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Series Review: Monsters of Verity by Victoria Schwab

Series Review: Monsters of Verity by Victoria Schwab

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for This Savage Song (from Goodreads):

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.


Series: Monsters of Verity
Author: Victoria Schwab
# of Books: 2 (This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: July 2016 – June 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Disclaimer: I opted not to pick up the finale, Our Dark Duet. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I felt like you couldn’t escape this series when it first came out in 2016. Schwab is one of those highly toted authors in the blogging community and after reading A Darker Shade of Magic, I understand why. She creates really cool worlds and intriguing stories. But I didn’t have a stellar experience with A Gathering of Shadows (I found it to be dreadfully slow until the last half of the book) so I wasn’t sure about this series.

When I saw my library had the audiobook copies of both books, I decided to make it the next series I read via audio. I was looking forward to it but I was also hesitant after reading some mediocre reviews from some trusted bloggers I follow. But I went in with an open mind and hoped the outcome would be positive.

The Concept / The World:

Alright, the concept here is super duper cool. The idea that these actual monsters have come to life because of people’s actions is really neat. It’s such a unique world and gives this series an interesting spin.

But I felt a little lost in it as well. I mean, I got the politics of the world. That was easy to figure out. What I struggled with was the various monster types. Now this might have been a result of listening to it via audio–I often struggle with remembering terms when I don’t physically see them–but it’s hard to say.

The Plot:

Given my experience with 2 other Schwab novels, I knew that this story was going to take a while to build up. I’ve always noted how slow it takes to get to whatever has been listed in the synopsis with her novels.

In this case, I was at the 56% (approximately) mark when the “failed assassination attempt” occurs. Now, perhaps I just read the synopsis wrong, emphasizing the wrong aspect. But for me, when something is listed in the synopsis, I expect it to happen well before the 50%–usually closer to the 20% because that’s what I expect the novel to be about. So to say I was a little disappointed in the plot for this story is a bit of an understatement.

As a result, the pacing for this just seemed off to me. When I was a quarter of the way through, I contemplated DNFing it because it wasn’t holding my attention. I felt like nothing was happening. But I stuck with it, figuring my crappy mood was to blame. And things did pick up a bit after that but never to the levels I was expecting.

Once the plot got to its climax, I did find everything to be interesting. However, I thought the twist was terribly predictable. I had figured out what was going to happen before we even reached the assassination attempt that sets everything into motion. It just seemed so obvious to me. So in that respect, I found it to be very disappointing.

The Characters:

I think the hype people give these two dampened my potential to love August and Kate. To me, they were almost cliche in their delivery. I get why they are presented as they are: it’s the whole dynamic of the story that’s listed in the first two lines of the synopsis. So it works for the story.

It’s just that I never fell in love with them. They never become real to me in the way that I expected them to after reading how people just adored everything they did. And it surprised me because I find when I listen to audiobooks, I find it much easier to empathize and connect with characters because I am hearing their voices and emotion aloud.

The Romance:

I did find it nice that the romance isn’t the focus of this story. It’s hard to find an urban fantasy or a YA paranormal story that doesn’t become consumed by the romance between the leads.

Why I Won’t Be Picking Up Our Dark Duet:

Because I wasn’t overly impressed with the first novel, I didn’t want to read the second. Things wrap-up enough here that I am satisfied with leaving the story as is and moving on to other novels.

My Audiobook Experience:

As I said above, perhaps the audiobook dampened my world-building experience. It’s hard to say. But I did enjoy the audiobook production. For only having one narrator and a female one at that for a dual POV, it’s great. I think it worked well that I listened to this instead of reading it because I probably would have lost interest in the text a lot earlier.

Series Rating: DNF

This Savage Song 2/5 | Our Dark Duet N/A


Get a second opinion on this one. I think fans of Schwab’s writing style (slowly building, often wordy prose) will love this. But if you’re looking for a quick YA urban fantasy that doesn’t focus on romance, look elsewhere because it takes a while to reach its peak.

Read if You Like: long books, slow building
Avoid if You: dislike urban fantasy, want lots of action



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Series Review: Shades of Magic by V E Schwab

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for A Darker Shade of Magic (from Goodreads):
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.


