Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Beasts Made of Night

Tochi Onyebuchi

Packed with dark magic and thrilling action, Beasts Made of Night is a gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy perfect for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi and Nnedi Okorafor.

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"...The beginning of a great saga..." —NPR.org

"This compelling Nigerian-influenced fantasy has a wonderfully unique premise and lush, brilliant worldbuilding that will consume you until the last page."—Buzzfeed

"...Unforgettable in its darkness, inequality, and magic." —VOYA, Starred Review

"...A paean to an emerging black legend."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review 

In book one of the Beasts Made of Night series, seventeen-year-old Taj sets off on an epic journey.
 
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 Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family. 

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a member of the royal family, 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 series opener that powerfully explores the true meaning of justice and guilt. Packed with dark magic and thrilling action, Beasts Made of Night is a gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy perfect for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi and Nnedi Okorafor.

iBooks Most Anticipated YA Books of the Fall 
io9’s All the Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Keep On Your Radar This Fall
BuzzFeed’s 22 YA Novels You’ll Want To Read From Cover To Cover This Fall
A 2017 BookExpo Buzz Book
A Junior Library Guild Selection 


Advance Galley Reviews

DNF - 45%. I'm joining the many people who couldn't finish this book, despite trying very hard to love it. Normally, I would give up on a book this hard to get into after a couple of chapters but I persevered because I was so in love with the premise (Nigerian fantasy, sin-eaters, etc.) that I struggled to accept it wasn't working out. I can tell already that many won't finish Beasts Made of Night. It is extremely slow and dense and lacks a strong plot line, drama, humour or something to make it compelling. The right kind of reader for this book might call it words like "rich" and "detailed" but I personally think that reader is rare. A quick glance at the advance reviews reveals many struggled as much as I did. So disappointed that I couldn't get into this.

The author creates a beautiful world with amazing creatures. It had wonderful potential to be a great book, however it was a long book. A long book is god when its unputdownable but this was really slow and hard to get through.

I was excited for this one but couldn't get into it. I hope to pick it up at a later time.

Taj is a gifted sin eater or aki. He's living in Kos where mages are powerful. Aki have to slayer the beasts that arise when someone has committed a sin and a mage is helping this person to get rid of it, but this costs them dearly. After the beast has been conquered a tattoo appears on the sin eater's skin. Usually the tattoos disappear again after time, but Taj is covered in them. He's seventeen years old and has seen more than most others of his age. Taj tries to send his family as much money as possible and misses them dearly. He can't go home because of what he does for a living. When Taj helps the royal family to get rid of a particularly nasty sin it turns his whole world upside down. Gone is the hard life shared with other aki making little money and he's now part of a world he'll never feel at home in. However, this is just the beginning. He's in the middle of something, a dark conspiracy he doesn't know the details of. Taj needs to find a way to deal with this problem for the safety of the people he loves and his own wellbeing. Will he succeed? Beasts Made of Night is a beautiful story filled with magic, sins and secrets. These are exactly the kind of subjects I like. Taj is brave and strong and he might be the best sin eater of his generation, but he's also powerless when it comes to those who rule his city. He has to eat sins, even though it harms him. It costs a lot of aki their sanity, but Taj is determined to keep going. I loved that strength in his character. He easily cares and his heart is kind and pure, which makes it difficult to be burdened with so many sins. That's a fantastic contradiction and a great topic for a story. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if Taj would be able to keep himself sane or not. Tochi Onyebuchi has a gorgeous way with words. I liked the way he slowly unfolds his story, it kept me interested from beginning to end. Beasts Made of Night is fantasy with Nigerian influences, which is original and surprising and it intrigued me straight away. The story is a fabulous adventure, filled with scary beasts, darkness and immorality, versus pureness and kindheartedness. I loved the combination of the two and really enjoyed reading this very special story.

***3.75 STARS*** Full review can also be seen on Lair Of Books: https://lairofbooksblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/30/review-beasts-made-of-night-by-tochi-onyebuchi/ Beasts Made of Night is a rich new YA Fantasy centered around Taj and his group of Aki friends who all have one thing in common…they are outcasts of the same society that needs them to ward off evil. The Aki are sought out by Mages to eat the sins of others for which they are in turn paid. Once a Aki eats a sin beast, a tattoo appears on their skin. The severity of the sin determines the size of the animal. With time, the tattoos fade from the Aki’s skin however, this is not the case with Taj. A powerful Aki, Taj is the Crown’s personal sin-eater often called to the castle to eat the sins of royalty. Taj’s tattoos do not fade, his skin is covered with them & the sins of others often invade his mind. For the Aki, eating souls is how they earn their living & for Taj it’s how he provides for the family he was forced to leave behind. The Aki are feared by the same people they take on the burden of eating sins for. Their skin covered in tattoos are a reflection of the amount of sins they’ve eaten & also the very same reason for which they’ve been ostracized. The world Onyebuchi has created in Beasts Made of Night is rich with Nigerian-inspired influences. Details of life in the city of Kos such as the singing & dancing, food, and traditions that commemorate rites of passage for young women excel in transporting the reader into the world of the Aki. The magic system is also well fleshed out, there’s a fee system in place which determines how much a Aki will be paid for eating a sin. Mages also exist in this world & are responsible for seeking out the Aki’s services. The Mages also need to be present for the sin-eating since they utilize their magic to call forth the beast living inside of the “inflicted” human which the Aki ingests. We meet mages in training along the way as well as other groups of characters that further develop this world. There were a few things I would’ve liked to get more of with regards to character development. Although Taj does live with other Aki who are his close friends, these characters were not deeply fleshed out. There is also the princess who is presented as a love interest at the very end which felt rushed & can definitely be seen as “insta-love.” There is another character in the book that I much preferred as a love interest which is a first for me since I typically ship whoever the author intended ?? The overall plot also could’ve used more development along the way & I do believe my enjoyment with regards to the world building compensated for some of the plot holes. Pacing typically isn’t a issue with me since I enjoy slower paced reads every now & again however, the last few chapters did feel rushed & open ended. If Onyebuchi were to write a sequel, would I read it? Absolutely! I really enjoyed this new fantasy & the unique magic it brought to the page and will be keeping an eye out for more from this author. When thinking of my rating for this book I took my overall enjoyment of this story into account. I’m a lover of world building, diverse reads, and complex magic systems which all can be found in Beasts Made of Night. I haven’t seen mention of a sequel even though the plot truly piques in the last chapter leaving readers wondering what’s next?!?! This is one story I’d say has the potential for growth and hope to see the author delve deeper into the characters he’s created in this lush world. HUGE thanks to Razorbill, Penguins First To Read, and Tochi Onyebuchi for the eGalley copy of Beasts Made Of Night

Onyebuchi creates a brilliant and magical world. What I am disappointed in is that it is a dense read and moved slowly. A Nigerian-inspired fairytale was all but guaranteed to be fantastic, but the pacing ruined the experience.

Tochi Onyebuchi created an amazing world in Beasts Made of Night. I was excited to read about this intriguing place of the aki. It appeared to be an interesting approach to the mythology of sin-eaters. While the world building was exquisite, the book fell short. While reading it held your attention, but it was all too easy to walk away from when you reached a stopping point. There were also pacing issues. It seemed the story unfolded too fast, but at the same time too slow. I really wanted to be swept away by Onyebuchi’s writing, but it didn’t happen. Thank you to Penguin’s First to Read program for allowing me to experience this book.

Beasts Made of Night is another one of the books I was looking forward to. This was a highly entertaining book. It had an interesting system of magic with clear consequences and was set against the gritty and dangerous setting of Kos. I'm not going to lie, I was a total fan of this one. It did move at a slower pace, but some of the best young adult/fantasy novels I've read so far this year, have been like that—i.e. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. In the case of Beasts Made of Night, this was due in part to the character arcs. The characters go through a lot of learning and training, and some parts of the book felt very day-to-day with exception of sin-eating. The ability of the aki was probably my favorite part of Beasts Made of Night, aside from the sin-beasts. Sin is at the heart of the story, and it was an interesting choice to take something—a decision that a person makes or an act that a person commits—and turn it into something that is alive enough to do harm. Not just that, but to make others carry that guilt like it was their own. Beasts Made of Night is now one of my favorite books of 2017. There’s nothing about a sequel on the Goodreads page yet. I hope there will be, because this book felt more like a beginning with such a promising story and set of characters. Needless to say, I look forward to reading Onyebuchi’s next book. This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (publisher) for this review.

If there is one way to guarantee I'll read your book, just mention sin eaters, and I'm in. The concept of people existing for the sole purpose of consuming the sins from another is just so fascinating to me. So, when I picked up Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi, I already went in with high expectations and was not disappointed! Though, I did need to step back away from it for a moment. The concept is a fantastic one, and not all that far-fetched considering the real life medieval use of indulgences. In the city of Kos, there exists a specific subset of people that have the ability to swallow sins. Each sin they swallow, they take into themselves, the feelings of shame, madness, revulsion. They are permanently marked with these sins. As such, you can only imagine how the sin-eaters are treated. Not with reverence, but disgust over the various marks of defect on their skins. The fact that they "seemingly" have no problem with taking another's sins. Little do they care that the sin-eaters are forced to do so by a corrupt system that relies on them entirely. None moreso than the wealthy and the royals (I have so much I want to say about this book but with regards to the royals, I'll simply say I love how it does not follow typical YA convention -- tweet me if you want to discuss!). There is a smidge of romance, which really leads to the amazing build-up at the end! And boy, that ending was just fantastic! I cannot wait for the follow-up. It was a great payoff to everything that Onyebuchi steadily built and weaved through from the start. Now, all that said, why did I mention earlier that I needed to step back away from it for a moment? Easy peasy. I was reading and kept wondering WHY I wasn't as into it as I should have been. It had all the elements and the writing was strong. So, why? I stepped away and thought about what I was having trouble with. That's when it hit me -- the culture/language, it wasn't something I was used to. Most YA fantasy tends to come to us from a very European backdrop. We have a few that stray (The Bone Witch is one), but they tend not to really use the words. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova does, but I felt comfortable with that because I am latinx. So, after realizing that was what was giving me difficulty, I looked at myself and said get over it. If I can read Tolkien and all the gobbledegook languages he made up and not have a problem with it, this should be no different. I picked it back up, and it was night and day. Everything was so much easier. I got sucked it and loved every second of it. All it took was me identifying what was blocking me, to get my head in gear, unblock, and fall into an amazing story! Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi is an amazing YA novel that finally breaks away from traditional European fantasy. It creates its own wonderful mythos and is so extremely rich in detail, I could taste the foods, smell the smells, and believe in the culture. I really cannot convey how much I want everyone to read this, and if you think you don't 'get' it, think about why, and go again.

I really wanted to love this book so much but I just didn't. I was so intrigued by the plot but I feel that the writing style just did not do it justice. The story did not flow and I found myself confused by the mythology aspect. I wasn't enveloped in the story enough to try and understand it. I couldn't connect with the main character. I felt like there was a lack in character development. Then on top of it all there was this weird love interest with someone he didn't even know. I don't know....unfortunately this book was just not for me.

I dropped this book about sixty percent in. There are a lot of great things about this book, but they weren't enough to override the fact that I just wasn't invested. I absolutely loved the world-building. Most of the time in YA fantasy the setting is often analogous to some sort of Western historical period. It was refreshing to read a novel like this that is so clearly not based on Western culture. The Nigerian elements to Kos make Kos a unique and inviting setting. Likewise the diverse characters made me want to keep reading. I love how Taj is proud of his hair and constantly focuses on how to keep it looking good. I love the descriptions of the food and the jewels that everyone on Kos wear. However, diverse setting and characters wasn't enough to keep me reading. While the writing isn't bad, sometimes it felt choppy, like the transitions between events weren't smooth enough. Also, while I liked Taj and I sympathized with his struggles, I couldn't get behind his motivations. While he's training a group of young, new sin-eaters that depend on him for survival his main focus is wondering how the princess he loves is in trouble. This bothered me because a) I never truly felt their connection and so their romance makes absolutely no sense to me and b) the princess is pale skinned and in a position of privilege so she doesn't seem like she needs saving as much as the Sin-Eaters that he's supposed to be training do. I wanted this to be the story of a young leader seeing the injustice against his people and leading them out of slavery, but this story seemed to be heading in the direction of a young man prioritizing a damsel in distress over his people just because he fancied himself in love. I didn't keep reading.

I'm going to have to set this one aside. The writing style is very bloated and heavy, and I'm currently in the mood for something with a better flow. For now it's a DNF, but I may return to this if the interest strikes again.

Unfortunately, this book did not work for me. As much as I loved the idea of a Nigerian-inspired fantasy, the writing was just too dense and slow moving for me.

I'm finally giving up at page 160. (Which is rare - I never give up on books.) I really liked the premise for this book - eating sin and the resulting tattoos. I also liked that this was a Nigerian-influenced fantasy rather than the standard Western European knights and horses and all that kind of stuff. But, the story was just so slow. What happened in 160 pages easily could have filled an expository two chapters. I also didn't really like how women were written in the novel. They're very one-dimensional (the beautiful princess, the nerdy mage, the overly stiff guard). Having no nuance to the characters made it extra boring. I'd like to see more stories in this vein, but I wish this particular book had been more developed. This feels like an early draft or concept of what could be an interesting book. Thanks to First to Read for the advance copy.

This is such a hard novel to judge because it seems to move all over the place. By that I mean, it doesn’t have a clear antagonist, nor does it have a straightforward idea of where the story should go. There are several points in the storytelling where the story seems as though it’s moving in one direction, and then something happens and it moves into another direction, and that happens about four times in the novel making it almost impossible to lose oneself in the actual story because you don’t know what’s really going on. The story has a very strong beginning as It introduces the reader to Taj and the world he lives in as an Aki, a sin-eater. It’s an interesting premise, but once it hits that point of introduction, the pace of the novel quickly slows down. It’s a hard novel to read and stick with, and for me, it was a struggle, there were times when I put it down and didn’t want to pick it back up. This is for so many reasons. It’s a dense novel. There are chapters and pages where nothing really happens, and this goes for character development and plot development. Yes, the reader gets to know the world Taj lives in, making it incredibly detailed, but there are times where not enough is left up for imagination. The author has the problem of explaining and detailing things that don’t need explanation leaving the reader to scratch their heads at points where there isn’t enough context to ground the reader into the story. Using colorful or “exotic” language is one aspect of that. There are times when a word or phrase is used at one point but then again at another different point. The author just wasn’t thoughtful enough to readers who weren’t of the Nigerian heritage. It’s not a very accessible novel because of that. Also with a character like Taj, a dark character with a snarky attitude, one would imagine there would be some dark humor to the novel. If there was, it is sure to be lost on the reader. Much of what he does just seems cold or cruel. Given his life, it’s not understandable, but it takes a certain enjoyment away from the novel. Taj just doesn’t grab the reader, he lacks character growth. He’s thrust from situation to situation that doesn’t seem to impact him at all. And when he does seem to have some character growth it’s so close to the end that it doesn’t seem worth it. There seems to be some idea behind the novel, almost as if the writer, he wanted to bring to life this tale of sin eaters but he didn’t know where to take it. It shows a lack of cohesion in the novel, especially when the author just goes from one climactic incident to another. it losses the reader by shifting the direction of the story this way and that. It’s dense, not thoroughly thought out and lacks character development. This is something that could have been absolutely spectacular but ended up falling flat as it dragged out unessential details.

