badass.

August is one of the most interesting characters to ever exist. This may be just a duology but his character development in these two book spanned a entire ten book series. It was just so spot on? He was so cute and naive in TSS and he still in in ODD but he's also strong and capable and thoughtful and acts so much older than his age.

Also can we talk about fascinating he is as a person/monster/species. He was born from the ashes of a mass killing, gets tally mark tattoos on his body for not being a monster, can steal someone's soul using just a violin. I am so intrigued by him. I kinda wanna be him.

Kate Harker

Kate is literally human goals. She doesn't take anyone's shit. She does her own thing. There are big bad monsters that are intimidated by her. I love her so much.

I love how she became this monster hunter in the city of Prosperity at the beginning and she made this great group of friends and she was starting to get to a point in her life where she could finally be happy.

There's a major spoiler below that I just really need to talk about. Please do not click unless you've read the book


As you can tell, I'm still haven't' found a way out of hell yet.

I don't think I'll ever be able to read a book as good as this again.

August Flynn is my baby and I love him so much.

This book was dark af and I love it.

Both Victoria Schwab series ended this year and now I don't know what I am going to do with my life until her next book comes out.

This review is the worst. I'm sorry. I'm too dead to care.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
December 23, 2020
this was the most incredibly disappointing thing I have read in my life, I feel like I need to climb into a hole and cry and hide from my followers

Okay. You really want to hear it? Because I have thoughts.

First of all, I was not invested in the plot like, at all, and it is due to a fundamental structural flaw. In a series that is structured with each book playing into the next, as this one is, a good second book should be about the fallout of book one. But here, while the repurcussions of book one are part of the plot – Verity and August are both now a mess, how do we deal with that – a random new monster is the cause of 80% of the book’s plot points. It is not the result of any occurence in book one. In fact, it really isn’t a result of anything in particular. It just fucking shows up and somehow manages to cause Kate to go back to Verity [i.e. the setup for the whole book] and then, as if that weren’t enough, directly causes around 80% of the plot.

So basically, because none of the plot is a result of character action, all the plot points feel kind of… random. Like they’re happening to the characters rather than the characters happening to the plot.

This random plot point thing is actually a general problem - as this book begins, we’re thrown into a lot of really cool new plot points, including a larger world context, a hunting team for Kate, an attack team for August, a character shift for Ilsa, a major character shift for August, a character shift for Kate, a new reign in Verity, a new big bad Malchai, a brand new automatic supersonic hypnotic funky fresh new Sunai, and a brand new automatic supersonic hypnotic funky fresh monster. And we have gotten no context for any of these things from book one.

Most of these new details don’t even get an explanation here!! The outside-of-Verity stuff is actually badass, but it has no depth - the monsters aren’t well-explained, and Kate’s random squad of friends barely get introductions [besides Riley. I love Riley.] Kate’s entire outside-of-Verity life gets dropped in like, two pages, and Schwab tries to get us to care, and I only care a tiny tiny bit and at least 50% of it is because I'm pretty sure Kate left Verity and immediately fell in with a band of gays and it's excellent evidence for bi Kate theory. Perhaps more annoyingly, my favorite part of the worldbuilding in book one was the backstories for the monsters; the fact that Ilsa & Leo & August were all similar to the events that caused them was just fucking brilliant, my favorite thing ever, etc. What caused Soro? And perhaps more plot relevant, what caused the Chaos Eater? Because that’s a really big worldbuilding point that I don’t have an answer for. I’m waaaaaiting.

I also think in doing this fast change, Schwab really lost the thread on August. Seriously, what the fuck happened to August. August’s character here doesn’t make sense – not because he feels out of character, because he doesn’t, but because he goes through extreme regression off-page rather than on-page. When we see August in This Savage Song, he is an anxiety-ridden kid who wants to do his best, and through his arc he gains more confidence in himself and loses some of his self-hatred. When we see him here, he has totally and seemingly randomly lost his sense of humanity. And that’s a really interesting character arc, don’t get me wrong, but when it happens off page it feels so abrupt and random and just… lazy. He also… kind of barely feels like the same human being? August reads very clearly as mentally ill in book one, and that just goes missing here.

[Full disclosure, I think this trend where books start with “two months later” is bullshit and I want a refund.]

