*Potential for spoilers. Read at your own risk!
I received a free physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: June 7th 2016
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city, a grisly metropolis where the violence has begun to create real and deadly monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the inhabitants pay for his protection. August just wants to be human, as good-hearted as his own father – but his curse is to be what the humans fear. The thin truce that keeps the Harker and Flynn families at peace is crumbling, and an assassination attempt forces Kate and August into a tenuous alliance. But how long will they survive in a city where no one is safe and monsters are real…
V. E. Schwab is really making a name for herself in the world of urban fantasy. With her Shades of Magic series making waves amongst the book community, she now brings us the beginning to her new series, Monsters of Verity. In this book, we are faced with a world where violence breeds monsters: Malchai, Corsai, and Sunai – who each have their own way of invoking fear into the general population. On opposites sides of the divide that separates the North and the South of the city, are August and Kate – both aware of the other but having never met before, they aren’t aware of what each other is capable of. As the unrest between the two sides grows, and the monsters rebel, they are forced into each others company and must work with each other in order to survive.
The greatest aspect I found of Schwab’s new series was the characters. Kate and August are both flawed in their own ways; Kate is the daughter of Callum Harker (ruler of the North of the city and master of monsters) and, in an attempt to please her father, becomes someone entirely different – killing monsters, setting fire to boarding schools, and pretending that nothing gets to her. August is a monster, a Sunai, who is able to eat the souls of humans who have committed sins. He himself has been bred from previous violence. August is flawed in that he knows he is different, he wants to be human, but he will never be able to rid himself of the thirst to eat those who have sinned. I love that they are both flawed and that, with the help of each other, they are able to understand how similar they are and understand that their flaws are what make them who they are. One aspect of this relationship that I found refreshing is the love interest between the two. Their relationship develops throughout the book at a pace fitting for a love interest, and their actions hint at something more between them; however, Schwab finishes the book with no kiss between the two, no declarations of love and it is this that I loved – that the relationship will hopefully span the entirety of the series.
I was really drawn in by the fantasy element of violence breeding monsters. Monsters aren’t a concept all too common in the fantasy world and it was interesting to see Schwab’s twist on previous creatures portrayed in this genre. You have the Malchai who are created through the act of murder – they are essentially like vampires with their sharp teeth and wet hiss that betrays their presence. The Corsai come from violence – they live deep underground and are afraid of light and use their claws to attack their prey and enemies. And finally, the Sunai who are born from the greatest forms of violence (bombings, suicide etc) and they are able to steal the souls of those who have sinned resulting in these monsters being born. They use music to create their ‘savage song’ that entices the sinner and brings their souls to the surface to be harvested by the Sunai.
All of these monsters coupled with the rest of the storyline brings a thrilling experience that is unique and shows off Schwab’s ability to write great fantasy that entices and intrigues, keeping you hooked from beginning to end. I was drawn in by the concept and the realistic nature of the character’s who bring raw emotion to the narrative and brought together, left me wanting to pick the book up every time I put it down.