A Girl and Her Crow

Darkbeast by Morgan Keyes

darkbeast

First Look:

Very cute.  I like the way it looks like Keara and Caw are in the middle of doing something.

Jacket  Copy:

A girl’s love for her raven may put her life in jeopardy in this gripping tale.

In Keara’s world, every child has a darkbeast—a creature that takes dark emotions like anger, pride, and rebellion. Keara’s darkbeast is Caw, a raven, and Keara can be free of her worst feelings by transferring them to Caw. He is her constant companion, and they are magically bound to each other until Keara’s twelfth birthday. For on that day Keara must kill her darkbeast—that is the law. Refusing to kill a darkbeast is an offense to the gods, and such heresy is harshly punished by the feared Inquisitors.

But Keara cannot imagine life without Caw. And she finds herself drawn to the Travelers, actors who tour the country performing revels. Keara is fascinated by their hints of a grand life beyond her tiny village. As her birthday approaches, Keara readies herself to leave childhood—and Caw—behind forever. But when the time comes for the sacrifice, will she be able to kill the creature that is so close to her? And if she cannot, where will she turn, and how can she escape the Inquisitors?

Sequel?

Yes, the second book is out in….guess!

That’s right, September!  I honestly am not sure if I’m going to read the next book.  This is one book that I thought was just way better as a standalone.  I liked  the ambiguity about whether all would work out, or they would have to be fugitives forever.

Worth Reading?

cheering

It’s very sweet and brings up hard issues about tradition and peer pressure vs. conscience.

Notable Things:

snake

The whole concept of Darkbeasts is so interesting.  I also liked that most of them were “gross” creatures, like snakes, toads, spiders, etc., and I wonder if this was on purpose on the parts of the priests, to make them easier to kill?

pantheon

Mythology!  Keara’s world has its own mythology, with a 12-deity pantheon.

true-grit

Smart, tough young girl!  Keara is definitely twelve years old, but that doesn’t make her stupid or weak.

Elaboration:

Darkbeast is great, because it’s a thoroughly middle-grade novel, but it is not simplistic or too easy.  Older readers can enjoy it just as well as younger.  The worldbuilding is good–it feels like a real place–and Caw is endearing.  I really was a little disappointed to find out that it’s a series, just because I think it was so complete as a standalone, but I think I’ve now talked myself into reading the next volume.

Disclosure:

Borrowed, because I am poor and live in a small apartment.

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