I loved the idea for this story, and I was very excited for the Nigerian-inspired elements. But I don't think it quite lived up to my expectations. Pros: -The Nigerian elements. This world was very rich and full, both the setting and the folklore and the characters. I thought that it was such an eye-opening look into another culture and its people. -The characters. I loved our main character, Taj, but also his friends and the others in this story. While I didn't feel that they were so fully fleshed out, I loved them. -The plot. This idea that sins are manifested and "eaten" was super interested and very well executed. Cons: -The writing. There was never really a point where the writing sucked me in. While I was interested in the story, sometimes the flow of the writing just sucked me out of the story. -The plot. I know I listed it above as a pro, but hear me out. While I enjoyed the story and what was happening, I also feel that it jumped around way too much. Certain things weren't explained well, which added to the feeling of not being fully invested. In the end, while I loved the idea of this book, it did not live up to its full potential. However, it was still a very enjoyable read, and I am looking forward to picking up more of Onyebuchi's writing in the future.

In the city of Kos the nobility task mages with magically calling forth their sins in the form of sin-beasts... But what to do with the lethal creatures spawned from the guilt? Pay a pittance to aki, young sin-eaters to kill the creatures and take the sins on themselves. The cost to these children is a physical tattoo as well as the sin appearing in their minds, accumulate too many and the aki is driven mad. Taj is the most talented aki in the city, refusing to take the emotional toll he stays distant from everyone in the hopes of staying alive... until he crushes on a princess who has other plans for him. I'm going to be really controversial here and state that Taj is very diverse, almost uncomfortably so... and I LOVED that about him! He isn't just an American with dark skin, no, no, he is Nigerian. He not only acts Nigerian and is even given movements that speak to his heritage, but he is a genuine 17 year old boy and shares common traits to all teenage boys. So if you're looking for a cookie cutter character that looks the look but doesn't walk the walk then this book isn't for you... it's definitely aimed at readers who ENJOY own voices and the authenticity of characters no matter their diversity or their commonality! (The talk about the poof and the hair is so cute and such a marvelous way you remind us of his racial profile without being overt about it! ??) The setup was EXCELLENT! Onyebuchi is on his way to being a gifted author. I loved the way he showed us the city. We got the layout and the power struggles all through well developed scenes and natural moments when circumstances could be brought up without feeling like info dumps. This IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL narrative! You are NOT simply being TOLD everything by Taj... he is taking you around and letting you decide for yourself... its on the reader to connect many of the dots and infer... I LOVE this type of story craft!! It makes for a more immersive story where you start to put yourself in the same circumstances as the protagonist. Not ALL Readers are going to enjoy it... Simply being that the MC is a boy... a 17 year old boy who DOES NOT act like a 30 year old but a REAL LIVE 17 year old... Yeah so he kind of falls a little for each girl he meets and hits on them. He's unabashedly crushing on a princess... well because she's pretty and nice to him. He over thinks the situations he's in and thinks of them from a more self centered position. BUT, you say, I'M FINE WITH ALL THAT! Yes, but that is all paired with a more immersive prose where you have to become that 17 year old boy... SO THE STORYCRAFT is EXCELLENT but if you don't connect to that boy there isn't a whole lot in the prose to float you along. The prose is rich in details but lacks the overt emotionalism of say Laini Taylor. It's good writing but IT IS NOT what YA readers are used to. Personally I would have stripped the narrative of some of the description since the POV dictates that the reader must follow him through the environment and frankly its too cluttered as is... Still I personally was fascinated with the world building and the sin-eating premise! The way the sin-eating process was worked was creative and freaky... the inisisa were difficult to battle and yet were a great physical manifestation of sin. The city of Kos was rather isolated and created this very small world in which the story takes place. The little details about their culture like the jeweling and the artists who paint the walls enriched that world. We only get hints about outside and so its all about the nobility and what they want at any given time. The fact that they continually combed for kids to force out of their homes to eat sins was quite heart breaking to me. There is this very real use of children that gave the world authenticity... Now for the plot... about 40% and the plot starts to unwind... It's not bad or wrong but it IS NOT the direction one expects when told a story is about sin-beasts and those who eat them... we start to see here that the story is actually more slice of life with Taj at its center. While I enjoyed the book, at this point, the story feels almost completely devoid of plot. It DOES have plot but we don't know ANYTHING of what is affecting Taj's circumstances so it all feels random and rushed. There are characters in the background fighting for their ideas and dreams for the city and they affect Taj but we ONLY SEE the outcome. I actually enjoyed Arzu, Zainab, Aliya and Bo who are all friends with Taj at one point or another coming and going with the larger plot changes but none of them were with Taj consistently enough for me to feel attached. And because of the nature of the prose we didn't feel Taj's own attachment! Stronger plot with more events would have helped with this relationship problem... I was really interested in Taj's relationship with Bo but then that friendship is abandoned and when Bo reenters the story its dissatisfying! There is the idea thrown around that there was insta-love... it's more a crush like boys his age are wont to have, still it smacks of another element that just doesn't jive with what YA readers enjoy. I actually enjoyed Zainab MORE than Taj and could have seen her as a potential 2nd POV character. In fact this world and the prose would have benefited from a multiple POV treatment. Overall as a reader I LOVED the world... I NEED more from the world and would definitely be up to read the next book in the series! While the end was not the steady, strong start, being a little muddled and rushed, it was twisty with a lot of battles! BATTLES were what we were looking forward to all along... I also think most will be surprised by the end, unfortunately if you didn't engage with Taj you may not care... That doesn't change the fact that Taj grew through the course of his book and came out the other end a better 17 year old than he went in! BOTTOM LINE: A Nigerian boy with must eat sins at the whim of the nobility...

