Darkbeast Rebellion, by Morgan Keyes

Darkbeast Rebellion [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] is the second book in Morgan Keyes‘ Darkbeast trilogy. (I reviewed the first book last December.)

In a world where children are bound to magical darkbeasts, intelligent companion animals who are supposed to take their children’s sins and faults into themselves, Keara has defied tradition by refusing to ritually kill her darkbeast Caw. This makes her an outcast and a target for the Inquisitors.

We pick up where book one left off, with Keara, Goran, and Taggart on the run with their darkbeasts, searching for the darker community — others who have chosen to spare their darkbeasts and live in exile. But what they find is not what Keara had expected. She feels out of place and … empty. Day-to-day life in hiding isn’t what she had imagined it would be.

I like old Taggart’s response to Keara’s complaints about boredom and routine:

“Most of life is routine. Routine is what keeps us fed, keeps us safe. Keeps us ready for those few, heart-stopping moments when we must fight for what we believe.”

Let’s just say that as I approach my 13th year working for state government to support my family and my writing, that line resonated.

Without spoiling too much, Keara soon finds herself wishing for boredom. We get a story of betrayal and political intrigue and power struggles and relationship drama and more.

It’s a fun and enjoyable read. As with book one, I liked the characters — particularly Caw, with his unapologetic greed for treats and his unwavering parental love for Keara. It was nice to see more of the politics of the world, and the conflict between the Princeps and the Inquisitor Ducis.

I think the title left me expecting more actual rebellion. There’s a lot of interpersonal conflict and growth, and a fair amount of setup for book three, but don’t pick up the book looking for epic battles between darkers and Inquisitors, with armies of ravens and rats and snakes and spiders swarming over enemy soldiers. Which was disappointing, because I kind of wanted to see that. But given where we end things in this book, I imagine the larger scale conflicts are coming soon.

You’ll want to read Darkbeast first, but if you enjoyed that one, you should pick up the sequel and join me in impatiently waiting for Keyes to finish the third book in the trilogy.