But even if August’s character shift had made sense or felt authentic, the fact remains that Kate and August, as characters, feel more like vehicles for the story than influences on the story. Victoria Schwab has never in her life been good at character motivation driving the plot, but come on, we don’t even get as much motivation as in book one. I don’t feel why August is doing what he’s doing or why Kate is doing what she’s doing. This book has no drive. It feels like a desperate attempt to finish things off. And it underutilizes its two leads.

All the characters in this book are underutilized, honestly. Soro is so underutilized. Ilsa is so, so, so underutilized. All three of the villains are kind of underutilized, because, ya know, there are three of them. So much underutilization.

Oh, and beyond that, I’m going to try and make this quick, because it’s a little bit spoilery, but I love these two characters so much, and I think these characters were way more compelling for me in book one. Kate’s arc here is all about fighting her demons, in literal form, which is an arc I happen to love. But the tension to her meetup with Alice isn’t really built well enough for this arc to feel meaningful. [She also does a significantly smaller amount of ass-kicking. I’m gay and I would read an entire book about her kicking ass.] Oh, and August’s new arc wraps up in about one singular page, which doesn’t quite feel finished, but the main problem is that I just wasn’t invested in him in this book. Which is actually really sad, because book one August is my son and the light of my life and I would die for him. I also kind of feel that the entire red / white soul blend thing is a really lazy way of getting Soro and August to admit that things aren’t black and white.

Oh, by the way, the whole kiss scene thing is very much exaggerated, and I just want to point to this Victoria Schwab tweet.

This has been a rant, but I think the general problem for me is this is just not the type of character-focused story I like. This Savage Song worked as a very personal and character-focused story within the context of a greater world. Our Dark Duet is trying to be this big, expansive story, and besides not expanding the world very well or focusing on anything at all, it loses the focus on what made it so great - the characters.

Oh, and spoilers ahead: I don’t like major character death ever but I think the fact that I knew it was going to happen really just made me go “okay” and close the book, mad and disappointed that the Kate & August platonic wedding will never happen.

petition for Schwab to stop writing conclusions she’s not as good at it as she is at anything else ever lmao. Please don’t unfollow me.

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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,951 followers
February 4, 2020
Same thing I said on the first book reread. And this one did break my heart.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

I loved this book so much but it damn well broke my heart. I'm almost at a loss for words. =(

The thing is, I had this documentary on low that I had watched before on Netflix and it has this really deep music on it. So, here I am reading through the book with this music and it's so perfect and the things that broke my heart with that music playing made it ten fold.

I need something fluffy and goofy to read now.

Victoria Schwab knows how to write a damn good book and they can get right under your skin and then break you into a million pieces.

Out in the Waste stood a home, abandoned.
A place where a girl had grown up, and a boy had burned
alive, where a violin had been shattered, and a
stranger had been shot-
And a new monster had been born.
She stood in the house, the dead man at her feet, stepped
over his body, wandered out into the yard, drew in fresh air as the sun went down.
And started walking

Sorry, I just keep sitting here at a loss for words.

Kate Harker is living in Prosperity taking out monsters. She has a ragtag crew of people that help, not with the monster killing but with other stuff.

August Flynn lives in Verity with his own crew and they are fighting monsters as well and reaping them.

Kate and August didn't think they would see each other again but there is a new monster on the loose they need to eradicate because it's a big baddie. Not to mention trying to take care of the other jerks.

But things don't always go as planned in Verity. And people and monsters die.

That's all your getting.

I love you Victoria Schwab for writing awesome books and breaking my heart ♥

Play on August Flynn . . .


MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
December 2, 2020
"All monsters were not created equal."

4.5 Stars

This was so good. Much better than the first book. If you've read my review of This Savage Song you might know that I only rated it three stars. I struggled with the characters - especially Kate - and the predictability. Overall it just wasn't as spectacular as Schwab's previous novels. This one, however, was a huge improvement.

Where do I start? The plot was much more exciting and fast-paced. The characters felt more real and were more relatable, because of the character development they went through. And while August's and Kate's arch-enemies were a little washed up - the typical cruel and smart villains - they served their purpose. My favourite character is Ilsa. I honestly love everything about her, her grace, her wisdom, her trust in her brother and Kate.
And the writing! Don't even get me started. I wish I could write like this amazing and very talented woman. She keeps taking my breath away with her words and I'm so glad for every story she creates.
This is one of my favourite quotes from the book:

"There would always be cracks in the surface, shadows in the light, a hundred degrees of grey between black and white."