this was an amazing, diverse read! i loved it. could not recommend it more to people who are looking for a far-out awesome read. :)

Unfortunately this was a DNF for me. Though it was one of my most anticipated books of the year, I found myself having to force my way in. Some passages were amazing, and others heavy with description. It felt like it needed a little more balance, but on the other hand, I feel like if I pushed through, there would have been a great reward. So the DNF is on my part. I think I needed to be in a different headspace to read this, as it certainly seemed right up my alley. I will try it again once it comes out as I loved the writing style of the author.

In Beasts Made of Night there is a sect of society called the aki. The aki are young people that at some point manifested the ability to eat sin. They are not able to call forth the sin, that is the job of the mages. The aki are not revered for their position, in fact they are little higher than slaves at the whim of the Mages who control them. The citizens need them to eat their sins but they also fear them. The Aki are easily recognized by their eyes and because when they consume an inisisa, the form that the sin takes once out of a body, they are left with a tattoo that is the shape of the beast. Pretty freaking cool! Some aki have more tattoos than others but Taj has the most because for some reason his never fade. Through a series of misfortunate events Taj is thrown into a circumstance that lands him at the palace under the thumb of the mage he hates the most. He becomes isolated and trapped in a situation where he truly cannot tell friend from foe. He will have to use all his cunning in order to discern truth from fantasy before time runs out and everything is lost. I really enjoyed the concept of the sin-eating, how it came about, why it was done, who was chosen for the task. I appreciated that the society was developed in such a way that you could clearly understand the class differences and how the Aki’s were treated in relation to everyone else. It really sent home a feeling of injustice and made me want more for “lesser” society members. I did enjoy the writing and the attention to detail that painted very vivid scenes for me in Beasts Made of Night. What I did not feel was any kind of connection to the story. I did not get behind any one character. I felt completely detached throughout the entire read and that is very unusual for me. The fantasy was truly an adventure and I love the Nigerian-Influence that is prevalent throughout. I believe that there are going to be very many readers who love this story and are swept away by their imagination, this was just not the case for me. *Thank you to First Reads for this eARC of Beasts Made of Night* This review is based on a complimentary book I received from First Reads. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

I have to be honest and say I really struggled to finish this. While I loved the premise and thought the world-building quite breathtaking in parts, the pace was extremely slow, and the mythology a little too complicated and confusing. There also didn't seem to be an actual plot for the majority of the book. Things did pick up in the last 50 pages, but by then it was too late for me.

I was really excited about Beasts Made of Night. I was really hooked into the premise of a Nigerian-influenced story. The story was really vivid and I really loved all the details of the story. Unfortunately, it took a little too long for the plot to pick up. By page 100, I felt as though nothing had happened nor was there any indication of where the story was going. I also found that some details were lacking and that there needed to be more backstory.

Free e-book in exchange for an honest review. I wish I could have liked this more. Lost interest with it and my download expired. I will rent from the library to finish it and see if it got any better.

I wanted to love this story; it had such an interesting concept, but it was a real effort to get through the first chapter and I felt disconnected from the story. There was nothing that was making it compelling or interesting to me. I felt thrown off by a lot of the details and there never seemed to be a strong plot or something to carry me through reading. I was so hyped to get my hands on this because not only is the cover amazing, but the summary was the coolest sounding thing I'd ever read. But the book itself... I found myself putting it down often and doing other things. I just wasn't pulled in and I couldn't find the willpower to finish.

I got about 45 pages into this book and it didn't draw me in. Rather than risk a reading slump, I put it aside and really have no intentions of picking it back up. Too bad because I think the cover is gorgeous and I really wanted to love it.

