Our Dark Duet: Monsters of Verity, Book 2

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Our Dark Duet: Monsters of Verity, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Hard-driving finale neatly wraps up harsh urban fantasy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Raises questions about the proper use of political power and whether people have free will in designing their own destinies.

Positive Messages

People who have done terrible deeds can still find redemption. Loyalty and friendship are powerful forces for good.

Positive Role Models & Representations

In the face of great loss, August has shut down emotionally. Through Kate's sacrifice, he's able to find new reasons for hope.

Violence

Lots of bloody violence, from beginning to the end. Monsters feed on humans, humans fight each other for survival, and hundred of innocents die. Gunfights, knife fights, bombings, hand-to-claw combat, people are impaled with iron rods.

Sex

August and Kate share a passionate embrace, but their physicality is too intense to last very long before they pull away.

Language

Occasional rough language, including a half dozen uses of "s--t" and its variants, one or two uses of "f--k." "Damn" and "hell" are used a few times each.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Victoria Schwab's Our Dark Duet: Monsters of Verity, Book 2 is the second half of an action-packed urban fantasy begun in This Savage Song. It features main characters who struggle against their respective dark sides. The language is occasionally rough: a half dozen uses of "s--t" and its variants; one or two uses of "f--k," and a handful of "damn" and "hell." Frequent  violent scenes feature stabbings, gunfights, impalements, and magic. There's a spark between August and Kate, but little time to pursue romance in this installment.

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What's the story?

At the start of OUR DARK DUET, Kate Harker has become accustomed to being a monster hunter. But when she catches a glimpse of a terrifying entity that feeds off chaos, she returns to Verity, the city she left in This Savage Song, determined to destroy the monster before it wipes out humankind. Waiting for her are old enemies who want to take revenge, as well as her soulmate August Flynn, a near-immortal who once yearned to be human and now seems to have embraced his violent side. As monsters gather and devise new threats, Kate and August must repair their relationship if they have any hope of saving themselves and their loved ones.

Is it any good?

Readers who like take-no-prisoners urban fantasy will enjoy this intense showdown between humankind and various monsters who haunt the darkness. In Kate and August, the two main characters of Our Dark Duet, author Victoria Schwab has created protagonists worth following to hell and back, as they fight for survival and salvation.

Sometimes the action gets a little repetitive, with Kate being told not to do something dangerous, resisting, and then learning why everyone was trying to warn her. It's an effective gambit once or twice, but the pattern wears out its welcome. Otherwise, this is another stellar effort from a writer supremely comfortable with both YA and adult audiences.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the examination of good and evil in Our Dark Duet. How can you tell if a person is one or the other?

  • How is violence used in Our Dark Duet? What do the characters hope to gain through its use? Does it always have the intended consequences?

  • What defines a monster? Can terrible deeds be forgiven?

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