A not so review of Our Dark Duet.
As one should expect from their most anticipated read of the year— I’m still sobbing my heart out in the Library of Fangirling and the vault of Unearthly Treasures. *Sniffle. But I shall endeavor to explain.
With one question Victoria Schwab takes us back to Verity, to August, to Kate. Where are you?
Well, I am under a pile of tissues trying to claw my way out; and this is being written over a month after I finished. So what about Our Dark Duet had me in such a state? Everything. Nothing. Perfection. I don’t even have any notes to go off, so I’m winging this. Let’s take this down to some really basic points, this way maybe I can work through my feels. Characters. Plot. Craft. Feels.
On characters: I cannot say how happy and heartbreaking I was to find myself with Kate and August again. Like catching up with old friends after years of separation. Victoria has a way with making both of these characters deeply complex and conflicted in ways that make you think. Think how? How we are all a boiling mess of conflict, of madness and monsters, of hope and redemption. I don’t want to give spoilers for those who haven’t read it, but DAMN! This book was a rollercoaster of held breaths and stifled sobs. For good reasons and bad. One thing I can say is Victoria has a way with characters that will always have me coming back for more- even when they tear my heart to pieces and I watch it fall apart.
Plot-ish: While I can say I knew how this book had to end, getting there was phenomenal. Every turn, every slow curve in the path, the heart-stopping drops and crevices; each element had me white-knuckled, nails digging into the cover at 2 am. Just because I knew how it all had to end didn’t make it any less enjoyable, in fact, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Because I had time to prepare, though that doesn’t mean I wasn’t gasping and making ugly crying sounds those last few chapters.
Crafty Lady: *Applause. Victoria Schwab is a master of craft. There is verse, and it is beautiful, and haunting, and perfect. There is a reason she deserves a round of applause, because the craft of this book is unbearable. Beautiful and haunting, every word is placed for maximum effect, like bullets aimed for the heart. Swift strokes, strong world-building, characters to die for, and a finale that has you rereading the page.
Oh Feels! I never cry while reading. Our Dark Duet made me cry. Yes, I shed tears into the OTP River, flooded my vault, and still had more to give. Happy. Sad. Heartbreaking. Thought-provoking. These are what I’d use to describe what I feel. I would threaten to use betrayed, but Victoria is so worthy of admiration I can’t bring myself to it. As far as final books go, I read a ton of them last year, and Our Dark Duet is up there for best ending— definitely top 10. When I say this is a 5 star/Crown-worthy read, I mean it. Filling the gap after finishing this has been, well it didn’t go well, it actually got worse— A LOT WORSE. But that is for a later post (GEMINA!!!!!!)
Before I go, I’ve had a few friends ask if I’d like to see This Savage Song / Our Dark Duet as a movie… Ummmm, NO! I would be the coward shaking behind the couch, shivering under the covers at night. I have a lot of feels about adaptations, and maybe someday I’ll do a post on that, because it’s something near and dear to my heart.
I’ll bid you farewell, for now. I’ll try not to tear up, but after Our Dark Duet and GEMINA, it’s been a rough slump to crawl out of. *throws self of divan, sobs dramatically, eats chocolate. Asks… Where are you?
Her Imperial Majesty, Em