Series: Shades of Magic Trilogy; A Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy
Author: V.E. Schwab (aka Victoria Schwab)
# of Books: 3 (A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Alternate Dimensions
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: February 2015 – February 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When this book first came out, it was on a lot of the blogs that I follow. Schwab’s The Archived Series has been on my TBR for a while but this one compelled me to pick it up first. I won’t lie, it was probably the cover 😛 But actually, I’ve really been loving alternate dimension books recently and I needed one for my Ready for Spring Bingo 2015 card so this was my pick!

So I was really excited to pick up this book even though I wasn’t entirely sure what was in store for me (I avoided all reviews for it before I read it to keep my mind clear of spoilers). I hoped for a fast paced adventure with witty banter between the two leads and I couldn’t wait to get started!

The World:

I really recommend that you start this book when your mind is clear and you aren’t really tired. I made the mistake of reading the first 100 pages (approx. a third of the book) fighting off some shut-eye and I had a very hard time grasping the world. I found that it definitely got easier to understand the more I read, but I think that was because we actually get a breakdown of everything all at once as Lila learns about the dimensions.

Because really, the dimensions are easy to understand as is the role of magic in the worlds. I love all the layers–literally and metaphorically. It’s great world-building and one of the coolest alternate dimension stories I have read. I just wish I was in a better place when I first picked it up so it didn’t take so long for me to get into it.

The Plot:

I really feel like this book could have been a lot shorter than it was. I found the first 100 pages to be really slow. I’m sure my tiredness played a role but considering the plot described in the synopsis doesn’t really start until we are 100 pages in I feel like I am justified in that conclusion. I like and appreciate world/plot building but I don’t like when it is prolonged.

Especially when we actually get to the main plot of the story and it’s an AMAZING ride! Despite this book being nearly 300 eBook pages, the last 200 pages fly by! The plot moves at a great pace that keeps you on the edge of your seat. There are a lot of great twists and action and I loved every minute of it!

I feel like there is a greater emphasis on the role of magic in these worlds instead of how the alternate dimensions work. Of course the alternate dimensions play a huge role but magic is really the heart of the story. (I hope that makes sense). As a reader who doesn’t really love magic stories, I really liked this one and how it is executed. There was a great balance between the magic elements, the dimensions and action.

The Characters:

It took me a while to like Kell–again, I think it was my tired state–but I loved Lila as soon as we met her! I love the bad-ass thief that she is and her wit. Together, Kell and Lila make one fantastic duo. Their banter back and forth was so much fun to read and I loved watching them learn to work together and trust each other.

I also love that there are good guys and bad guys–and that the bad guys are really bad. It makes for some interesting events which is a lot of fun. But I also like that Kell and Lila have flaws–that they aren’t straight-laced characters that are righteous in everything they do. They can be just as ruthless but you still want to root for them because their hearts are in the good places.

The Romance:

While there is definitely chemistry between Kell and Lila, this book has practically no romance. I think it’s going to come into play in later books but this book isn’t a romance by any means.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really curious to see what is in store next for these characters and their worlds. I can’t wait to see how everything develops over the next two books!


–August 31, 2016– Book #2: A Gathering of Shadows

OK, this took me wayyyyy to long to get into.

I found the first 45% of the book to be terribly slow. Like, I contemplated actually finishing it or not because it wasn’t capturing my attention. But then I remembered I had the same feelings with ADSOM but in the end, I really enjoyed it. And like in ADSOM, I feel like you could have easily cut 100 (eBook) pages out and still had a kick ass story!

I mean the last 50% was AWESOME! Even if it felt a little like filler, I was thoroughly entertained. I like the hints we got of where things are going in the finale and it was nice to see the development of other characters as well as Lila and Kell.

In short: this was a slow start if you are someone who doesn’t love lots of descriptions but it becomes and enjoyable adventure past the halfway mark.

–May 7, 2018– Book #3: A Conjuring of Light

I think this one was my favourite of the series. I found the momentum was strong throughout the entire novel–no slow starts here!

But we also returned to the great character interaction as well that I loved in the first book. All the banter between all the characters; though mostly Kell and Lila. These two really made the series for me so I loved all their scenes together.

I did find the solution to be slightly anti-climatic; after reading 500+ pages only to have the main conflict wrap up within a few pages seemed odd to me. However, the rest of the book is strong so I can let that slip by.


My Rating: 4/5

A Darker Shade of Magic 4/5 | A Gathering of Shadows 3.5/5 | A Conjuring of Light 4/5


Each novel starts slowly but once it gets going, it really doesn’t stop! It’s a beautifully crafted and unique world that will suck readers in!

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, alternate dimensions
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance