Titles: This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publication Date: 2016-2017
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Synopsis: In Verity, people’s crimes manifest as monsters.
August is one of these monsters. He doesn’t want to be but didn’t have a choice in the matter. Besides, Verity doesn’t need another human. It needs a monster. It needs him.
Kate is the daughter of the man who controls these monsters. All she wants is his approval, but approval is hard to get from a man who deals with monsters.
Together, they make up two halves of a divided city. A city where both halves hang on the edge between order and chaos.
Thoughts: Without a doubt, I liked and at times even loved this duology. That said, there are also some aspects I’m not sure how I feel about.
I’ve read the first book multiple times in both physical and audiobook formats. I only do that with books that I adore.
What I liked most about This Savage Song were our protagonists, especially August. I love reading about characters who long to be someone they can never become. I don’t know why this is because this is not the case for me personally, unless the person I want to become is a successful novelist, but that’s not unachievable, just unlikely.
In any case, I recognize that this is a personal bias towards a particular character archetype as opposed to something other readers will feel the same way about.
I flew through the second book in a single day and found it difficult to put down just like the first one. That said, I don’t think I enjoyed Our Dark Duet as much as This Savage Song.
It’s difficult to determine the cause of these feelings. I think part of it stems from the fact that the protagonists undergo significant development between books one and two and at the beginning of Our Dark Duet.
August and Kate have become very different people by the time Our Dark Duet starts. On one hand, the development is believable. On the other hand, I miss who the characters had been.
August and Kate develop a great dynamic in book one. It took a while for the two to start interacting with one another at the start of the book.
A similar amount of time is spent with the characters apart in book two as in book one, but I found myself wanting them together more. I feel like August and Kate lacked some of the synergy they gained in book one throughout book two. The reason for this is explained, but I still found myself missing their interactions.
I also felt like there was a plot-line introduced at the beginning of book two involving the other countries in this universe that was never concluded. This makes me wonder if the author is planning a separate novella or spin-off set in this location.
Part of my lack of satisfaction with book two might involve reading this book so soon after finishing the finale in the Shades of Magic series. Our Dark Duet and A Conjuring of Light had similar plots.
I can’t go into many details without spoilers, but suffice to say that the similarities stemmed from the nature of the antagonists. Both Our Dark Duet and A Conjuring of Light contained what I consider to be two of Schwab’s least nuanced villains.
This Savage Song, on the other hand, had a plot that felt more different from Schwab’s other novels, though it felt more similar to other books I’d read.
Verity was something I loved in both books. I loved the idea of having monsters appear as a result of people’s sins. The world-building manages to feel simple and complex at the same time. My main complaint about the world-building is that I wanted to see more of it.
Rating: While, I didn’t personally love Our Dark Duet as much as This Savage Song, I’m putting most of this down to personal bias and giving the series a 4/5 overall rating with 4.5/5 for This Savage Song and a 3.5/5 for Our Dark Duet.
Have you read this duology? What did you think? Do you want to read this duology? Have you read any of Schwab’s works in the past?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!