Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab. ★★★1/2
I enjoyed Our Dark Duet less than I did its predecessor, This Savage Song, but I can’t tell if that’s on me or the book.
Kate Harker has made a new life outside of Verity, hunting monsters. But a new and dangerous breed of monster will send her back hunting back to the city of her past. Meanwhile, August Flynn is trying to forget her earlier desires to be human. He has a part to play, and human isn’t what he needs to be.
Okay, so. Do you remember my review of This Savage Song? No? Suffice to say that I spent practically the entire review praising the book for not having romance. Guess what Our Dark Duet does. Go on, just guess. If you’re thinking that Kate and August kiss, bingo! It comes out of bleeding nowhere, and I am so effing mad about it. Why did they have to kiss? Really, someone please explain this to me. What on earth does one half baked romantic subplot add to this book? It got me so pissed off that I went on a twitter rant about heteronormativity. Just because one person’s a girl and one person’s a boy doesn’t mean they’ll be attracted to each other or interested in a romantic relationship! Urgh! And that was literally all their was to this kiss. I’ve calmed off somewhat since I read the book, but believe me I am still annoyed. Oh, and that’s the end of the spoiler talk, I guess.
One of my favorite things about This Savage Song was the pacing. I raced through it, reluctant to put it down even while I was in exam season. Our Dark Duet didn’t have the same effect on me. With only seventy pages of the book left and nothing I had to get up for the next morning, I put the book down and went to sleep.
I wasn’t as fond of the characterization either. I have the feeling that Schwab was going for a tragedy, a book that would stomp on your heart and make you feel things. But I didn’t feel things. Even with some significant character deaths, I was just sort of like, “Well, that happened I guess.” When it comes to August, I think his character arc just wasn’t as compelling here. He’s trying to not be human (which is sort of a flip from the last book), and it doesn’t end up feeling like he goes anywhere new. When it comes to Kate, there were some seeds of her desiring to connect more with other people, but I feel like there were a lot of wasted opportunities with her character. There’s not a lot of focus on any of her relationships except for August, and I feel like the main way Schwab was developing that relationship was with That Moment (the kiss), which doesn’t make Kate magically more connected to other people. Physical intimacy isn’t the same as emotional intimacy. End spoiler.
Our Dark Duet also feels like a strange end to the series. I suppose it’s the end of a plot arc and potentially some character arcs. I guess it works in that regard, but it still leaves a lot up in the air. I didn’t find it a satisfying conclusion, but from the plethora of positive reviews, my opinion seems to be in the minority. Hopefully other fans of the series will have a better time with this one than me.