The concept for this book was absolutely wonderful but I found it hard to connect to the characters. It was such a shame because the world-building was truly excellent. Additionally, it felt almost like half a book because it ended so abruptly. Definitely will be interested in the sequel because I think this series really has potential and I'm intrigued to see where it will go.

I am so sorry I didnt get a chance to download this due to no power.

Sad news. I got a new phone while I was in the middle of reading this book and the download didn’t transfer to my new phone. ?? I was really loving this story! It took me a bit to figure out what the heck was going on because this is such a new culture and world for me, but once All the pieces started to fit together, the story really started to take off! Hopefully I can get a copy of this book when it comes out so I can finish it! So far it’s a definite recommend!

Great concept, lacking execution. This is a wonderful world, with diverse characters, and a fascinating setting and mythology that isn't something you see a lot. The Sin monsters, Sin eaters, and the framework in which Sins are sold is wonderful. But the plot is weak, dragging out in some places, skipping around, or tightly compressed in others. Taj is a likeable enough character, and well-developed, but several other important characters are flat, and their actions stereotypical. I wanted him to succeed, and his struggles kept me reading, but then he'd bump into one of the flatter characters, and suddenly his choices felt stiff and choreographed. Read if beautiful world-building is enough to make you forgive jerky plot and mixed characterization.

Oh, I hate cliff hangers. This would have been a great book, I love stories with a complex mythology and its own language, but there's nothing worse, in my opinion, than a book which leaves you hanging.

This book was too difficult for me to get interested in the initial pages. It utilizes a complex mythology and vocabulary and would appeal most to fans of high fantasy. It may get more engrossing once you get into it, but I think I had too much on my mind to fully absorb the concept.

"Beasts Made of Night" by Tochi Onyebuchi is a fantasy YA book about Taj, the most talented sin eater in Nigeria. Being a sin eater is kind of like being a scapegoat. The person committing the sin, usually the wealthy, is "turned" into a sin beast. If the sin should be big enough, the beast can actually kill the sin eater sent in to eat the beast. When the beast is eaten, a tattoo of the sin is transferred to the eater. This book was a little hard to get into, But will be entertaining to the young adult reading it. I received this book from www.firsttoread.com.

I give this 5 out of 5 big stars! This was such a great read Taj gets in to some tricky things and not everyone around him is who he thinks they are. I loved how the tattoos of animals that he wears on his skin are really sins that he has eaten from others to keep them pure. He is not the only one that can do this no there are a bunch and are taken from their families to train to do this for the "better" people the ones that are supposedly pure but not. Yet they are treated like the ground everyone steps on. This does not stop Taj from reaching higher and wanting more out of life, it should never stop anyone. The only bad thing is that the story was actually getting action packed at the end and of course there is a cliff hanger so of course that makes me want to read the next one. If there is a next one.

Unfortunately my copy of this book expired before I could get a chance to read it. Was trying to finish up other books whose reviews were due first. Sorry for the inconvenience of not having a review.

This book was a bit of an surprise for me. I took some time to really get all of my thoughts collected. I enjoyed this YA Fantasy novel. Its diverse, set in a different world and has an African culture going on in the story also. Something to take in mind if you thinking about picking this up it takes time to get into at first because it's fantasy so there's a lot of terms, characters and world building you have to get through to better understand this world Tochi Onyrbuchi has build. I loved Taj the main character, I loved the concept of this story and the characters. Im so glad I gotten to read this fantasy novel.

This book was an interesting read, but I am not sure it was the book for me. I think it was a bit violent and the character seemed to do anything for his family. While I certainly get that, it was a bit distracting. I don't feel like I had closure either. Not sure if this is the first in a series? Thanks for the opportunity.

First off, for those who hate cliffhangers, this book is not for you. It ends right in the middle of a battle, when things really start to heat up. The title doesn't mark this as the first book in a series, but it feels like one to me. About the first hundred pages read like A-Day-In-The-Life-Of-Taj. We're given a good visual on his actions and how he and other Aki are treated. It was good world building (and I love how Tochi Onyebuchi gave special attention to showing both genders are strong and smart), but there was so much of it that I felt it was the focus more than a forward moving plot. What did Taj want? What would push him forward? Heck if I know. He seemed to move through his days, not content, but not really looking for a way to change things either. The sense of time was hard to grasp. Taj moves from the slums to the palace for a job and just enough time is given to show how similar the royals can be to everyone else despite their elevated and revered status and for him to apparently fall in love with the princess (I didn't know his feelings were that strong until he came out and said it), only for him to leave without doing his job once. I know time was supposed to have passed because Taj makes a fleeting comment about being there for so long, yet it seemed no more than a blink for me. Overall, this novel with all its world building felt more like a setup for the next novel, where there will be more action. If that's not your thing then this novel isn't for you. I received a review copy.

