Sunai, Sunai, eyes black as coal, sing you a song and steal your soul.
Kate Harker wants nothing more than to prove to her father that she is his daughter. A Harker through and through. She wants to prove that she is just as cold, calculating, strong and ruthless as he is. But is that what she really wants? August Flynn wasn’t, and then he just was. Born from nothing, into a life he doesn’t want. He is a monster, but not like the other monsters, he just wants to be normal, to live in a world where there is peace, love and music that doesn’t call to the souls of sinners. When they are thrown together, pawns in someone else’s game, they both start to realise that their world’s aren’t just black and white, they are varying shades of grey. Navigating the harsh, violent landscapes of V-city and it’s surrounds just trying to stay alive a little longer. Secrets are revealed, hearts are changed, and they soon realise that they have no idea what is actually going on in their cold, ruthless existence. What will happen to August and Kate? Will they make it out of this alive? Can a monster really be less of a monster than a human?
Firstly I want to say thank you to someonetookit for giving me the chance to read this book. I won it through a competition that she held on her social media accounts. You can find her blog at http://someonetookit.wordpress.com .
I started reading this book a couple of months ago, and it took me WAY longer to read than it should have. I think I mustn’t have been in the right frame of mind when I first started it as I wasn’t getting pulled into the story and found I didn’t really care much about the characters at all. So I put it down for a little while, and just recently decided it was time to finish this baby, and boy am I glad that I did.
The story follows two alternating points of view, that of Kate Harker, daughter to Callum Harker, who is the be all and end all in V-city. He controls the Malchai and Corsai to an extent, and for those who can afford it, he offers his protection in the form of a wearable medallion, which means that those who wear it are untouchable by the monsters roaming the streets. The other is the view of August Flynn, he lives in South City near the red, the area is cut up into zones: red, yellow, and green, coloured according to the danger. His “father”, Henry Flynn, is the head of the other side of this fight, and while he doesn’t have the Malchai or Corsai fighting on his side, he does have three Sunai. The Sunai are the rarest of the monsters, and no one has every really seen one and lived to tell the tail. They are more powerful than the other two, which is what gives Henry his edge in the war, that is currently in a state of tenuous truce, ready to break at any moment. It is decided that August will attend Colton Academy, which funnily enough is where Kate has been placed after being kicked out of another boarding school. His job is to keep an eye on Kate. He’s nervous because he doesn’t like being one of the monsters and while he wanted to become a bigger part of the fight, this wasn’t what he had in mind. The two gravitate towards each other, maybe sensing that they are both not what they seem, both different than everyone else. What follows is a budding friendship born out of hatred on one side, and the need to prove that all is not what it seems on the other.
I really ended up enjoying this story. I loved the creation of the monsters used, the Sunai are just amazing. They use differing forms of music in order to bring a sinner’s soul to the surface so they can feed. I loved how this was done, music is a massive part of my life, and the way that the people under the Sunai’s spell become calm, quiet, and give themselves over completely is how I feel about certain songs that I listen to. Music has that ability to just shut out the rest of the world and take you to a different place all together.
I loved the development of Kate and August throughout the story as well. Kate at first seems so cold, and always out for a fight, and what she becomes in the end is so much more than where she started. She had been ignoring her true self for so long, just wanting to be accepted by her father that she lost who she was along the way, once she realises who she really is, I instantly fell in love with her character. It was similar for August, he abhorred what he was completely, always trying to pretend that he wasn’t a monster, but as he came to learn, not all monsters are the same, you can still be a monster and a good soul. Who hasn’t gone through a similar thing in their lives? Trying to push who they really are to the side so that someone will like them better? So that they will be more accepted in a social circle? I think so many people are so hung up on being accepted that they lose who they really are in process, when being you will attract the people that you WANT around you. Being true to yourself is incredibly important, and I think this story illustrates that beautifully.
Also, I loved the addition of the cat, Allegro, that August finds on a hunt. I love that while it didn’t have a big part, it also hinted at how fine tuned into people animals can be. He believed that he wasn’t evil, because the cat didn’t run way from him. I love it.
All in all, a fantastic story, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m really hoping that August and Kate end up back together soon, I feel like everything is going to blow sky high and I hope that the world is a changed place on the other side of it.