Tooth and claw,
Shadow and Bone
Will eat you raw.
Sharp and sly,
Smile and bite
and drink you dry.
Eyes like coal,
Sing a song
And steal your soul.
Big and small,
They're gonna come
and eat you all."
Imagine a world that's so dark that crime isn't an uncommon occurrence. And I don't mean petty little crimes, I mean real ones. Where people are murdered or beaten to the verge of death on a daily basis. A time when crime is such a common occurrence that people's sins have given birth to monsters.
For a long time I heard about Victoria Schwab this, Victoria Schwab that. She's a big deal, and it seems like everyone loves her. So of course, eventually I gave in and decided to try one of her books. This is the first one.
Overall, I can't exactly explain how I felt about it. Schwab's writing style throws me for a loop. Though it had a slow beginning, the book just suddenly pulled me in and I was intrigued, and yet I still somehow felt distanced from the writing. I'm writing this review after reading three of Schwab's books, and I feel the same way about the writing style in all of them.
The world building in this story is very unique, it's kind of a dystopian novel, but kind of not because it takes place someone that is not here. Though, it is in the future where everything is destroyed so maybe it is dystopian, I just don't like the assumptions that come along when someone says "dystopian" these days. NO NOT ALL DYSTOPIAN NOVELS ARE LIKE THE HUNGER GAMES. It's a whole genre, not just one template. This book takes place in a city called Verity. It's been split in half, North and South.
North V-City is kind of like normal life, you can still do your job and go to school. The only difference is that it's ruled over by an evil, kind of mob boss type man who controls monsters. The people who live there have to pay a steep price, and still, they don't dare venture out at night. Because that's when the monsters come out to play.
South V-City is more of the dystopian feel, it's completely destroyed, but the people there aren't living with a self applied blindfold. They're the ones who know how terrible the monsters are, and are fighting to keep their freedom and to stay away from Callum Harker's terrible reign.
It's not often you'll find a book so dark and violent, and yet so enjoyable.
This is kind of a twist on Romeo and Juliet, minus the intense romance. Kate Harker is like her father, or, at least, she tries to be cunning and cruel. She longs to be a vicious monster, not the kind that haunt the streets at night, but the kind that has humanity, but choses to ignore it. While August Flynn is the "son" of the leader of South V-City. He's a real monster, and all he really wants is to be human.
"But the monsters-- real monsters-- didn't look like the stupid little hood ornaments. No, the real monsters were much worse."
I lived for the interactions between these two. It took a while for the two's path to actually cross, but once they did, the book sure got a whole lot more interesting.
All in all, I'd give this book 7.5/10 stars. Like I said before, I can't exactly put my finger on how I felt about this book, I know I enjoyed it, but I can't really place the extent of enjoyment. I was having a great time reading it, yet I was kind of distanced from the story. I would recommend it, but I didn't absolutely love it. I think it's a fun, different read, though. If you're tired of classic tropes, Schwab's books are definitely for you.
"People are users. It's a universal truth. Use them, or they'll use you."
Here's the synopsis:
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.
Anyway, thanks for reading,