I still have so many questions about the Chaos Eater, though. Where did he come from? What cruel act created such a destructive and powerful monster? How exactly can he be killed? I wish there would have been more of a backstory to this.

The ending was on point. I think that is one of the most important things an author needs to do: keeping things real. With all these monsters, superpowers and other paranormal activities, it's easy to lose your head in the clouds. That's where many authors become distracted and the plot slips into absurdity (yes, I'm talking about you, Sarah J. Maas). This was also my problem with A Conjuring of Light. But this time, Victoria nailed it.

One thing that bothered me is something that I can only talk about in another hidden spoiler section.

In a nutshell: A spectacular and nearly perfect conclusion to this amazing series. Highly recommended!

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Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
425 reviews1,640 followers
July 6, 2018
2 Stars

“There were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head.”

Look, no one is more disappointed by my rating than me. I adored the the first book! Everyone promised this was even better! I started reading as soon as my copy arrived, so excited!


(Did I read the same book as everyone else???)

Before you throw things at me, let me explain the problems I had.

Starting with the abysmal inconsistent pacing. This book is over 500 pages, and somehow nothing happens until the last 100?? There’s some foreshadowing, and one or two things put in place to happen later. It took me three months to read this book. Every time I picked it up, I’d read a few chapters and lose interest. Not only was nothing compelling happening, but almost every chapter alternated to follow a different character, cutting all tension. This meant sometimes you’d get something enticing, and have to trudge through another chapter of ‘Sloan-reminds-us-how-evil-he-is’ or ‘This-doesn’t-fit-August’s-character-but-he’s-going-to-monologue-about-how-it-does’ before it circled back around.

Another thing that made staying focused difficult was the influx of new characters. I mean… am I supposed to care? Because I don’t. When this starts, Kate is surrounded by new monster-hunting friends... and none of them stand out in any way? Kate’s roommate was nice, and I appreciated her realizing she wants a home and family. But I was given two pages to learn about these kids, before I suddenly was supposed to care about their relationships and well-being. (I still don’t remember their names.) All the focus on tertiary characters helped slow the pacing. Not just Kate's chapters, but August has a new sibling, there’s new soldiers at the commune, new refugees in his city—everywhere you look new characters. They aren’t particularly bad characters, and in the right circumstances, I could have enjoyed them, but this is a sequel and a conclusion—I don’t want to waste time learning about and trying to care about new characters, I just want to see what happens to the ones I already love.

ALSO. What was that entire "romantic" subplot... and was it necessary??

This is filled with big-ideas the narrative never addresses. Sooo much of what I loved in the first book was the big introspective themes. The idea that violence breeds more violence in creepy physical manifestations is awesome. It raises all sorts of interesting ethical questions and then… does nothing with them? An example: there’s this hard and fast rule that anyone who’s ever killed is automatically a ‘sinner’ and worthy of execution via Sunai. While the story skirts around the truth of this blanket statement (and you could argue Kate’s entire character contradicts this) it never fully addresses it. It plants the ideas there, and then drops off at the end.

Which brings us to, my biggest problem. The complete lack of an ending. Nothing has been resolved?? It’s like everyone got so hung up on the 'one-big-thing-that-happens, they forget there’s only kinda development for everyone else? The big-bad-guy and magical-evil-new-power-thing are only present for like two pages and suddenly it’s not an issue any more? And I hate, hate, hate, hate that ‘one-big-thing-that-happens.’ I can’t tell you how tired of the ‘something bad happens to a character only to motivate another’ trope. (Being vague to avoid spoilers). The fridge is full. This particular character was intriguing, complicated and had tons of potential. What happens was a forced attempt at some kind of closure… and they deserved better. (I’ll be forever mad about this)

Again, I’m honestly the most surprised here. I love Schwab’s eloquent, dark writing style. Her mastery over words never fails to impress me. I loved the way it was written, I just hated everything that happened?

