by Tochi Onyebuchi
Published on October 31, 2017 by Razorbill
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.
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As soon as I heard about Beasts Made of Night, I just knew I had to read it. And after reading Akata Witch which is both Nigerian-influenced as well as set within the country, I became even more intrigued by the culture within the realm of fiction. Unfortunately, while Akata Witch quickly became a favorite read of the year, Beasts Made of Night almost ended up on my DNF shelf.
A few things did work. First, I loved the magic system. It was unique (at least to me) and combined with the world, led me to believe that this book would be one of the most interesting fantasies of the year. Unfortunately the world was all I enjoyed.
The writing is quite dry. I wanted to fall into this magical world but struggled to read for more than a few minutes before flipping to another book. There were sections I skimmed to see if the story picked up but that wasn’t the case. At one point the author introduced a romance subplot that turned into insta-love and instantly turned me off.
Furthermore, the characters fell flat. I never connected with any of them nor felt invested in their fates. One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to books, especially fantasy, is that if I can’t connect to a single character I won’t enjoy the book. This has yet to be proven false and Beasts Made of Night is another one that had the potential to be great but the characters left it high and dry.
Overall, this book was simply a disappointment. I wanted it to be so great and there was a ton of potential there but the execution quite literally fell flat. I can’t say I would recommend this book unless you want to read more about the magic system which is probably my favorite part of the whole story.