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Darkbeast (Darkbeast #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  445 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 290 pages
Published (first published August 28th 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,665)
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Tamora Pierce
Sep 04, 2013 Tamora Pierce rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-ya-yr
You know this story--here's a world in which everyone has their proper role to play, from the jobs they take up in life, to the animal companions that accompany them everywhere. But trust me, you don't know this world. You don't know it at all. And that's all I will tell you--you're going to have to read this book for yourself. I have been waiting more than a year for the sequel, and hopefully it will show up in the mail before I chew my nails off any more.


(that was supposed to be a th
Jubilation Lee
Y’all, before I start talking about how much I really super enjoyed Darkbeast, everyone should take a moment to enjoy the oh-so-pretty cover.



Eye-shimmer moment over.

So! I really super enjoyed Darkbeast.

I’d picked it up initially because of the aforementioned cover of beauty, and taken it home because I thought the plot might have been stealing the daemon concept from His Dark Materials and I wanted the opportunity to write a scathing review.

No such opportunity has presen
Maria Snyder
Jul 09, 2012 Maria Snyder rated it it was amazing
A great read for young teens. Despite the title this is not a horror story - the cover art shows it better, but for some reason Goodreads hasn't updated the cover art. The Darkbeast is a very unique fantasy element and is a wonderful concept (I wish I had one). This book comes out at the end of August (I received an ARC from the author ;) Watch my blog in mid-August for an interview with Morgan about this book and for a chance to win a signed copy.
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

In Keara's world, every newborn child is bound to a darkbeast, a magical animal that will be the child's constant companion, and with which its bound child can communicate through thought and speech. Over the years as a child grows, it will make offerings of dark emotions to its darkbeast, such as hate, fear, jealousy, or anger. In turn, the darkbeast absolves and teaches the child the error of its ways. This process of offering and absolution continues u
Kay Cochran
Jul 05, 2015 Kay Cochran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This little part one book is a great sampling of encouraging young adult fiction. The concept of having a companion who accepts you through your faults--and holds them in aid of your success--is something akin to the little voice of your self-conscious. Beyond concept, the execution of this writing is equally as well-tended: The details of both environment and characters hold fast in times of confusion, aiding to this dramatic but wonderfully unexpected plot mapping.

This book is of a darker cas
May 18, 2015 A rated it did not like it
While the story itself was well-done, I found myself disturbed with the underlying messages this book is teaching the children reading it.

First off, you're an adult by the time you're twelve, or at least the girl in the story is, so you should be too. This view is teaching children that they don't need to respect their parents, or need their advice, council, or protection. In the story, it made it ok that Keara was disobedient to her mother. Afterall, she was almost an adult...

Second, the church
Sep 06, 2012 Charlotte rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Darkbeast, by Morgan Keyes (Margaret K. McElderry Books, middle grade, August 28, 2012), is a book that you can judge by its lovely cover. At least, I myself was completely taken with it--the strong stance of the girl, the raven poised to fly, the hint of danger in the falling feathers....And I bet that any ten or eleven year old (or so) girl who's a fantasy reader will feel the same way.* Happily, the story inside lives up to its cover beautifully!

Keara has lived with her raven Caw since she wa
Melissa Posten
Aug 31, 2012 Melissa Posten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books-read
In the grand tradition of Tamora Pierce, Lloyd Alexander and Susan Cooper (as well as the contemporary tradition of PLAIN KATE, UP AND DOWN THE SCRATCHY MOUNTAINS, and Shannon Hale) comes DARKBEAST. Keara lives in a world where babies are bound to a darkbeast, an animal companion whose purpose is to absorb all of Keara's darker emotions so that she can grow into adulthood as a better person. However, on the day she turns twelve, Keara is supposed to kill her darkbeast - a crow named Caw - and co ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Jim added it
Darkbeast began as a short story in the anthology Fantastic Companions, edited by Julie Czerneda. Which now has me thinking how cool it would be to try to do the same thing with my own story from that anthology… But that’s completely off topic, sorry. I blame this cold, which has turned my brain into overripe cauliflower today.

In Keyes’ story, the companions in question are darkbeasts, creatures given to each newborn by the gods to take the children’s negative feelings and impulses into themselv
Jul 22, 2012 Simon rated it it was amazing
A change of pace and setting from my usual reading material, but that just made it even more refreshing and enjoyable.

Keara is a headstrong girl, and like all children in her world she's bonded to an animal soon after birth. During childhood the animal absorbs all those excesses kids are prone to, from temper fits to disobedience and everything in between.

(Can I just say that if Darkbeasts could also induce kids to clean up their rooms, I'd put an order in for two right now.)