This novel had such an interesting concept. However, it suffered quite a bit in its execution. Many people were not able to finish this novel, but I chugged through. I will say that this novel has a great deal of description and the author does a very good job fleshing out Taj's character. You really get to know him and understand him. However, there isn't much happening. There are loads of moments in the story where nothing is happening and it can get quite boring to go through it to get to the good stuff. While the beginning was intriguing enough to give the story momentum, it didn't continue all the way until the end. This is probably the reason that a lot of people gave up on this novel. It finally ramped up speed near the end, but I wasn't too happy with the way it was done. For one thing, it felt very rushed and had not been built up too well. The other problem was that it was quite predictable, which was a bit disappointing for me. I felt like I had invested a lot of time into this story, but I got the short end of the stick. So while this novel had an interesting premise, it really suffered in its plot development. For this reason, I'm giving this a 2.5/5 stars.

I'm sad to report that this book just didn't do it for me. The first third of the book was great: engaging and really interesting, the characters dynamic, the tensions between the different peoples and ideals resonating and concerning. Going beyond that first third, the book lost its greatness in all those aspects. Where it had been revealing relationships and characters that added quality and mystery to the story, the second and third parts of the book lost that substance. The pacing became glacial. The character drives watered down to power plays that weren't enticing and no longer held my interest. I also felt that the book was at times all over the place with the world it wanted to convey; the melding of the magic and the cyber-robotic limbed people just didn't work for me, and they stuck out without much that married them to the rest of the fantastical tale. While the story held a lot of potential, and its originality in relation to the rest of known and published YA, it was a disappointment for me. On the flip-side, I think it is important that books like this exist--it showcases a culture that are sadly not present in current YA, bringing in more diversity. Diversity is a hot topic in the YA community and there are many, many, many authors and publishing houses and bloggers trying to bring more representation into the community. I appreciated the different culture in this book--I actually really loved that aspect, because I love exposure to new peoples and ways of viewing the world. Unfortunately, other aspects of the book detracted from my overall experience. If you didn't notice in the previous paragraph, I italicized every time I mentioned my personal feelings. I did this to emphasize that this is how I felt about this book, because I didn't want people to mistake my intentions: this is my perspective on what I read. I didn't enjoy it. HOWEVER, you might. This book might speak to you; you might connect with it and see it as something wonderful--I don't want to distract from that possibility. Like I always tell people in person and online, I might not like something but that doesn't mean you will feel the same. Freely read reviews and comments, but please don't let those other opinions determine what you read. I personally like to check out other reviews and comments, but ultimately my decision is made upon whether the blurb or summary describe an world and characters I want to know. Like I said above, I enjoyed the culture and peoples that were introduced. There is a wealth of possibility with African cultures, and the first third of the book captured one in such a way that I was riveted. It is clear to me that the author did a lot of research, and the book benefited from it greatly. I felt like I stepped into the world, and Amharic words used to describe, explain, and direct helped the story along. This is a solid 2 out of 5 bitchin' stars. For those who enjoy fantasy, give this one a shot. I'm not sure of a book for good comparison. Part of me wants to say there was a reading feel (kind of like a mouth feel, but for the brain) similar to when I was reading Aditi Khorana's The Library of Fates, but I'm not sure if that makes much sense. :) Let me know if it does, or if you want me to explain in a different manner--I'll try my best!

My galley timed out before I could finish it, but at page 172 (57%) I'd given it 2/5 stars. Now, going into Beasts Made of Night, I was super excited and very optimistic. The thing is, it's very slow: at 57% it was still building up to the plot. The problem, I felt, was with the pacing, and while I can't speak for the parts I didn't read, I still feel like it has the potential to be good. But as much as I loved the character descriptions, I felt that their personalities were a bit flat, and I honestly didn't recognize any of the humor as being... humorous... until a character would start laughing. Like, I would just sit back and go, "Ahh, so that was supposed to be funny... okay." There was one scene that made me uncomfortable, and was inappropriate- where the male MC bathes in front of a woman. To sum it up, it COULD'VE been good, but it takes too long to get there, and I sort of lost interest when after 50% nothing was happening.

I thought this book had a really interesting, cool concept. The aki are people who literally eat the sins of others and these sins become permanent tattoos on their bodies, while the other person becomes free of sin. The aki are feared and mostly outcast, they're forced to leave their families once the change occurs and their eyes go white. Taj is a famous and pretty powerful aki as it turns out. I enjoyed the beginning and learning about the aki. But somewhere along the way I grew disinterested. I wasn't feeling connected to the story anymore. I liked it but felt like something was lacking and I ended up not really caring how it ended. It started off so well, and that cover is SO COOL! But it lost me.

I received a digital ARC of this novel courtesy of First to Read in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. Sadly, I was disappointed, I was looking forward to seeing how the main character Taj, deal with the tattoo appears on his body, however, the story was too much for me. Drag on way too much. Felt like it was not ending. The idea is there; just this did not work for me, the way it was written.

I wanted to love this book so, so much. I'm a huge supporter of diverse authors and diverse reads, and Beasts Made of Night hits both those marks. And when it comes to first books in a fantasy series, I kinda know what I'm getting into: lots of worldbuilding, lots of character construction, not a lot of action. When I sat down with this book, I came into it with that sort of perspective. Unfortunately, while the writing is decent, the pacing of this book is completely off. It drags in the middle to an almost unbearable degree, which prompted me to skim to the end to write this review. This book needed a stronger editor to pull it together; without that, it struggles to be successful.

