Release date: July 5, 2016 (this edition)
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, who uses his power to protect the innocent. Thrown together by a crumbling truce and a failed assassination attempt, Kate and August must flee to save themselves.
You know, I thought this might be a Romeo-Juliet kind of story set in an urban fantasy setting, but boy was I surprised. In the start I was a bit confused as to what was going on – there were monsters, and there were seemingly monster hunters, but there was also two parts of the city, and these monsters arise from crime. But as the story progressed, things fell into place. In a dystopian-like society, the population lives in these territories, where monsters arise from the crimes that humans commit. There are three of these monsters – for varying degrees of crimes, and the one for the worst is also the one that is the most human. Kate is the daughter to the man ruling over the north half of the city – a crime boss who takes payment for his protection and has his monsters on a leash. The south half of the city is ruled by Henry Flynn, who has only three monsters under him, whom he has brought up as family because they can save the rest of them.
While it is a dark story about the depravity of humans, and their ignorance of matters that are causing direct harm, it was a great character study of August. He is not human but is trying his best to be; he is having an existential crisis, and like his siblings, he was borne of the worst of crimes. He tries to overcome his nature, and he has the kindest soul of them all. Kate, on the other hand, has been brought up in a life of violence, and all her kindness has been leached from her by her father. She strives to prove to him that she is his daughter – an effort that costs her very soul. The mythology of the world itself is pretty interesting – monsters borne out of crime, like a demon carbon footprint. The ending was quite a surprise and was so exciting that my heart was racing as the events were unfolding. And the way the book ended, with that epilogue, the next one looks very promising.
Received a free galley from Greenwillow Books, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.