But onwards. Keara's
What a joy it is to find an idea that is truly original! Ms. Keyes brings us into a theocractic world, one filled with people doing worship to any of 12 different gods, each with its own signature animal. The notion of children likewise receiving a beast during infancy—not a familiar, nothing so easily definable as that—is welcome in its freshness. She also gives us a girl protagonist, the rebellious Keara, who defies tradition out of love and, in true heroic fashion, sets out from familiar past ...more
Leila B
Sep 20, 2014 Leila B rated it really liked it
OK, folks, this one doesn't even get to Young Adult, we're in the kids section!

With that in mind, what a wonderful coming of age book.

Synopsis: children are magically bonded with an animal as babies, and that animal, their darkbeast, takes away their sins, after they've talked to it about them. When they turn twelve, their passage into adulthood is marked by their slaying of their darkbeast. Keare, however, cannot bring herself to slay Caw....

The world building is sketchy -see above, children's
Tessa Joy
Sep 29, 2015 Tessa Joy rated it really liked it
Like all the children in Keara’s world, she was blessed with an animal companion or darkbeast at her birth. The darkbeast has a magical connection to take upon themselves the faults and flaws of their human child. At the age of twelve, children sacrifice their darkbeasts to show they have left childhood and entered adulthood. But when Keara turns twelve, she cannot kill her darkbeast, Caw. Her failure causes her family to shun her and sets the religious order of the Inquisitors after her.

Nov 26, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it
Suspenseful adventure with a thought-provoking ethical dilemma. In Keara's world, people are bonded to a darkbeast shortly after birth; the beast takes away their negative feelings and bad thoughts as they grow up so that they can grow into good citizens, until the coming-of-age rite when twelve-year-olds must slay their darkbeasts to become adults. But while most children dislike their darkbeasts, Keara's darkbeast, Caw, is her friend and confidant. Will she be able to kill Caw when the time co ...more
Nov 28, 2015 Hannah rated it it was amazing
In Darkbeast, the story is different from the norm. Sometimes a kid has a need to rebel, especially in Keara's situation. It's no ordinary book. The cool thing is that every child gets a darkbeast at birth. It takes in emotions like anger, rebellion, and pride. We don't keep animals like that everyday, which makes this book special. Now on Keara's twelfth birthday, she has to kill her darkbeast, this is by law and will be punished if she refuses. Caw, her darkbeast has been with her since birth. ...more
Feb 04, 2014 Gapeach rated it really liked it
1st in a series. I found this book because I was searching for books within my daughter's reading level. It sounded interesting to me, as well as meeting criteria for my daughter's A.R. goal.

I loved it! I couldn't put it down and finished it in 2 days. It has a very intriguing world. Babies are bound mentally to their darkbeast at 12 days old. Hereafter the child is supposed to take all his/her bad behaviors to their beast, which absolves the behavior from the child. On the child's birthday they
Carrie at Paper Bindings
I don't normally read Middle Grade Novels, I have a hard time sometimes connecting with that young of an individual without letting my adult mind take over. And while their were a few moments where I couldn't decide it if was her age or my age coloring her actions, but overall the book was pretty cute.

I've always liked the idea of a "soul animal." It's why I picked up this book in the first place. The fact that all the children use them to take away their faults and then kill them when they tur
Reviewed at:

*In Darkbeast, we meet Keara, a young girl who has been bound to Caw, her raven darkbeast, since she was 12 days old; however, on her 12th birthday, it is her duty to slay Caw and to welcome adulthood. Keara, though, does not know if she can live without Caw and makes a decision that changes her life.

In the world of high fantasy, very rarely is there a middle grade novel that fits the definition, but Darkbeast is just that. Morgan Keyes has b
Shanshad Whelan
Jan 08, 2013 Shanshad Whelan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, childrens, mg
I'm rather surprised this one didn't come across my desk last year--but very glad to discover it now. This is a delightful fantasy tale where one girl's love of her darkbeast causes her to challenge to order of her world. Our young protagonist lives in a world where children are bound to a darkbeast when they are named, and for twelve years, they are to give to their darkbeast all their failings and faults. But in their twelfth year they must kill their darkbeasts in order to become adults. But ...more
Ms. Yingling
Keara's pivotal birthday is upon her-- she will turn 12, making her an adult in her medievalish world, and she will need to kill Caw, her darkbeast. All children have companions that are bonded to them at birth and to whom they take all of their rebellion and bad qualities. Most children hate their darkbeasts, who tend to be rats, snakes, and toads, but Keara has always loved Caw, a crow, and finally decides that instead of killing him, they will run off together with the Travelers, roving actor ...more
Deborah Blake
Aug 29, 2012 Deborah Blake rated it it was amazing
I grew up reading classic fantasy stories by such authors as Anne McCaffery, Andre Norton, Lloyd Alexander, and of course, Tolkien. I loved books that had strong female protagonists I could identify with, intriguing new worlds for me to get lost in, and an adventure I wanted to follow until the end (or beyond).

