This Savage Song: Monsters of Verity, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
This Savage Song: Monsters of Verity, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Parents recommend
Complex fantasy expertly explores good and evil.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

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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

Children can break away from their families' evil behavior.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although he sees himself as a monster, August struggles to be good, fighting the hunger that could destroy innocents. Kate at first accepts her bad side but eventually decides to change her behavior.


Some scenes of intense violence. Characters actively and passively allow the deaths of family members. There are gunfights, stabbings, and attacks by monsters with fearsome teeth and claws. August uses music as a weapon against his supernatural foes.


Kate and August seem to be developing feelings for each other, but any romantic relationship is on hold by the end of the book.


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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that This Savage Song: Monsters of Verity, Book 1 is the first half of an action-packed urban fantasy by Victoria Schwab. 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." Some violent scenes feature stabbings, gunfights, and magic. Characters actively or passively participate in the deaths of their family members. There's a spark between August and Kate, but there is little time to pursue romance in this installment.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byOrthodoxJewishMom October 24, 2019

Who is a Monster

At the beginning of this book I really wanted to have more background information to understand where it was heading, but in hindsight it was well paced for its... Continue reading
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byIsabel F. October 16, 2018

Victoria Schwab never ceases to impress me

4.5 stars
Schwab describes this duology as "Sin City PLUS Romeo and Juliet MINUS romance PLUS monsters. " I didn't know how badly I needed this... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDayCassi0peia August 23, 2019

Interesting read

The author wrote this book in an interesting style that’s different from many books I read. It was kind of refreshing. I got confused in some parts but once I u... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 2, 2021

One of the best novels I have ever read.

As an avid Schwab reader, I was pleasantly surprised by this amazing novel. Not much character development, but she doesn’t let her characters have a single per... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THIS SAVAGE SONG, when Kate Harker decides to burn down the chapel at her boarding school, she finally gets her wish to return to the divided city over which her ruthless father rules one side. When she transfers to a new school in Verity, she meets August, who looks human but is actually a monster working undercover for his family. The Harkers and the Flynns must abide by the shaky truce that governs the city, and there are forces that wish to tear the peace asunder. Kate and August must call upon their better selves to spare the lives of thousands of innocents, if only they can trust each other.

Is it any good?

Rich in character, original in its world-building, and unpredictable in its plotting, this offbeat urban fantasy finds nuance in the battle between good and evil. This Savage Song focuses on two characters who believe themselves to be villains and eventually see the good parts of themselves. Author Victoria Schwab keeps the narrative pressure on August and Kate as they attempt to protect each other against a deadly conspiracy, and their intense interplay makes this novel stand out. Schwab excels at this kind of immersive saga, and this volume's cliffhanger ending will leave her fans eager for more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ways in which This Savage Song depicts the concepts of good and evil. Can people redeem themselves after they've committed a terrible act?

  • What role does violence play in This Savage Song? How can people work together to prevent violence?

  • What might it be like to live in a divided city, where peace endures only under a fragile truce?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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