Darkbeast by Morgan Keyes

Imagine a world where every child is assigned a darkbeast, a companion animal to which they are magically bound.  When children misbehave, they are ordered to “take it” [the failing] to their darkbeast.  The child and the darkbeast are tethered together with a leash, and the darkbeast magically absorbs that failing while absolving the child for their bad behavior.  Sounds like a pretty cool system…  Except for the part where the children, in order to become adults, have to murder their darkbeasts and offer them up in sacrifice to [the god] Bestius.

When it was Keara’s turn to kill her darkbeast, she couldn’t do it.  Caw wasn’t just some annoying animal to her; he was her closest companion and she loved him.  Rather than stay and face the harsh punishments dealt out by the Inquisitors who had been called to deal with her rebellion, though, Keara decided to run away from home.  In addition to appreciating the message of staying true to yourself regardless of society’s expectations, I also loved the rich details about the people and the mythology of this fantasy world.

Happy Reading!

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