Erratum: "for the entire three days that the titheman ad stayed on the green" 'Had stayed' was required there.
Previously published as Darkbeast, this novel evidently failed its first time out, and was renamed and re-released for a second try. For me it failed that time, too. There were several problems with it. The first was that it was worst-person voice, which I am actively now trying to avoid in novels having pro-actively weeded out my entire aging print book collection of first person voice titles and ditched them unread. I'm slowly doing the same with my larger ebook collection. This one didn't start out too badly, but it soon embarked upon road after road most traveled, and it was boring. The cliff-hanger ending was expected and not appreciated, and I have zero intention of reading any more of this series.
The novel is aimed at a younger audience than the one I (don't!) represent, so take my commentary as you will, but the story had issues. The author set up the girl as having no female friends. Even her sisters hated her, and the only female she meets turns out to be a traitor to her. Her only savior is of course the inevitable boy, because all women are useless unless they have some sort of male validation according to this kind of author. Why so many female authors seem so hell-bent upon denying female friendships to their characters is beyond me.
In this medieval world - where they have female actors strangely enough - every child grows up with a 'darkbeast', which is an animal (bird, amphibian, or reptile, it would seem) which can talk and which plays the role of Jesus, taking away their sins. They're supposed to unload their negative thoughts and emotions on the beast, and at the age of twelve, are required to visit the 'godhouse' and kill the animal, thereby freeing themselves of childhood sins so they can enter adulthood renewed. Keara cannot kill her darkbeast - her only friend - and is forced to flee her community, sought by inquisitors. She runs away and joins the circus - well, a company of traveling players at least, which earns a living by visiting villages and performs plays tied to one or other of the twelve gods
The story was a fast read and I followed it all the way, believe it or not, but by the end I was disappointed and resented the time I had blown reading this when I could have been doing something much more rewarding. This is why I typically do not even try to read a book to the end when it's doing little or nothing for me. With this one I kept hoping it would really have something to offer, but it never did, and I cannot commend it at all. It was full of trope and took forever to really have anything happen despite it being a relatively short read. It was as warty as one of the darkbeast toads - which aren't really warty, but this observation isn't meant to be any more realistic than was this novel, which turbned out to be a dark beast that definitely ought to have been slain.