Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab. Greenwillow Books, 2017. Hardcover. 510 pages.
Once again, Victoria Schwab delivers! Our Dark Duet was yet another carefully plotted, detailed, and energetic ride that is hard to put down.
This review, however has turned out to be trickier to write than I imagined, largely because I really enjoy Our Dark Duet, but at the same time I have felt rather... lackluster about it? I'm not sure if this feeling is simply because I read it so long after reading the first book that I lost my initial excitement, but I just didn't feel as interested in it as I had hoped I would be and I'm not really sure why.
Now, this isn't to say that this book was bad in any way, because it most definitely was not. In fact, this was a wonderfully written book with complex characters and relationships, not to mention how fascinating Schwab's worldbuilding and monster-premise itself is.
In the first book, we are introduced to the main types of monsters that wreak havoc in this world, but in this book we are introduced to a brand new monster that has developed, one that proves to be even worse (who knew that was possible!?) than the previous ones. I'm not going into any specifics about this monster because it is best explored on your own, but suffice to say it has its own new brand terror to deal with.
I like Kate and August. Both are interesting character that bring their own charm to the story, though I will say that Kate is just a bit more entertaining than August. I like her ability to motivate herself to doing what she feels needs to be done, as well as her own unique wit. Both characters continue to develop, though August's development does feel a bit more abrupt at times. We are also introduced to some new characters in this book, but we don't ever really get to know them, which was a bit disappointing to me. I was intrigued by many of the new characters, but Schwab seems to very much leave them on the sidelines.
Sloan, our villain, intrigued me in both good and bad ways. He's an interesting monster overall, but I'm not sure I really ever understood his motivation for everything he was doing. I just needed a bit more depth from him about anything. The same also goes for Alice, whose purpose in this novel I get, but I just think it could have added more than it did.
One minor aspect of this book that I appreciate Schwab going into some detail about is her slight focus on how the public has related to the monster. Some go into hiding, some think they can take them on, some pay for protection, and some immediately join a resistance force against them for protection. It is an interesting notion to explore, so I'm glad that Schwab took the time to ponder these ideas.
Looking back at my reading of this book, I think what made me struggle with this book the most was that I just couldn't quite fully immerse myself in it. Something in it just didn't quite click with me and I didn't have any particularly strong feelings about anything. I can't pinpoint any specific issues, but something within the plot itself just didn't grab me enough. I didn't feel like I fully understood what things were or why certain events took place, but I followed along anyway and managed to enjoy myself. I would say that this book felt very rushed, and I do wish Schwab could have maybe had time to stop and elaborate more in many areas.
Overall, I've given Our Dark Duet three-and-three-quarter stars. It would be four stars, but since I had such a diffcult te with it I feel as though that would be a bit disingenuous.
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