Author Morgan Keyes gives us all of those in her debut novel, Darkbeast. Keara is a believable, feisty, and courageous heroine, whose dedication to her companion Caw makes me root for her
Nov 07, 2013 Samantha rated it liked it
In Keara’s world, each infant is assigned a darkbeast, a creature that takes away all the bad emotions and behaviors normal children have like jealous, hatred, disobedience, and stubbornness. These darkbeasts may be bats, rats, spiders, lizards, snakes, or other hard to love creatures. The creatures provide their assigned child with comfort, advice, support, and freedom from their bad choices, thoughts, and actions. Then, when the child enters adulthood at the age of twelve, he or she must enter ...more
Jul 19, 2012 Brandi rated it liked it
Darkbeast is the first book in a new fantasy series by Morgan Keyes. It takes place is a medieval type land ruled by a theocracy. Twelve gods are worshipped, each accountable for various phenomena, like the Olympians in Greek mythology. Every infant is magically bound to an animal known as a darkbeast. From infancy until their 12th birthday, the child will give all of their negative emotions and habits, like lying and disrespect, to their darkbeast. On a child’s 12th birthday a coming of age ce ...more
May 16, 2013 Kris rated it really liked it
Recommended for gr. 6-9. While the protagonist/narrator is age 12, the story will appeal to older readers. Keara, like all of the children in her world, is bound to a darkbeast – an animal which takes on their dark thoughts and acts, freeing the child from negativity. By tradition, each child sacrifices his/her darkbeast on his/her twelfth nameday and becomes an adult. However, Keara, unlike most children, loves her darkbeast, a raven named Caw, and refuses to perform the sacrifice. In her stric ...more
Cindy Hudson
Oct 02, 2012 Cindy Hudson rated it really liked it
Darkbeast by Morgan Keyes is a tale of a magical place where children are bonded to animals that have the power to take away their dark thoughts—Darkbeasts. This sort of confession helps them release their troubles and feel lighter. Most children don’t like their Darkbeasts, but Keara has always felt a special bond with Caw, a crow who was bonded to her when she was an infant.

When children turn twelve, they are expected to slay their Darkbeasts and take their place among the adults in their soci
Nov 23, 2013 SBC rated it liked it
I picked this up because the idea of children having darkbeasts was so intriguingly like the daemons in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. But in Keyes's world children's darkbeasts are always one shape. Real animals bonded to the children by priestly magic shortly after birth, they exist as 'sin-eaters': children take their behavioural and emotional shortcomings to their darkbeasts, who absolve them of their sins. And on their twelfth birthday, in order to become an adult, children kill thei ...more
John Young
Aug 01, 2013 John Young rated it liked it
The premise of this book is what hooked me. Morgan Keyes creates a world in her novel, Darkbeast, in which all young people are literally assigned dark beasts. They could be frogs, snakes, rats, or as in the case of Keara, a raven. This creature is presented to them when they are twelve days old and it is intended to magically remove all their evil deeds and emotions like anger, pride, and jealousy. Keara names her darkbeast Caw, and when her twelfth birthday arrives she is faced with a problem. ...more
Leslie Preddy
Oct 11, 2012 Leslie Preddy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: grades 4-6
Each child in Keara’s land is connected to an animal with which the child can communicate. Through this bond, the creature is like a conscience and alleviates the child’s anger, guilt and sins. Keara’s beast is a raven who counsels her when she rebels against her mother and when she has the typical tween angst and resentment against authority of adults. Keara’s greatest problem is that on a child’s twelfth birthday, she becomes a woman and is expected to sacrifice her ‘darkbeast’ on an alter dur ...more
The idea of a world where every person is bound to a spiritual animal isn’t new, and makes most of us think immediately of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy. However, Megan King in her new book Darkbeast gives us another unique take on the concept.

In this world, these spirit animals are known as darkbeasts. Every child is bound to one at birth, and as they grow up, give them all of their failings - their fears, rebellions, angers, jealousies and despairs. Darkbeasts become embodiments
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Morgan Keyes grew up in California, Texas, Georgia, and Minnesota, accompanied by parents, a brother, a dog, and a cat. Also, there were books. Lots and lots of books.

Morgan started to keep a journal for a second-grade English class and never really stopped. Journal entries turned into short stories, and short stories turned into novels. In between, there were an awful lot of haikus and cinquains.
More about Morgan Keyes...

Other Books in the Series

Darkbeast (2 books)
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