My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
The first few chapters can be a bit slow to get into, but the story does find its path fairly quickly and immediately became a favourite. I originally read the first five chapters via Epic Reads was intrigued by the premise although nothing much happened at the beginning. I finally got a chance to read the entire book and the idea of it is just fantastic. Our main characters live in a world in which sins and crimes beget monsters – creatures that terrorize the city and force the people to choose between two ways of life. In one half of the City, the leader lets the monsters roam freely but puts them under his control to a degree and sells his protection to the people for a high price. In the other half of the City, the leader has a militia-like group that keeps the City safe but not everyone wants to help out.
Our two main characters are Kate and August, although they are from opposite sides of Verity. Kate is the daughter of the leader of the north half of the City and wants to prove herself. She is strong and smart, but puts on a tougher front than she would have naturally because of who and where she is. August is different. August is a monster, a Sunai, a creature that can feed off you, your soul and your energy with just a few strains of music. But August is not all he appears and he is definitely my favourite character in the book.
There are three different types of monsters: Sunai, Malchai, and Corsai. Each is well developed and unique in the world that the author built. I think that the horror that she evokes in the reader makes the plight of the main characters that much more harrowing. You, of course, experience stress and fear as Kate and August fight for their lives. The world building continues as you experience life on each side of the city through the eyes of our main characters. I do hope to see further development in the second novel of the characters now that the foundation of the world and its players have been created.
The story was beautifully written and I was completely entranced. I was happily surprised by the lack of romance in this novel, as one could easily expect our two main characters to fall in love over the course of their harrowing journey (as happens in many YA novels.)
I would highly recommend it to young adult/teen readers who are fans of fantasy, dystopian, horror and any of V.E. Schwab’s other work (despite them being in the adult age range and this being a young adult series.)