I read Darkbeast about two weeks ago and I’m still not quite sure what to think of it. It’s one of those ambivilant stories that I enjoyed enough to get through without a problem, but not enough to be all OMGICANNOTWAITFORTHESEQUEL. In fact, until the last few pages, I had no idea it was even part of a series as it wasn’t listed anywhere in the book.
In 11.9 year old Keara’s world, every child is designated a “darkbeast” at birth. They grow up with this magical pet and the animal takes all of their negative emotions (anger, jealousy, sadness, etc…) and absolves them away. On their 12th birthday–apparently the cusp of adulthood–the child must take their darkbeast to the temple and slaughter it, thus marking their passage into adulthood and away from the bad behavior of childhood.
Thing is, unlike most children, Keara actually loves her darkbeast–a crow named Caw. He advises her and makes her feel better for all the wrongs she’s done. So when the crucial moment comes, Keara finds that she can’t kill her pet, even at risk of the village’s wrath and her family’s disappointment.
And there ya go! La dee da, adventure!
At first go, you can’t help but be SUPER reminded of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Material series, with the whole animal familiar thing. This book isn’t really like that at all, but some things still make me question Keyes’ logic. I mean, I get that it’s a middle grade novel, but the annoyingly childish cover and darkbeast names were overkill. (Caw for a crow, Murk for a toad, etc…)
Not to mention, when it comes to killing the darkbeast…why at age 12?
Are you really ready to become an awesome adult at that age? And, if you really think about it, wouldn’t all the adults be so much nicer and cooler and laid-back if their darkbeasts had actually done their jobs??
I don’t get why you would get rid of something that would make you a better person throughout your life. I understand that that was kind of Keara’s whole point, but still…
I’ll probably read the next in the series, but only because I’m really nosey–not because I can’t live without it…
3 dead snakes of 5