Monday, August 20, 2018


Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. Today is the first Monday of school. My kids went back to school last week. For some reason they started on a Thursday. I know, it doesn't make sense, but it was kind of nice to get them readjusted from our summer schedule back to the school one. Hence why I've not been as active at posting on the blog the last two weeks. 

Today's reviews are for a middle grade series that was released a few years ago.  The Darkbeast series was Morgan Keyes debut, and that book does not disappoint. I've been meaning to read it for awhile, and I'm glad I finally did. While I found the stories to be intriguing, these covers are what really grabbed my attention. 

By: Morgan Keyes
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released on: August 28th, 2012
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 stars 
Source: book from publisher in exchange for my honest review

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 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?

Keyes's debut fantasy is rich in detail, lore, and introduces readers to a strong, courageous heroine who isn't to stand for what she believes is right. With animal companions (I loved Caw), magic and a bit of danger, this book easily sweeps you into intriguing world. This is a book that reminded me of the stories I loved reading when I was a kid. One where the story telling easily engages you, and the vivid world building whisks you away to the  world in which the story is set in. Targeted for upper elementary school & lower middle school readers, this is a book readers of all ages can enjoy. 

By: Morgan Keyes
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released on: September 24th, 2013
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 3 stars 
Source: Purchased book 

Betrayal threatens everything Keara dreams of in this fast-paced, exciting sequel to Darkbeast.

Keara, her friend Goran, and the wily old actor, Taggart, are fleeing for their lives. They have all spared their darkbeasts, the creatures that take on their darker deeds and emotions and lift their spirits. But their actions defy the law, which dictates that all citizens must kill their darkbeasts on their twelfth birthdays.

There are rumors of safe havens, groups of people called darkers who spared their darkbeasts and live outside the law. To find the darkers, the trio must embark on a dangerous journey—and evade the Inquisitors who are searching for them everywhere. In the middle of winter, freezing and exhausted, Keara and her companions are taken to an underground encampment that seems the answer to all their hopes. But are these darkers really what they appear to be?

Picking up shortly after the first book ends, readers are quickly thrust right back into Keara's dark and magic world. Like the first book in this series, Keyes does a beautiful job at creating a vivid world in which the story easily pulls you into. Diving deeper into the dangers that govern Keara's world, this sequel is one dangerous journey that tests Keara, Goran, and Taggart. Not quite as good as the debut book in this series, this sequel is one that will leave readers wishing there was one more book in this series. 
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~