- Page Count: 464
- Release Date: July 5, 2016
- My Rating: 2.5 stars
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.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever been in a situation like this before with any book… I did not enjoy this story, but at the same time can’t deny that this really is a good book. The quality of this book should get at least 4.5 stars, but I’m going to start with that disclaimer and then give it the rating of my personal opinion instead.
Victoria Schwab is an incredible writer. There really is no denying that. She creates amazingly real worlds with complex characters that are fascinating to read about no matter what they’re doing. It took me over two months to get through the first 20% and I almost called it a DNF at several other points, but the writing was so good that I had to see this book all the way through.
This was not a fun story. It’s a gritty dystopian world with characters who reminded me of much darker versions of Lila and Kell. There is no romance or fun adventure here, though. There’s honestly not much that happens plot-wise in terms of events, either. It’s more just getting to know August and Kate as characters and seeing where they stand.
Verity City is split into two sides and Kate & August’s fathers each run one side. There are actual monsters and August is one of them. He’s one of the three known Sunai, so Kate wants to turn him over to her cold, ruthless father in order to gain his acceptance.
“The Corsai fed on flesh and bone, Malchai on blood, and whose it was meant nothing to them. But the Sunai could feed only on sinners.”
I guess I didn’t realize the book’s genre going into it. I just saw the author and was sold. I’m really not big on post-apocalyptic/dystopian worlds (especially ones that are lacking in romance & lighthearted adventure). I want to read about something fun instead of stressful betrayal in a bleak, hopeless world. But even though I didn’t necessarily like the story or setting, I was still invested in Kate and August as characters. That alone should show how strong Victoria Schwab’s writing really is.
This is by no means a bad book; it just really wasn’t something I found remotely fun. But even though I didn’t enjoy this book, I still find myself recommending it. I can easily see most of my Goodreads friends giving this 5 stars because of the amazing worldbuilding and complex characters!!! So many people are going to absolutely adore this book… but it just wasn’t for me.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy!