What would happen if the world were so far gone that violence actually bred violence? If killing someone literally created a monster? Would you put your faith in a man who enslaves these monsters, or the one who tries to keep the peace?
August Flynn is a Sunai, a monster created from the worst of catastrophes. Taken in by the peacekeeping Flynn family and raised as much like a human child as possible, August wants nothing more than to actually be human. Constantly fighting his nature, constantly trying to keep himself from taking yet another soul, despite the fact that he needs to feed in order to live, August was a heartbreaking character.
Kate Harker is something of a legend. Her father controls the worst of the monsters, and as such, tries to keep her out of the way. She’s been kicked out of countless boarding schools for such ruthless acts as setting fire to a chapel. She’s not afraid of anything, especially not her father’s monsters, or so she’d have you think.
When Harker’s carefully controlled monsters begin to revolt, August and Kate team up to keep one another safe. The plot is pretty standard-issue young adult dystopia, but it differs from the norm in that there is absolutely zero romantic connection between August and Kate. A wary friendship, maybe, but certainly no pesky feelings.
The book definitely feels like the first in a series. It took awhile to find its footing, but once it did, I was just as invested as I’ve been in any of Schwab’s work. Similarly, Kate took awhile to grow on me, but then I fell in love with her character. (I loved August from the beginning. What can I say, monstrous boys who play the violin have a special place in my heart.) I cannot wait for Our Dark Duet, which is due to be released in June 2017.
Is this Schwab’s best work? No, I think that honor belongs to her Shades of Magic series. Is this the best book you’re going to read all year? Probably not. Is it a really great representation of what dystopian literature could be if authors would just think outside the box for once? YES.
Final rating: ★★★★☆