The Library Of Fates by Aditi Khorana ARC Review

The Library Of Fates by Aditi KhoranaThe Library Of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: July 18, 2017

Pages: 354

Summary: No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

*Received ARC from a festival*

My Rating:★★★★★☆ (still debating between 4 + 4½)

My Thoughts: The Library Of Fates is a character-driven tale that explores a rich and immersive world, while weaving in thought-provoking discussions! The plot goes in directions that keep you turning the page!

While I may be in between 4/4½ , just the reading experience alone made this book so much fun!

Khorana’s writing really builds the world we see through Princess Amarita’s eyes! Through the 1st person POV, The Library Of Fates easily becomes a very character-driven story that shows so many different sides to Amarita as she undergoes a journey to reclaim her kingdom.

As for plot, I adored it so much! From the very first page discussing “The Parable Of The Land Of Trees,” I felt immersed from the very beginning.

The princess has lived quite a sheltered life and over the course of this novel, yet comes to understand more about her home of Shalingar and the magic that sweeps across her kingdom.

Amarita must escape her kingdom when it gets attacked by Emperor Sikander and finds herself on the run with Thala, an Oracle (who was taken from her family and trapped within Sikander’s kingdom)! There is never rivalry, etc. between them and they support each other no matter what as they go on this dangerous journey to reach The Library of All Things and undo the fate that’s been put upon Shalingar!

However, with Sikander eager to take control of the Sybillines cave (for the powerful drug chamak), his guards among others, are never far behind, so Amarita & Thala try to stay hidden over the course of the story.

Female friendships + empowerment in this novel is also huge part of The Library Of Fates! It really focuses on Amarita & Thala’s growth as they become friends and their strength as they face struggles while learning more about who they are!

As for the other characters, such as her father Chandradev, Arjun, her childhood friend+ Mala, her lady in waiting (among others we meet along the way) they all came to life through Amarita’s eyes.

The relationships, especially between Amarita + Arjun was very well done! We learn so much about their past and strong friendship, I wish he was present in the story more!

This novel is essentially a journey story, as Amarita tries to find a way to undo her kingdom’s fate and Thala hopes to find freedom. The plot went in directions that kept me guessing and above all was unexpected for me!

Khorana’s writing really delivers a world rich with mythology and is a vital part of the novel! That aspect of the story really shines throughout the novel, as do the magical/fantastical elements + Amarita as a character!

Similar to Mirror In The Sky, what I love about Khorana’s writing is how thought-provoking it is and how it really makes you think about the bigger picture!

I did find the pacing to be just a little bit slow towards the middle + I did want more expansion/development from certain characters + aspects of the world, because I really wanted to learn more about them as the story progressed!

Aside from that…
The Library Of Fates is a complex and thought-provoking YA Fantasy that really focuses on the expansive mythology in the world as well as the characters! The plot takes unexpected turns that will leave you guessing till the very end!

This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes ARC Review

This Is How It Happened by Paula StokesThis Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Somehow I’ve become a liar. A coward. Here’s how it happened. 

When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.

As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.

*Received ARC through author’s giveaway* 

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

My Thoughts: This Is How It Happened follows Genevieve Larsen as she comes to terms with her boyfriend’s death after they were both involved in a fatal car crash. 

The first novel I’d ever read by Paula Stokes was Girl Against The Universe and I loved it so much! When I heard about This Is How It Ends, I had to put it on my TBR right away! Luckily, I was able to get an ARC from Paula through a giveaway (tysm ❤).

Being a new up and coming singer, Dallas Kade gathered quite a fan base + a new record deal. His sudden death is mourned by people from across the country (especially as seen through social media).

Similar to Stokes other novel, she discusses and explores mental health. Incorporating, especially in this novel, the impacts that trauma and stress can have on a person, while also discussing in a couple scenes throughout the novel, the importance of therapy.

Stokes always manages to incorporate important discussions on mental health and keeps it as a steady theme throughout the book!

Additionally the impact of social media was another huge factor of this novel and is weaved into the story so well! It’s now such a huge part of how we take in news, etc. and Stokes really made it an important factor of the story, while also making it so relatable!

The characters were all written with such depth! All the characters introduced felt so real and throughout the novel, really come to life through Gen’s POV.

The first person POV really allows us to understand how this event has impacted Gen mentally and emotionally. Stokes use of first person really gives the reader an inside look into Gen’s internal struggles and how she copes with this loss.

