By Morgan Keyes
Margaret K. McElderry Books, Hardcover, 9781442442054, 280pp.
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
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?
"Challenges and adventures abound, but Keara is strong-willed and feisty. . . . Tightly woven and carefully constructed fantasy."--Kirkus Reviews
"It's a well-wrought tale that finds that difficult balance between accessibility and depth; Keyes talks to young readers without talking down."--Publishers Weekly
“The book’s unusual premise is sure to draw readers, and the intriguing, medieval-esque world with just a touch of magic will both entrance fans of fantasy and satisfy those who prefer their stories more grounded in reality….a thoughtful, magical tale with a message that kids on the cusp of adulthood will find comforting.”