4 1/2 stars
Given my current disillusionment with YA literature, I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this one.
I know that Victoria Schwab said that there was no romance in this book, and that was part of the reason I gave it a chance, but it seemed to me that Kate and August had potential for romance later in life. Don't get me wrong, I am tired of romance in YA books, but for some reason, the books that contain romance tend to be the ones that I think have the best relationships, and have the most potential for real romantic relationships later.
Kate was strong, but not in the way that she portrayed herself. She acted tough, and she was strong in her own way, but she wasn't the kind of strong that she showed to the world. I found her frustrating. She was trying to be like her father, and if she had become like her father, then she would have polluted her own soul. Her type of character is one that I don't usually like, but she fit in with the world that the author had built.
I liked August more than Kate. I liked his innocence and fear of himself. His hate of himself because he is a monster. It made him into a wonderfully, heartbreakingly tortured character. I loved his love of music, and his love and fear of his music. I liked that he was trying to protect Kate, even when she was mean to him. Even after she had killed, and he could have taken her. I didn't like the way the story ended for his character. I know that his excepting who he is was a very strong action, but I worry that he might become more like his brother, and the separation of his caution and dislike of killing (even if they were killers) from his need to kill to survive makes me nervous that he will lose some of his goodness.
The world the story is set in is very interesting, but also very confusing. It was a very dark world, and I think that the plot would have benefitted from some humor or something to break up the dark, frightening and starkness of this place filled with monsters who are human, and monsters who exist because of the actions of humans. I loved the idea of music being the source of a power, and while I don't think of music as a killing power, people often say that it speaks to the soul, or that it feeds the soul, so I suppose it could fit that it brings the guilt, shame or sadness to the surface of their minds, and their souls to the edge of their bodies.
I enjoyed this book a great deal, it was unique, and far better than most of the secular YA books I have read recently.