As for plot, it does have its slow moments, but above all is about Gen finding the strength to explain what happened the night of Dallas’s death and find the strength in herself to move on and accept!

She decides to spend time with her dad in Utah to allow time for the news to simmer down, and over the course of the novel connects more with her father + Rachel (his new wife).

It was great to read about her reconnect with her father and connect more to Rachel, who was very supportive while Gen stayed to visit.

Above all her time spent in Utah is used to understand what she wants, how she can accept what has happened to Dallas and the realize the effects it has on Brad (the man accused of causing his death). I really enjoyed reading about being immersed in the setting in Zion + Utah!

Living with her mother, Gen has grown up to stay focused on a dream towards medical school. Her mother is very strict and over the course of the novel, Gen understands that she also fears talking about what happened because of her parent’s (mainly mother’s) expectations.

I loved how Stokes made Gen’s parents such an integral part of the story (not only through plot, but also seen through Gen’s POV). While Gen has fears about confronting them to talk about what happened, she comes to accept and learn along the way that she’s surrounded by parents who will stand by her no matter what.

I will admit, some moments were slow paced + I did find the relationship that develops to feel a little rushed.

However….

This YA Contemporary tackles grief and loss as we follow Genevieve’s journey to accept her boyfriend’s death and find the inner strength within herself. With themes of family, acceptance, and friendship, Stokes novel also brings to light discussions of mental health and the impact of social media! Filled with mystery, important themes of loss and acceptance, This Is How It Ends is a novel to check out!

One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton Review

One Italian Summer by Keris StaintonOne Italian Summer by Keris Stainton

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 245

Release Date: May 4, 2017

Summary: It’s been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie’s dad died, and a year since their last trip to Rome. Summer’s here again, and once again they are heading with their mum to Italy – but what’s it going to be like going without Dad? Rome still holds its familiar charms – the sun is still as warm, the gelato as delicious, the people as welcoming. But nothing is quite as it once was …

With grief still raw for all of them, Milly is facing the additional awfulness of having to see Luke again – gorgeous, gorgeous Luke, who she had a fling with last year, and who she made a total fool of herself with – or so she thinks. What’s going to happen this time? What’s more, things between Milly, her sisters and their mum are rocky – Leonie is being tempestuous and unpredictable, Elyse is caught up with her new boyfriend, and Milly feels like she just doesn’t know how she fits in any more.

Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had?

My Rating:★★★☆☆ ½

My Thoughts: One Italian Summer is an emotional YA Contemporary that discusses grief, shows the strong bond between sisters, as they take a trip to Italy for a relative’s wedding!

This book was super difficult to rate, because there were so many great elements to it!
For the most part, the story focused on the sisters (Milly, Elise, and Leonie) and their relationship/dynamic which I loved! I don’t usually see much of that YA!

From the very first page its clear that there’s a strong bond between all 3 of them and that really shows as the story progresses. The beginning of the novel was definitely my favorite. There’s so much great development and set up that made the novel start off very strong!

Additionally, the sisters discuss sex/sex positivity throughout the novel which is something I don’t think I’ve ever read in YA before! Overall it was great for the sisters to have those discussions honestly throughout the novel.

Milly, the middle sister, narrates the story as the girls + their mother head to Italy for their aunt Alice’s wedding. However, grief is felt by the sisters (especially their mother) as its the first time they are returning to Italy without their father.

Throughout the novel, there is a heavy theme of grief as the girls (mainly Milly + their mother), while in Italy are finding it difficult to enjoy their trip and be happy for Alice, while so much of the trip reminds them of Dominic. It added so much to the story to see grief tackled by the sisters + mother in different ways to see how it impacted them/how they were coming to accept his death.

I adored the originality of this story and Stainton did a fantastic job at keeping the plot unique and engaging.

However, in terms of setting and getting the atmosphere of Italy, I wasn’t really getting it. While this novel is very character driven (which was great), setting/atmosphere didn’t feel as developed as I was hoping. (In terms of delivering more/equal development on characters + Italian setting, I personally felt Jenna Evans Welch’s Love & Gelato did a much better job)

The writing was good, however I did find the writing to be quite choppy at times. But overall Stainton’s writing really delivered well on a strong theme/delivery of grief and sister bonding.

As the story progresses, its revealed that Milly had a crush on Luke (her cousin Toby’s best friend) and its revealed that there was something that happened between them when they last visited Italy.
While the romance wasn’t necessarily bad, I felt it took up a huge part of the plot in very different places throughout which made it very difficult to get a fully developed story when every other page Milly kept talking about wanting to hook up/be with Luke.

I did enjoy the later 1/4 of book much more as Milly and Luke are able to talk more and finally say whats on their mind, but I really didn’t like how the romance began to over shadow the main plot. It really felt like an uneven balance with the romance/plot in general for me personally.

As for the rest of the story regarding the wedding + the girls enjoying Italy that was great! I wish there was more of that, instead of such a heavy focus on the romance.

Apart from that, I really did like this book and recommend it if your looking for a summer contemporary!

One Italian Summer is a book to read if your looking for a great contemporary that focuses on grief and the strong bond between sisters. While the romance can seem like such a heavy part of the story, the engaging plot and characters make this an enjoyable summer read!

All Systems Red by Martha Wells Review

All Systems Red by Martha WellsAll Systems Red by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #1)

Publisher: Tor.com

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Pages: 160

Summary: In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Review: All Systems Red is a fascinating  sci-fi novella told from the point of view from a serious & comedic AI unit. Great character development, unique world building, mystery, and bits of humor throughout blend together to deliver a novella that will leave you wanting more once you’ve reached the last page!

I loved this novella so much! I’m usually hesitant because of the short length, I might not get all the development, etc. I’m hoping for, but not with All Systems Red!

Just this first paragraph alone was a sign that this novella would be amazing:

I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.

Reading from Murderbot’s  perspective was so entertaining, hilarious and at many moments, pretty relatable too (b/c all it basically wants to do is to stay inside & avoid people 😂)

The story starts off on the coastal island of a distant planet where two teams of scientists are conducting research. The first sign of trouble is when two of the Murderbot’s scientists are examining a crater and get caught in an explosion.

After getting them to safety, they review their reports and with the Murderbot’s help, notice their report may have been altered or tampered with in some way.  Even more signs of trouble is that not only do they discover a section of their map missing, but almost land in a “hazard marker” and they can’t even contact DeltFall, the other team joining them on the planet.

They decide to see if the other team is okay with their leader, Dr.Mensah assessing the risks but ultimately agreeing they should check it out. Murderbot is always on her side, even when they get into trouble always sympathizes with her and understands the risks she must take to keep her team safe.

Along the way, it was great to see the Murderbot connect even more to its team (Dr. Mensah, Volescu, Pin-Lee, Arada and Gurathin)  even though its really hesitant in interacting with them.

Learning more about Murderbot itself (what its willing to risk and how it came to work with them) through its both serious and hilarious moments was genius!

The technology and politics of this world were so fascinating and it was great to learn about it from the perspective of an AI who understands so much, yet knows when to be comedic about it too!

They are such an integral part of the world and aside from learning more about the Murderbot & scientists, were such interesting aspects of the world/story that I’m glad to have gotten so much background on.

As the story progresses, it learns more about the government it works for and why these bad things have been going on during the mission.

I don’t really want to get into too many spoilers b/c its really an immersive and intriguing story that’s more fun when you discover it along the way.

I was worried about not getting enough world-building, but along the way as they explore the planet and try to solve the mystery, there’s so much depth to it that gets revealed.

My only minor issue was some slow pacing through out the middle. Aside from that…

All Systems Red is an immersive novella with a unique world and perfectly blends mystery, space + technology, and bits of comedy to deliver a fascinating speculative fiction/ science fiction short story that will intrigue you from start to finish!

Highly recommend to check out All Systems Red! 😍📚

June 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

Internet Famous by Danika Stone1. Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Internet Famous Full ARC Review

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Internet Famous is a YA Contemporary that discusses more than just blogging & fandoms. While also weaving in themes of family and independence, this novel also brings up more serious topics like cyberbullying! When conflict arises as her mother leaves town, Madi finds a way to balance her personal life and blogging, while connecting more to her family.

I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia2. I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia

I Am More Than A Daydream Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: April 15, 2017

Pages: 74

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: Another amazing collection of poetry from Cecelia! Similar to Uncaged Wallflower, her poems are filled with inspiration and positivity. However this collection mainly focuses on the inner strength we have to follow our dreams. Highly recommend checking out her poetry!