In Conclusion:

Please form an orderly line before throwing tomatoes.
Profile Image for emily.
254 reviews2,192 followers
July 30, 2017
fun fact: victoria schwab herself liked my pre-review, which looked somewhat like this:


see you in hell, victoria

honestly i'm mainly mad at myself for not being prepared for the abysmal pain and endless suffering schwab's books tend to bring upon me, like @ past me why you always do this to yourself??? STAY WOKE BITCH

[something about me crying into my pillow]

satan is a woman and her name is victoria schwab


so basically the ONE TIME my favorite author notices me is when i tell her to burn in hell :) so that's a perfect metaphor for my life.

but also i'm glad that this is my legacy now, thanks @ vicky for dropping the Like, if you ever need someone to proofread your work or something, you know, pal, that's what friends are for ;) love you

now, to get to the actual cause of my tragic early death, our dark duet:

i'm not going to spoil anything or talk about the plot because honestly i just don't want to suffer any longer, i'm ready to supress the entirety of this book like i supress most things in my life that cause me pain, i just shove it into that deep dark corner of my brain and then five years later accidentally open that forbidden door of my mind palace and cry at 3 am because spoiler spoiler spoiler and AQFJ@!%F&"$! you, schwab, for RUINING MY FS!&%$§ LIFE

it's just not fair because I'M the one that has to pay for the therapy sessions and i'm broke enough already because i buy every victoria schwab book i can find and then have to go to therapy again once i finished reading them and it's an endless cycle of pain and bankruptcy someone save me from this hell [high-pitched screaming]

// at this point, shoutout to my br partner may (my actual therapist), who supported me through this dark time


self care is not getting attached to any character in a schwab book, it's a universal understanding, a fact, an instinct you're born with, except that this is me every single time:

me: hey let's not get attached to any of these characters ok
me @ me, three secs later: i think the fuck not you trick ass bitch

i love most of these characters with all of my goddamn black sinner heart and i fully accept the fact that i'm a garbage person for always falling for the same old scheme, but i can't HELP IT.

the characters that schwab creates are so complex and distinct and likeable and alive, you can't even stop yourself from falling in love with a fucking cat, like, give me a break, i'm trying to hate on every single thing in my life, i don't want these..... feelings. [every time august flynn walked into the room i felt an emotion that can only be described as the equivalent to smelling freshly picked flowers, my heart is so full of love for my emo son]

final thoughts:

just accept the fact that you sign up for pain and suffering every time you buy a book by victoria schwab. reading schwab books equals signing a contract with the devil and honestly??? selling my soul was worth it. 10/10 would do it again

description ©

"The world was complicated. Life was hard. And so often, living hurt. So make it worth the pain."
Profile Image for Warda.
1,208 reviews19.7k followers
September 2, 2017
EDIT: so I've been thinking I'm willing to put myself through this numbing agony again because I miss my sweet child, August, like crazy. Probably not wise though... *sigh*


I am numb again. My soul is not okay. Schwab has a way of making me feel numb with the ending of her books.

Ugh, I don't know how to review this. Fuck you, Schwab. You've left me completely devoid of feeling any emotion.

One thing I will mention though is the interesting take on what killing human beings can do to ones soul. That the murderer could eventually lose and corrupt it, but at times, their sense of humanity is still there and their moral compass still slightly intact, despite the fact it constantly wavers. Yet they're unable to stop committing such acts, because it returns some sense of familiarity back to them.

“…monsters acts make monsters.”

And that the spirit of those that have been killed by the perpetrator still lives on, in them. The killer.

I absolutely love stories that delve deep into the psyche of the human mind and Schwab did an phenomenal job showcasing it in this duology.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
May 6, 2020
iiiim baaack!! i loved my soft little monster, august, way too much to stay away. <3

on a different note, i didnt think this was as good as the first book (only in the slightest). i still enjoyed it, but it felt a bit more dense than necessary. i definitely think this could have been shortened without compromising the story, but i didnt mind too much because of VSs writing. as with the first book, the writing was the highlight for me. malchai uprising? meh. new monster on the loose? its whatever. but schwabs ability to convey augusts internal conflict in a tragic, yet beautiful, way? absolutely brilliant!

also, can i mention how impressed i was with that ending?! i respect VS so much for writing it. that doesnt mean it didnt hurt me any less, but wow, im impressed (if you know, you know).

overall, this was a solid conclusion and a rather enjoyable duology. such a great first impression of victoria schwab and i am very eager to pick up her other books!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.5k followers
October 3, 2019
Victoria Schwab and I just don’t get along.

I’ve tried. I promise you I’ve tried. In fact, I’ve tried where it’s gone past the point of optimism (and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to label me “optimistic”) and boarded the express train straight to Illogical, on the border of Straight-Up Masochism.

I read A Darker Shade of Magic and three-starred it. Still, I picked up A Gathering of Shadows and I ONE STARRED IT. Even in spite of all that I purchased - with real, actual dollars - a copy of A Conjuring of Light.

Why did I do this? Ask not, for I have no answers.

This blatant suffering did not prevent me from reading This Savage Song, and three-starring THAT did not prevent me from picking up this pond monster of a book! Except if a pond monster, in spite of its semi-exciting name, was actually the most boring creature alive! Because then it would be the monster equivalent of this monster of a monster book!

Okay. Deep breaths.

Let’s actually talk about this book. Since this is, you know, a review.

This was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad bore. The pacing was particularly terrible. For hundreds of pages, very, very little happens, and then suddenly all of the Big Bosses show up at once, and each and every one of them was so anticlimactic that I expected them to come back to life until I remembered there were 10 pages left and this is a duology.



A lot of the reason why the pacing of this was so weird was that we had to spend a torturous amount of time Feeling. Or rather, we were deposited in scene after scene in which a character does nothing but suffer and be sad (but also brave, don’t forget they are Very Brave), and then once it is assumed we now Feel for these goons, we are swept away to the next virtually identical scene.

This is very boring (unless you like moderate to severe suffering), but it is even more boring if you are completely unable to feel anything for these characters.

Once again, you guys, I tried. I really did. I quickly recognized how much easier to tolerate this book would be if I gave a sh*t about any of these people, and so I said “Emma, you know these somewhat interchangeable but Very Brave people-monsters? Try caring about them. I know they are boring. But give it a chance.”

Reader, I simply could not do it.


(Yeah, that’s right. It’s a second Furthermore. This is a serious review.)

We often were told many times to feel something for characters that did not matter at all. Time and again, characters were named and given lines of dialogue and humanized in one way or another, only to get a net total of about 10 pages of existence and either be brutally killed or completely forgotten.

Why...were we forced to spend so much time trying to Feel Something for characters who ultimately didn’t matter at all? (Other than the Deathly Hallows method of killing off supporting characters willy-nilly in order to make things seem scaryyyy.)

Also, this had a lot of spelling errors. I would say “let me copyedit this book,” but that would mean having to open it again.

To which I say: never.

Bottom line: I really have to unhaul A Conjuring of Light.

No way can I do 624 pages of this.


a monster book has no right to be this boring.

and no book has the right to have so many errors.

review to come / 1.5 stars


so maybe i haven't liked a single VE Schwab book but god forbid that stop me from trying

(this'll definitely go well)
Profile Image for Heather.
319 reviews289 followers
July 15, 2017
5 stars!

::UPDATE JULY 14, 2017::


::JULY 10, 2017::
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,837 followers
July 28, 2017
~ after 45.4 years, full review finally posted ~

At least once in your life, you will get the opportunity to have your heart, soul, and essence smashed and ground into smithereens by some words on pieces of paper. :) Cherish this feeling :) It’s a wonderful, monumental moment of your life. :) No regrets. :)


I want Victoria Schwab to wake up every morning knowing that I really really really DISLIKE her !!! hate is a strong word I TRUSTED her with my being and SHE FRICKEN PUNCHED ME IN THE THROAT ~metaphorically ofc~

When I was reading reviews for Our Dark Duet, a lot of reviewers were crying and screaming and dying in front of me and I was like pshhhh you just are being sooooo dRaMaTiC

Little did I know. Little did I KNOW.

How did you hunt something that had no shape, a shadow that made puppets out of people?
How could you destroy a void?

So, I thought Our Dark Duet would be like a continuation of plot and setting from This Savage Song but fricken hell this was so much DARKER.

Sweet baby August was put through some rough stuff and it was like watching your kid go to preschool alone for their first time. And his CAT. I NEED AUGUST AND ALLEGRO FAN ART PLZ AND THANKS.

AND KATE. I was neutral with Kate in book one, but sHE GREW SO MUCH in this book and the complexity of her character really shone through. She was no longer a delinquent kid trying to appease dad, she was this kicka*s hero who was there to save the city and rectify her mistakes.

