Darkbeast Rebellion

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
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Fantasy sequel's exciting adventures fine for preteens.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Darkbeast Rebellion is a fantasy, but kids will pick up occasional bits of knowledge, including a technique for memorizing long sequences and details of daily life in a world without technology -- for example, using plants and herbs for medicine. There's also some exploration of how people can govern themselves fairly.

Positive Messages

The story emphasizes that along with freedom to govern yourself comes responsibility for your own actions and your own fate, as well as obligations to others. Another lesson: Getting along with others in a group requires a lot of patience and cooperation.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Twelve-year-old Keara has matured a bit since Darkbeast. She struggles with impatience and rebelliousness, but she's willing to work hard to benefit the group. Adults remain distant and mysterious, with father-figure Taggart too weak to be much help through most of the story. The leader of the Darker community is a model of fair leadership but offers no emotional connection. Dillon, who turns 12 near the end, is curious about academic subjects and learns to think for himself.


There's brief discussion of some weapons and their uses. An adult character is whipped, but it's not described in detail. Less-than-perfect animals from a breeding program, described as "crushed and broken," are killed. Captors tie their prisoners up. Keara suffers some injuries and scary experiences: There's a brief description of the pain when her hands are whipped; she feels her windpipe being crushed when she's captured; and she wakes to a sensation of someone striking her belly, but it turns out that she's being carried over someone's shoulder in a rescue attempt, not beaten.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult characters drink cider at a celebration, but there's no mention of alcoholic effect. Characters imagine a party that includes cider and ale.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Darkbeast Rebellion, which picks up right where Darkbeast left off, is a fast-paced, exciting fantasy sequel with little worrisome content. Less prominent than in Darkbeast, the ritual slaying of companion animals still figures in the story. There's one mention of ale at an imagined celebration. Violence remains infrequent and mild -- both Keara and an adult character suffer whippings, but there's no detailed description.

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What's the story?

Picking up where Darkbeast left off, Morgan Keys' DARKBEAST REBELLION finds heroine Keara, 12, on the run, hoping to hide out with a shadowy group called the Darkers. Soon, she has to learn whether the people she finds are who they seem to be, all the while trying to earn a place in the group. Along the way, the Inquisitors capture and imprison her. Unexpected hope comes from the kingdom's heir apparent, but can Keara trust him?

Is it any good?

DARKBEAST REBELLION seamlessly picks up Darkbeast heroine Keara's adventures in Morgan Keyes' richly imagined, fully realized world, with equally compelling new characters and locations. The plot moves at a good pace, keeping up tension and suspense throughout, and the story comes to a satisfying resolution.

Keara is more mature thanks to her experiences, but it's still easy for kids to relate as she struggles to know who her friends really are and how she fits into her world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why so many books have sequels. Could Keara's story have been told in one book? How might it have been different if it were?

  • Do you think the Darkers' practice of voting on important issues and following the will of the majority is a fair way to make community decisions? Do you know of societies that handle this differently?

  • Did you ever have a complete change in the way you felt about someone or something (as happens with one of the characters here)? What made you see things differently?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love magic and fantasy

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