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie3.The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (TASU #1)

The Abyss Surrounds Us Full Review

Publisher: Flux Books

Release Date: February 8, 2016

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven YA Sci-Fi set in a fascinating/futuristic US! Cas Leung is a Reckoner trainer and finds herself among pirates when she gets captured and is forced to train a young Reckoner to work alongside pirates! I loved the diversity (Chinese-American protag. + f/f relationship) and there was a large cast of female characters, which was awesome. I just personally wanted more plot-wise. However, I adore the world & characters and am excited to see what happens in book 2!

The Tiger's Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera4.The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera (Their Bright Ascendancy #1)

ARC Review To Come Closer To Release Date

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: This book was phenomenal! Arsenault’s adult fantasy debut is a spectacularly written tale centering around divine empress Shizuka and warrior Shefali, and the powerful bond/relationship that they share! The world is rich and immersive, the characters are all written with such depth, and the writing is utterly beautiful! The Tiger’s Daughter had me hooked from page 1!

Keep your eye out for this novel, it is not one to miss! Cannot wait to share my full review 😍

our-dark-duet-victoria-schwab-cover-reveal5. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Monsters Of Verity #2)

Our Dark Duet Full Review

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Pages: 510

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Our Dark Duet was a character-driven and action-packed conclusion to the Monsters Of Verity duology! As with book 1, Schwab’s writing delivers a dark and immersive atmosphere and we see new sides to Kate and August! While there were some elements that did keep this book from being 5-stars, it was a solid conclusion and it was great following Kate & August on their adventures in Verity. 

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia6. Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eliza And Her Monsters Full Review

Publisher: Harpercollins

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Pages: 400

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: There were so many layers to this book, with discussions on internet culture, fandom/fan fiction, depression and social anxiety! I flew through it and adored it. Eliza is the popular web comic creator of Monstrous Seas and one day she meets Wallace, a popular fanfiction writer of her comic! I loved reading how their relationship developed over the course of the story. The plot was unique and engrossing + the characters were all wonderfully written. I did feel the plot rushed in some places, but aside from that Eliza & Her Monsters was a great YA Contemporary! 

All Systems Red by Martha Wells7.All Systems Red by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #1)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Pages: 160

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Originally this was going to be a 4, but the more I read, the more I loved it! 

A fascinating science fiction/speculative fiction short story! Told from the (both serious & comedic) point of view from an AI, we follow a group of scientists and a “Sec-Unit” as they run tests on a distant planet. Following the AI, we learn how it came to be a part of its group and along the way, how it becomes more connected to its team + what its willing to risk to keep them safe. All the characters from the scientists in the AI’s group to the AI itself, even the unique world, were all given such depth in quite a short story. There’s a second book set to be released and I cannot wait to read it!

(B/C I was on vacation I didn’t put up a full review for it, but I will definitely try to put one up on the blog soon!)

Additional Posts From This Month:

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones Cover Reveal 

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia Review

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca ZappiaEliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Publisher: Harpercollins

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Pages: 400

Summary: Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Discussing social anxiety, depression, fandom/fanfiction, and internet culture, Eliza & Her Monsters is a thought-provoking and engrossing YA Contemporary that will captivate you from page 1!

I adored this book + I practically flew through it!

Through first person POV, we follow Eliza as she goes through her final year in high school while also being a popular web comic artist of Monstrous Seas!

Having anxiety myself, I felt Zappia’s discussion and portrayal of it through Eliza was well represented! Throughout the course of the novel, she explains her struggles with connecting with her classmates and in general being more social was so relatable and reading from her POV, really made me connect to her even more! + It was great to see the discussion/inclusion of therapy as well.

I went into Zappia’s novel with high expectations because I adored her debut novel Made You Up and Eliza blew me away!

Comparing her web comic to blogging, I could definitely relate to her when she discussed the interaction in the community and having online friends! Additionally, reading about the work she puts into her comic and how it becomes a part of who she is, was another aspect that I could see in myself when it comes to Book blogging and writing!

When Eliza discovers a new classmate (Wallace) writing Monstrous Seas fanfiction, she begins to see how her work impacts and is beloved by people even in her own town! While she did have her fears of explaining to Wallace (among others) of being the creator, I could definitely see where she was coming from!

I’ve been working on a few story ideas and reading about her anxieties + fears of explaining the work to others was also something I could totally relate to! She’s always felt invisible and like she doesn’t belong, however through her online comic she finds a community and people who she can connect with. It was great to see the discussion on the importance of online communities and friends!

