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Beasts Made of Night

Review

Beasts Made of Night

BEATS MADE OF NIGHT by Tochi Onyebuchi is a Nigerian inspired fantasy that follows main character Taj in a city known as Kos. Taj belongs to a group of people known as aki, young boys and girls who have the task of eating the sins of the people of Kos. These aki are known from their white pupils that turn this color at a young age. Mages are able to coax the sins out of people into creatures known as sin-beasts. The aki then have to kill the beasts and then are marked with tattoos of the sin-beasts on their bodies. The reason why all aki are young is because the older an aki gets and more the sin-beasts an aki has killed, the more the guilt from the sin preys on the aki’s brain and they go mad from eating so many sins. When Taj starts to eats sins of the royal family, he discovers the corruption within the royal family and the mages and finds himself in a position of power where he could save the city of Kos and its people.

"For a debut novel, BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT is a page turning fantasy and Onyebuchi does a great job weaving folklore and magic together into an epic fantasy novel."

The whole concept of sins, sin-beasts and aki was so interesting and easy to follow. Tochi Onyebuchi explains the complex world that Taj is apart of in such a way that it never felt like an information dump. The world-building was so easy to follow and was one of the most interesting parts of the book. All of the background knowledge explained to the reader was crafted in a way that made me feel engaged with the story. The setting of Kos was also intricately weaved as Taj explored the city and readers were able to learn about all of the players and parts of the city. From the first chapter I was hooked as the young aki trained against each other. It would have been nice to have spent more time with the younger aki and how they were all bonded together with this common talent, but I understand that the story was meant to focus more on Taj, who is more of an outsider as his sin spots (tattoos) never fade unlike other aki. In fact, these never-fading sin spots mark Taj as different from other aki, as the reader later sees in the book.

While all of the characters are very unique, the main driver of the book is the world itself. The characters and plot seemed to lack slightly at times. While I did like all of the characters, I did not feel that connected to them and as such, the various plot twists did not impact me as emotionally as they could have. For me, the setting and world-building was my favorite part. I also loved the Nigerian influences throughout the book, as it isn’t every day you read a YA novel with Nigerian culture infused throughout.

If you love fantasies and value world-building more than anything, then this book is for you! Despite not feeling emotionally connected to the characters and plot, I felt that I still really enjoyed this book because of the beautiful world of aki and sins. The Nigerian influences are clearly evident throughout the city of Kos in the food and the bustling traffic of the streets. For a debut novel, BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT is a page turning fantasy and Onyebuchi does a great job weaving folklore and magic together into an epic fantasy novel. 

Reviewed by Ilona Kaydanov on September 24, 2018

Beasts Made of Night
by Tochi Onyebuchi