Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by Razorbill, Penguin on September 26th 2017
Source: Provided by Publisher
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Packed with dark magic and thrilling action, Beasts Made of a Night is a gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy perfect for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi and Nnedi Okorafor.
In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.
Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.
When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.
Debut author Tochi Onyebuchi delivers an unforgettable fantasy adventure that powerfully explores the true meaning of justice and guilt.
“Every time it feels like itʼll last forever. The sorrow that rakes my skin. The guilt that grips my mind. The cold that pierces my bones and freezes my marrow. I want to cry out, but my throat is full of sin, and the moment stretches out like a piece of rubber being pulled and pulled until finally it snaps.”
Beasts Made of Night is imaginative and dark. This bookʼs world building is absolutely mind-blowing, and unlike anything Iʼve ever seen. Here, mages call forth sins from people in order to “purify” them, and in turn those sins manifest as deadly animals that the aki, the sin Eaters, have to kill. The book is also rich in Nigerian culture and politics, and the length is so short that itʼs easy to read this in one sitting.
We see the world through Tajʼs eyes, an aki who lives in the slums of the Kingdom. Aki are looked down upon because they bear the marks of all the inisisa (the sins) they Eat; theyʼre considered “impure”. Taj is sly and a bit cocky, and I really liked that about him. He cares about people, but also knows that to help others he has to help himself first. I liked that he didnʼt have all the answers, and he didnʼt carry an annoying arrogance that sometimes male protagonists have in YA.
The pacing left a bit to be desired, if only because the bookʼs length makes the story feel as if it ended in the best part (which, if Iʼm being honest, it totally did!). Nevertheless, while hitting all the right notes in developing an incredible fantasy, this book subtly yet effectively calls out things like colorism, and classism, which gave the story and extra depth and importance. I loved that the story took its time to create the world building and the magical system and whatnot, but I felt like the action cut off right when it was getting good. I just really hope thereʼs a sequel because I canʼt be left with that ending!
I also feel like there couldʼve been more development regarding the other characters of the book. I didnʼt really feel like I knew any of them, really, so in that aspect I felt a bit detached from the general story.
Overall, Beasts Made of Night is a unique Nigerian fantasy with never before seen world-building and satisfying action scenes thatʼll leave you wanting more after you turn the last page. It releases on October 31st, and honestly itʼs the perfect Halloween read.
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