Over the course of the novel, she develops a friendship and relationship with Wallace and I felt it was so well done! It was never rushed and really took time to develop + I loved seeing their bond grow over Monstrous Seas.

However, troubles arise when her identity gets discovered and it took the novel in a more serious direction as we see how it impacts Eliza’s mental health and her passion to continue her story.

I loved how Zappia really took the time to show the different sides of Eliza’s work and as mentioned above, the line between creator and fan, internet privacy and above all the impact of social media on arts/works online! It brought in so many different discussions throughout and it brought even more depth to the story.

+*~ I loved the Final Fantasy references 😍😉✨

Additionally, Zappia’s writing in general really gives the story a heartwarming feel to it, while balancing the more serious moments!

This novel also discusses the barrier and obstacles that come with Eliza being a creator and having fans/dedicated readers that follow her comic.

It really takes time to also discuss family as we see how Eliza’s dedication to her comic makes her realize and understand more about her brothers and parents + how the internet can sometimes take away from moments that go on in daily life when we don’t notice! That was another aspect of this novel that really resonated with me and really made me think!

The first person POV really allows you to get into Eliza’s head and really understand/connect with her. Additionally through her POV, all the characters felt real and developed!

I did feel at points, the plot itself felt rather rushed in some places, mainly towards the end and in some places it could have been expanded on just a little bit more! Mainly with Eliza & Wallace’s relationship, I wanted a little more development as I reached the end!

Eliza and Her Monsters is fantastic YA Contemporary that weaves in themes of family and friendship, while discussing important topics such as anxiety. Throughout the novel, Zappia also discusses the multiple sides that come with online communities and artists/creators. Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, this novel will capture your heart!

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab Review

our-dark-duet-victoria-schwab-cover-revealOur Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Monsters Of Verity #2)

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Pages: 510

Summary: THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Through Schwab’s character-driven and immersive finale, a new monster emerges in the world of Verity as Kate and August’s adventures conclude in Our Dark Duet!

It saddens me that this novel wasn’t a full 5 stars similar to This Savage Song (which I adored! <3) however it is definitely a solid conclusion! 

Similar to all of Schwab’s other novels, I love how she builds the atmosphere of her worlds! Through her writing, her stories/worlds are always immersive and unique!

It was great to see August and Kate develop as they are set on their own paths, especially August since This Savage Song.

Kate now in works as a monster hunter, but when a new monster emerges she finds herself heading back to Verity.

As their stories progressed, it was heartbreaking to read them come to accept difficult truths not only about the fate of their city, but of themselves.

As a new monster emerges, it was also fascinating to get a lot of POV chapters from Alice and Sloan. They get much more development than in Book 1 and it really brought more depth the story overall to see their plans unfold over course of Our Dark Duet.

Additionally, what made them so fascinating to read about, was being able to get into their head and learn more about who they are and what their goals/plans do to them along the way.

I also loved the inclusion of Soro’s character, another Sunai (who identifies as gender fluid) and used they/them! They were a great character who was such a supportive friend to August when he found it difficult to use his Sunai abilities and coming to terms about humanity and what it means to be human. Above all Soro was an amazing character and even though they were just introduced in this novel, definitely became one of my favorite characters.

As mentioned above, through the inclusion of Sloan + Alice’s chapters, we got even more depth into the hierarchy and inner workings between the Malchai and Corsai!

As for world-building, there is a little more in terms of the different monsters and their role in Verity, which I loved because they were such an interesting part of the world. However, in terms of setting I do wish there was a little more description.

Schwab’s writing especially in this novel, really shows the stark differences between Kate & August, with that, we see the dark truths of humanity and the divide between good & evil which really built into the story.

As to why I took off a star, I did find that since this novel read as a dystopian (for me personally) and found there to be some tropes I usually find in those novels, present in this one, which really made this novel feel difficult to get through at points.

I felt what made TSS so much fun, was the interaction/connection of August & Kate and I felt they really didn’t have that many scenes together in Our Dark Duet which made me so sad :'(!

There were also a couple important plot points that felt super rushed as I neared the end, which really made it difficult to really grasp their severity.

Above all, it felt like there was just something missing from this novel that made it quite different from This Savage Song.

Regardless…

Our Dark Duet is a solid, action-packed conclusion to this dark, character-driven duology! Monsters still roam the streets of Verity and with that, Kate and August must face the difficult truths of who they are!