I snagged an ARC of the first book in a younger YA series called Darkbeast, by Morgan Keyes. It’s a solid addition to the roster of good YA out there; fast-paced with plenty of adventure.
From the back of the book:
In Keara’s world, every child has a darkbeast—a creature that takes dark deeds and emotions like anger, pride, and rebellion. Keara’s darkbeast is Caw, a raven. Caw is her constant companion, and they are magically bound to each other until Keara’s 12th 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.
And so Keyes puts her plot into motion. The book asks a lot of its young protagonist, and I could see it being taught in fifth or sixth grade language arts, much like the classic The Giver by Lois Lowry. Younger YA tends to get lost in the older stuff aimed at teens. This is a wonderful entry in the genre.
Now to find a young reader to give it a proper review, because really, these are the readers who matter. So if you know anyone who is 10-12 who would like to review Darkbeast for their blog or for Goodreads or any other review site, let me know in the comments. I’ll pick someone who would like to share their thoughts and send them the copy.