I also love and appreciate the existence of August’s parents, Henry and Emily so bloody much. It’s not often we get positive family rep in YA but Henry and Emily and Ilsa are just so pure and beautiful and deserve the world.


Now a list of people who can choke:
- Sloan
- Alice
- Sloan
- Alice
- A L I C E
- S L O A N

I just wanted to make sure that was clear.

Now I hope to never have to relive that ending again bc it was so painful and I’ve tried to block it out many times but it keeps haunting me and my tears keep running and I’m blaming Schwab for dehydrating me.

“Do you ever wonder why music brings a soul to surface? What makes beauty work as well as pain?”

5 stars!!


Buddy read with my favourite humanforgiveme

Profile Image for April.
146 reviews262 followers
June 23, 2017
"It wasn't easy. The world was
complicated. Life was hard. And so often, living hurt. So make it worth the pain." //

I think I died a little inside. I loved it so much yet hate that it's all over now. 🙁
Profile Image for sofia (sam willows).
285 reviews364 followers
July 6, 2017
6 out of 5 stars. All spoilers are marked.



how fucking dare you, miss victoria schwab. how fucking dare you play with my emotions like that.

*wipes tear*
*gets self back together*
okay, okay, I'm done ranting. Actually, I'll never be done. This book has skyrocketed its way into the second place my favorites list (let's be real, the first will always be Vicious) and I can't stop thinking about it.

honestly, how can someone finish this series and still be the same person they were when they started it? this made me question things in so many ways, like how our actions have consequences, and how not everything is black or white. I cannot do justice to how amazing and incredible this book is.

I also can't describe the characters. How the actual fuck did schwab manage to develop them so much in less than 1000 pages? It might not seem that impressive, but the things they go through and the way they grow and how it's written, no author can compare. They are so flawed and they are so real, it's impossible to not care about them.

I can now say without doubt that Victoria Schwab is the best author of our generation.

This book messed with me, made me question my choices and it made me question why the fuck I put myself through this suffering that is reading books, especially Victoria's.

Yeah, it looks like I'm not emotionally stable enough to write a review about this. All I can say is, if you didn't like This Savage Song that much, please give this a try. It's so incredible, it will blow your mind.


I'm broken beyond repair, I just spent 10 minutes sobbing on the floor. I don't know what to do with my life now.

This is definitely one of the best books I've ever read, 6/5 stars.

RTC if I can make the mess that is my thoughts coherent (post-review update: I still can't)
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,513 reviews29.4k followers
January 2, 2018

You know when you want to absolutely devour a book, but it's the last book in a series you love, so you're torn between reading it in practically one sitting and savoring it for as long as you can? That's the way I felt about Victoria Schwab's Our Dark Duet, the second and apparently final book in Schwab's Monsters of Verity series. (The first book, This Savage Song, was pretty fantastic, too. See my original review.)

"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. It didn't have teeth or claws, didn't feed on flesh or blood or hearts. It simply reminded you of what happened when you let people in."

Kate Harker and August Flynn should never have known each other, much less become friends. Kate's father was a notoriously power-hungry man who harnessed the monsters that roamed the half of the city he controlled, and then charged the city's residents for his protection from them. August is the adopted son of Henry Flynn, who wants to keep the residents of his half of the city safe by controlling the monsters, not harnessing them as pawns in a shakedown.

August is also a monster, the rarest of the three breeds, who can steal a person's soul by playing his violin. He simply wants to to be kind, to live a good life, and not face the reality of his familial responsibilities, but he cannot escape what he is. He and Kate were thrown together, and after weathering fear and mistrust of one another, they built a relationship, more than a friendship, and each became indebted to the other in a bloody battle for survival.

Six months later, after fleeing her home city, Kate has become the monster hunter she always knew she was destined to be. But when another breed of monster appears, the so-called Chaos Eater, one who feeds on bystanders' emotions and fears in order to reap violence, she finds she has some sort of dangerous connection to it, and it lures her home to Prosperity, where old and new nemeses await her. Meanwhile, August has assumed his rightful place as heir apparent to his father's task force, but he is still conflicted between what is expected of him and what he wants from his life.

