There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
After reading this book, I came to the conclusion that Victoria Schwab will never disappoint me with her writing style, her world building, and her characters. This is the third series of hers that I read, and you’d think that there’d be some repetitiveness by now; nope, not even a little bit. This book is just as original as A Darker Shade of Magic and The Archived.
Kate returned the picture frame to the bedside table and looked down at her hands. Her lungs hurt from the smoke but her hands had stopped shaking, and she considered the black blood staining her fingers, not with horror but with grim determination. She was her father daughter. A Harker. And she would do whatever she had to do to prove it.
After doing everything to go back home, Kate finally catches her father’s attention and he brings her back to Verity. In this city monsters are real. Verity is divided into two parts, the north one, controlled by a crime lord, Harker and his monsters, while the south one is protected by Flynn and his task force. Kate is Harker’s daughter and she wants nothing but to help him control the city, and take over the south. That’s why Flynn’s youngest son, August, is sent under disguise to Kate’s school to try and get close to her. Too bad Kate isn’t the clueless little girl everyone remembers her to be, and August’s secret isn’t so safe.
“So, did you get kicked out for lecturing the teacher?” “Even better,” she said, running a hand through her sandy hair. “I got kicked out for breaking his collarbone.” Something escaped August’s throat, a soft, breathless laugh. The sound took him by surprise. “According to the counselor,” continued Kate,” I have a violence problem.” “Doesn’t everyone?”
Don’t expect the usual romance, or even better, don’t expect romance at all. These two become close in some ways, but they have different goals, and neither will give them up. And isn’t that awesome? I don’t know if something will happen between them in the second book, but I loved that they had a whole book to actually getting to know each other. Also this is a duology. And how awesome is that? Gotta love Schwab. In the meantime, though, the world won’t stop spinning, and things keep happening, monsters keep freaking everyone out, and humans keep being even more horrible than some monsters. Schwab has this way of grab you by the arm and pull you into the story; I felt surrounded by the characters and their feelings, and their struggles. Kate trying to be the monsters she’s not, and August trying to stop the monster in him to come out. It was all so overwhelming and just flawlessly written. I just, I don’t have words to describe the amazing experience that was this book.
“I read somewhere,” said Kate, “that people are made of stardust.” He dragged his eyes from the sky. “Really?” “Maybe that’s what you’re made of. Just like us.” And despite everything, August smiled.
The ending. That freaking ending! I don’t know how I’ll find the strength to wait for book two. I’ll happily give my soul to August for it.