“Sing you a song and steal your soul.”
REACTION AFTER READING THE BOOK
I had such high expectations from this book.
Did it meet it?
To some extent, yes, but overall, I was a bit disappointed with it.
Victoria Schwab is an amazing writer. I fell completely in love with A Darker Shade of Magic, which I already have the sequel for, waiting to be read. The world she built in, that book, was so intricate and unique, that I was expecting to see that in this book, too.
This book has the same uniqueness to it, but how she introduced us to this new world was not as good. On some parts, it’s even downright confusing.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
The story follows two teens from different parts of Verity, but was drawn together because of the circumstances they found themselves in.
Let me explain a little bit of what the world is like.
Verity is an isolated city ruled by two opposing families: the Harkers and the Flynns. The North and the South were divided by what they call the Seam where majority of the monsters roam around, at least, that’s what I got from it.
The Harker’s rule the North, where violence and chaos was tolerated, unless of course, you are protected by owning a Harker medalion. The Flynns rule the South, and they were more into preserving peace and orderliness.
Now that a little bit of the world has been explained, we go to the story.
The story follows two teens, Kate, who was a Harker, and August, who was a Flynn. At first, it sounded a lot like Romeo and Juliet to me, only it has monsters and all that shit, but as the story progressed, it was more than that.
These two got caught up in the middle of a war that was brewing between the two families. The treaty of peace was about break, and someone was behind it.
It’s up to Kate and August to find out who.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE STORY
It wasn’t really the story that I had problems with in this book.
The story was actually pretty straightforward. Think of it as Romeo and Juliet with monsters instead of gang members. Two big families fighting to dominate Verity. Both had their own agendas, one wanted peace while the other wanted war.
When I compared it to Romeo and Juliet, I was comparing the war between the two families rivalry between two families, and two people being caught in the middle of that. I’m happy to say that this book does not have any romantic elements at all. At least, it didn’t feel like that to me. It’s not that often you see that the main characters don’t fall in love with each other. They care for each other, but not in a romantic kind of way, which was awesome!
The main theme of the story I think is how we should accept and embrace who we are and not be ashamed of it. Where you came from, should never be the definition of who you are, you can still be an entirely different person from who the people expect you to be.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE WRITING
Victoria Schwab is, no doubt, an outstanding writer. The way she uses words just blows my mind every-fucking-time. I don’t know how she does it, but everything she writes feels magical and surreal.
Saying that, the writing of this book was great, if we’re talking about the words she used and how she wrote her sentences.
My biggest issue about the book was about how she developed this world. A world like this, where monsters roam about with the humans, is something I have never encountered before. It was such a unique and possibly vast world that could have been developed more. I wanted to understand why those creatures are around. We, sort of, get an idea what these monsters were and what they do, but that’s about it.
But I wanted to know more! I wanted to know about the “thing” that happened that made everything as it was. I want to know more about how and why the Corsai, Malachis and Sunais came to existence. The explanation was brushed off very quickly, which was a shame.
I thought she was going to take her time developing the world, like she did with ADSOM, but as the story was going along, I realized I wasn’t going to get what I wanted.’
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CHARACTERS
I’m not exactly sure I liked any of them, except for Ilsa, and she wasn’t even the main character. Oh, and maybe August. August, at least, have a concrete motivations on why he didn’t want to accept who he was, which was entirely the opposite for Kate.
I usually like my characters feisty and fierce, which Kate was, but for the wrong reasons. I didn’t buy her reasons for rebelling and being “badass”. It just didn’t work for me. I understand that she just wanted to be with her father, but as the story goes, I really don’t get why she wanted to. Her motivations were shallow and childish. Up to know, I still don’t get why she was so suspicious of Sloan. He’s a creepy monster, yes, but I still don’t get what she was so suspicious about.
I actually liked Leo a bit. Leo’s the second brother. So August has Leo and Ilsa as siblings. The three of them are Corsai’s, which I am not going much into details about. They grew up together and Leo is the one who was always at the front line of the FTF (which took me forever to figure out what it meant). I liked what motivates him and the cause of his actions. It made sense to me, while all others didn’t.
THINGS I LIKED
1. The concept was pretty good! I really liked how in this world, monsters and men coexist together, not harmoniously, though. The monsters, of course, feed on the humans. I liked how each type of monster had their own characteristics. They weren’t just scary beings. They each had their own thing.
2. The world-building was something I liked, but still fell a bit short for me. Victoria Schwab has a talent in making such fascinating, realistic worlds that I cannot help but buy. While I liked how she built this world, it felt short for me. I wanted more. I wanted so much more than she gave.
3. Victoria Schwab’s writing. Her use of words were just… inexplicably good. It’s something that actually made me want to continue reading it. I was about to DNF this book, twice, but I couldn’t because the writing was just really… gaaah! I’m in love with her writing.
4. NO FUCKING UNNECESSARY INSTALOVE OR ROMANCE FOR THIS MATTER!!! BLESS YOU VICTORIA!
5. The revelation towards the end was a bit of expected, but I still ended up loving that.
6. The cover is beautiful!
7. The main theme of the story was about accepting who you are and not letting all the shit people tell you affect you in any way. In the end, it’s better to be yourself, than try to be someone else.
THINGS I DID NOT LIKE
1. The characters were completely flat. I did not care about them at all. There was nothing about any of them that was note-worthy. Most characters don’t have nothing to do but just be characters.
2. I did not like Kate at all. I wish she could have just been eaten by a monster, or something. She was the character I did not care about the most, so it’s only fitting I made one line specifically for her. What was my problem with Kate? Everything. I didn’t like how she talks and how she thinks. There are some characters, despite their terrible personality, you’ll like. But Kate, wasn’t one of them.
3. It was so confusing! It took me forever to get what was going on, and that very rarely happens for me.
4. The stakes weren’t high. I didn’t feel that they were really in any imminent danger, even if there loads of shit happening around them. I didn’t buy into all the events that were occurring around Kate and August.
5. The plot was very… small. The only plot I see was the fact that these two families are up each other’s neck and someone is trying to break the truce between them. Now it’s up to two kids to find out who was doing which.
6. SOOOO FREAKING SLOW. Usually, I’d like that, especially if the plot and the world-development is, like, really awesome! I liked the world-building on this one, but not enough to warrant that long of a drag in the story.
7. THIS IS A SERIES??? REALLY? I guess it’s one of the reasons why it didn’t make much sense, the sequel has to make it better. Tsk tsk. Such a shame.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, THEN YOU’D LIKE:
If this is your first time reading a Victoria Schwab book, then I’d recommend you to read her other book, A Darker Shade of Magic, because I am positive you’d love that more than this.
I love Victoria Schwab and would definitely be reading her other books. I actually have the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic at home, waiting to be read. But as for this book, it just wasn’t for me.
I’ve seen a lot of rave reviews for this book, which is, good for them, but I just did not enjoy it as much as ADSOM.
If you’re looking for a good original story that involves monsters and a forbidden friendship, with no unnecessary romance, then I’d highly recommend this.