"And here in Prosperity, Kate had found a purpose, a point, and now when she met her gaze in the mirror, she didn't see a girl who was sad or lonely or lost. She saw a girl who wasn't afraid of the dark. She saw a girl who hunted monsters. And she was damn good at it."

Kate's return to Prosperity drops her back into the thick of the war between the monsters who wish to rule the city and those who wish for peace. She faces the resentment of those who hate her for who her father was, and don't believe in her capabilities. She doesn't understand what happened to August, where the boy she once knew has gone. And she knows that in order to fight the Chaos Eater she must unleash her own inner monster, and there may be no turning back once she does.

There's a lot more to this book, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone. I would say if this interests you, read This Savage Song first, because this book builds on that one. I know this series isn't for everyone, but if you've ever thought about giving YA fantasy/science fiction a try, here's a series worth cutting your teeth on.

I loved Our Dark Duet immensely, because Schwab pulled me right back into the amazing, dark world she created, and gave me even more emotion, conflict, and epic battles. I haven't read her other series but I definitely will have to, because she is an incredible storyteller. I loved these characters and their relationships, and my only frustration is that the series ended so soon.

I'm not a fan of so many books being adapted into movies and/or television series, but I'd love to see these books get adapted. Schwab's words and imagery deserve to be read, but this incredible world she has created deserves to be seen as well. I'd love to see how August and Kate, their family and friends, and those monsters translate onto the screen. So sad to see this end, but Schwab has a huge fan in me!!

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,114 followers
December 27, 2019
"Everything was going exactly to plan. And that was exactly why she didn't trust it."

3.5 ⭐️

I didn't find myself as invested in this book as the first one, it took longer for me to become gripped. I didn't like Kate's character very much in this one, she came across as arrogant and rude and times.

In Our Dark Duet, Kate and August are living entirely different lives. August is living in Verity - building an army in order to fight the monsters who work for Sloan. And the numbers of monsters seem to be growing every day.
Kate is in Prosperity, trying to forget Verity, forget her past and start again. But it is harder said than done, and eventually Kate realises she must return to Verity.

It is pretty action packed, there is plenty going on plot wise. I'm not sure, but the characters just weren't enough for me. I was entertained, but not enthralled.

If you enjoy the supernatural, and an easy fast paced read then I recommend.

Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,009 followers
July 9, 2017
“So often, living hurt.”

3.5 maybe? Something between that and 4 stars, anyway.

•I must admit, I didn't remember much from This Savage Song. It was easy to brush everything up once I got started, but the first pages had me a little lost. And then something strange happened: my difficulty to get in sync with the story remained, only its cause shifted from my temporary lack of basic information to something that I'm still not really able to pinpoint with precision, but that is most definitely internal to the book.
I know I'm difficult to follow. That's kind of my thing. Just bear with me.

•I think the best stories are the ones where the artifice is least evident. Of course we all know fictional stories always are the children of someone's mind. And of course we accept that without giving it even half a thought: suspension of disbelief, narrative covenant, call it what you will, the core doesn't change: I'll happily believe anything as long as you don't allow me to notice it's all a lie. Now, I think Our Dark Duet misses this fundamental target when it comes to the storyline—but mind you, the storyline and nothing else. The rest is as perfect as we've learned to expect from the one and only Victoria Schwab, and sure enough, unsurprisingly, I enjoyed it. But the plot was somewhat awkward, it couldn't hold my attention, and it even bored me, which is a first for me, with Schwab's name in the equation.

•An instance could be towards the end, when Kate . Like I'm not supposed to notice the whole sequence is just an excuse to ?
This is only the clearest example I can think of, but I perceived this effect more or less throughout the whole book. It was as if the frame of the plot, which should be invisible, showed through all the time. It sounds so futile a thing, but if you think about it, those are always the ones that really ruin it. And probably, had the author been anyone else, I wouldn't have even noticed it.

The ending is a big yes for me. Poignant, beautiful, absolutely heart-rending, and sadly necessary. (Leigh, Bardugo, just so you know, this is how you . I love your books but on this you should take some notes.)

