It’s crazy to me how different Monsters in Verity is from Shades of Magic. I know, obviously, they’re separate series and therefore should be different. It’s just that everything about both series felt new and fresh. Unlike Shades of Magic, Monsters in Verity is so dark it almost feels hopeless. Only almost though, because there is still a thread of good fighting for survival, in a world mostly filled with monsters. That combination was killer! I couldn’t stop reading!
I loved so much about This Savage Song, and Our Dark Duet was just as fantastic. Where This Savage Song seemed to be about August and his humanity, Our Dark Duet felt more about Kate and hers. Actually, now that I think about it, in the sequel August and Kate almost flipped mindsets. In This Savage Song, Kate was resigned to be a monster because that’s what she thought her father wanted. In Our Dark Duet, August has decided to be the monster he believes the war effort needs. The two installments were almost in harmony, like dueling music -hey, ‘Our Dark Duet’! It’s all making sense now! My whole mind just blew apart! See how incredible this author is??!
In addition to that, the concept that our sins create physical monsters is so intense. Our violent world, mass shootings, murder… everything our world is plagued with right now, each one creating a different type of monster, and those monsters have taken over. That depth of plot almost reminds me of Neal Shusterman, which is one of the highest complements I can give.
I also applaud Victoria Schwab for not being afraid or hesitant to write loss. She’s an adult fantasy writer too, so maybe that makes it easier to avoid falling into the YA trap of not wanting to upset the fans too much. Or maybe she’s just as fearless as her heroines, either way I loved the ending of this duology. I hated it in the moment, and I cried, but all that emotion just cements the story in my psyche. I’ll never forget any of these characters, what they meant to each other and what they meant to me, and that comes from how moved I was when reading.
So, basically if you’re a fan of fantasy, or you’re a fan of dark stories; if you love originality and new worlds, then this is the author for you. It’s not just this particular series. It’s anything she writes. I’ve read two series, and I’d recommend either equally for different reasons. Victoria Schwab is a master storyteller, and anyone who hasn’t picked up one of her books is really missing out on something phenomenal.