Monsters of Verity #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on July 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
Alright, onto my main point! I LOVE Schwab has continued the discussion about what makes a person a monster and what makes a human. In the acknowledgments, and I’m sure most fans of Schwab have noticed, she actually quotes a character from her adult book Vicious.
“Plenty of humans are monstrous, and plenty of monsters know how to play at being human.”
In the middle of it all, she has provided a character who overwhelmingly wants to be human, and possess all the characteristics we associate with being human including but not limited to: self-doubt, anxiety, hesitancy, nervousness but with a clear moral compass to do good, make the right decisions and keep people safe. August is a likable character, you’d be hard pressed to look at him and not see how his experiences have shaped his way of thinking and actions today. You’d also be hard-pressed not to like him.
Then we have another character who is an unreliable narrator and often seems at odds with herself, her decisions and her desires. I found myself questioning many of her decisions. I sometimes felt uncomfortable with some of the things Kate chose and felt confused by some of her desires. Did I agree with them? Did I think they were moral? Is this actually for “the greater good” (notwithstanding the serious reservations I have with this phrase) as she often believed, or is it something else she’s trying to prove?
That all being said, not more than once in this book I found myself asking “Who are the real monsters and who are the real humans?”
- The high degree of music puns was enjoyable, but a lot.
- Favorite quote: “We are the darkest acts made light.”