Our Dark Duet surely is a worthy conclusion to one of the best YA series out there, and I can only recommend it wholeheartedly. But Schwab's name on the cover alone should be enough to melt your doubts like snow in the sun-
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,481 reviews79k followers
July 11, 2018
I’m not sure why, but I didn’t seem to love this quite as much as everyone else. It was good, but maybe my expectations were too high for an over the top ending. I do think I did myself a disservice by listening to the audio instead of reading the print copy, as the many similar scenes seemed to run together in my head. I did think the resolution with a few of the characters was really well done, and of course the writing was beautiful because it’s Victoria-Freaking-Schwab. A unique story that I’m grateful to have experienced, and I’m left eager to experience more from VS!
Profile Image for Heather.
403 reviews16.9k followers
June 22, 2017
This book was amazing!!
If I am honest with you, I wasn't expecting it to be. I read This Savage Song last year and while I really enjoyed it, I just didn't love it so when this book came along I was expecting those same feelings.
I am so happy to be proved wrong. I loved the second book! It was easier to get back into the world of Verity and the monsters in them because you already know them.
This book isn't happy. It's a dark, gritty book about monsters and fighting and wrong vs. right but my goodness was it freaking good!

Please let me know if you would like me to do a series review on both of the books!
Profile Image for Beatrice in Bookland.
459 reviews838 followers
August 31, 2018
The real Sunai here is Victoria Schwab, she just uses words instead of music to steal (and destroy) our souls
Profile Image for Victoria.
1,000 reviews94 followers
June 10, 2023
I have tear stains in my copy of this book now...I’m...wow

When I say I wasn’t expecting that ending, oh my god p a i n. This book was such a journey, I loved every single page of it! August and Kate, Ilsa, so many good characters! I honestly just love so much and that ending literally wrecked me. There’s just so much I loved about this book, this duology, I’m really glad I got round to reading it I think it’s one of my favourite series of all time now! The characters are so well done, the world building is amazing, the monsters just!

I honestly just don’t know what to say, short review bc I’m just shook and don’t know how to process that at all, I’m trying to recover from...that...*cries*
Profile Image for Misstdennis.
237 reviews85 followers
August 16, 2017
5000/5 stars

“Mourning was its own kind of music—the sound of so many hearts, of so many breaths, of so many standing together.”

Hey Victoria Schwab, is it okay if I refer you as Sloan for now on? That's okay? Cool.
You sadistic human being...

9 hours it took me to read this book. And in 9 hours, I didn't breath, eat, drink or feel my heart beating.
Not once.

That book was just something else. I'm legitimately struggling for words because I'm trying to hold myself together, but I'm failing miserably.
My hands are shaking, I'm having heart palpitations and I just cannot for the life of me think of anything over the sound of heartache.
Someone call emergency!
Because of all this, I apologise to you in advance for this review as I cannot guarantee that this will be in any way, decent.

I said this in my review for This Savage Song, where I mentioned that I always find it hard to not compare A Darker Shade of Magic to her other books, but to be honest, this one might come close, so very close to topping that trilogy.
I mean, an urban dystopian and maybe a bit of fantasy setting, music, monsters(who are ugly AF) completely and utterly perfect characters.
What more could you need?

The way Victoria Schwab AKA Sloan, constructs her stories is just so beautiful. It's also beautiful when she throws you head first into a raging pit of fire that leaves you feeling so numb afterwards. So please, to anyone who still hasn't picked up this duology, just stop what you're doing, put your life on hold and as Shia Labeouf would say, JUST DO IT! and allow her to throw you into that raging pit of fire.

I'm so sad this we have seen the end of this series and that I'll won't see more of these beautiful, beautiful characters, but honestly, I'm pretty glad. I don't know if I'd come out alive after reading more. I barely made it out alive today...

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

I just want to sit and use this moment to pay my respects and appreciation for the characters for a brief moment.
Brief, because I don't have it in my to dive into too much rambling after that fucking ending.

Kate and August both had such a huge character development in this book and I feel like it needs to be at least acknowledged.
Don't worry, this is a spoiler free review.
I absolutely adored Kate and August, I really love them in this book, maybe even more so this time around, and their development in this was so great to see, but my one true love and trophy winning for this book is Ilsa. My baby, I love you, you sweet red-head girl. Out of everyone, I feel like she takes the cake in character development.
If I wasn't convinced throughout the book, that ending alone as made it so clear.

I'm not going to delve into the plot of the book, because honestly, you should just read it for yourself and find out.
hahahahaha good luck

Never reading a Victoria Shwab book again.

Jokes baby, I love you.
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