Such unique, fascinating magic and mythology! Twisty plot and a classic cliffhanger - you've been warned. If you liked Flame in the Mist, definitely check this one out.

I'm calling this a DNF. For now. The premise is fantastic! I may listen to the audio version when it comes out. But by page 65, I feel as if I've just read thinly veiled info dump after info dump. The exposition to action ratio is not balanced enough to keep me reading, nor is the character development strong enough to make me relate to any of the characters.

I had really high hopes for this book, but just did not enjoy it. The setting and concept was great, but most of the time I didn't know what the actual plot was and it seemed like nothing really happened until the last 20 pages. I thought a lot of the concepts were underdeveloped, and I wish the cultural of Kos was explained more. We never really got why the aki had to eat the sins, or why sins make people sick etc. 2/5

Tochi Onyebuchi's debut novel definitely shows a balance of light and dark in all it's themes. The story is of a city ruled by a royal family, their top advisers called Mages. The Mages use children called "aki" to literally eat the sins of others, the sins branding their skin like tattoos after they've consumed them. The main character, Taj, is a cocky teenage aki who is desperate to provide for the family he was forced to leave behind. After defeating a sin-beast of the King's, he finds himself in the employment of the royal family. Unlike most aki, his tattoos never fade and almost all of his skin is branded from one sin or the next. I felt like the story was very interesting. The different classes within the city, as well as the different characters within each class were well developed. Around half way through the book, the ability to put it down went out the window...I had to see how things ended... And then they didn't. I'm not sure if Onyebuchi's plan is to write a second book, or if we, as readers, are meant to decide for ourselves what the future of Kos is. What still lies ahead for the city, the palace, the aki, Taj. I suppose either is an option. But I, personally, like a strong ending, and leaving off where it did left me feeling wronged as a reader. I really enjoyed the book until that.

I didn't enjoy this book at all even though the premise was amazing and I wanted to love it. If it wasn't for the fact that I wanted to write a thorough and fair review to submit, I would have abandoned the book halfway through. Initially I was interested, I liked Taj's mercantile attitude and learning about the Aki and their traditions. The action sequences were pretty good and the idea of eating and branding was a cool magic concept. As the story progressed though, I began to wonder what the actual plot to the story was and I couldn't come up with a solid answer. There was a distinct lack of pacing and structure to the narrative and the book started to lose me the more that I read. Character development is also quite weak and the love mentioned in the synopsis even weaker. I didn't find myself caring even a little bit about any of the side characters. The antagonists are extremely predictable but the roles that they play are so minor and their appearances were so brief that I’m still not even sure what they were doing there or why they were doing the things that they were doing. As for the writing itself it is littered with sentence fragments that need correcting. This book also could seriously use a glossary for the various terms and concepts dumped on the reader right from the get go. This book just wasn’t for me but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t work for someone else.

I absolutely loved this book! I never saw the twist towards the end coming. I will say that I hated the way it ended because now I have to wait for the next one to find out what happens to Taj and the rest of the gang. Fantasy is not a genre I read a lot of but this one was unforgettable.

DNF @ page 65 Beasts Made of Night takes place in the city of Kos and follows Taj, an aki. Akis are sin-eaters who feed off the sins of people and gain tattoos when they have conquered or fed upon the beasts made from sin. This novel has a very strong premise enriched and influenced by Nigerian storytelling/mythology. I believe that many readers will greatly enjoy and appreciate the world that Tochi Onyebuchi has woven together. However, I'm not one of those readers. I wanted so badly to love this, but the mythology, while interesting, wasn't grabbing my attention and I found it hard to connect to the city of Kos. The writing is very awkward and lacks a stylistic flow that cohesively connects the story together. This throws the pacing off and makes it hard to stay immersed in the world. It's hard to stay invested in a fantasy world that doesn't grab your attention and hold it. If I can put a fantasy novel down and only find myself questioning its purpose and the point, then that fantasy novel has not captured my attention. This is why Beasts Made of Night didn't win me over as a fantasy story. As a novel (without focusing on the fantasy elements), Beasts Made of Night failed to connect me to the protagonist. I know that the main character is named Taj, but I don't know Taj. I read 65 pages of Taj's story and I feel like I only know his basic Tinder profile. I don't want to read a story where I can't connect to a hero I'm supposed to be rooting for. I need that connection in a story, especially in a fantasy driven novel. While Beasts Made of Night didn't work for me personally, I know that many will love this story and the incorporation of Nigerian culture. However, mythology alone cannot be the one positive thing a story has to offer for me to continue reading. I recommend picking this one if the summary interests you because I think it was just my personal reading tastes that hindered me from enjoying this fantasy novel. Thank you, First to Read and Penguin (Razorbill), for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I AM STILL IN SHOCK FROM THE ENDING. Every once and I while, there is a book that comes along that is so wonderfully different from anything else I've ever read that I try to savor it slowly, try to engross myself in it so I don't forget anything. This was one of those books. I loved Taj, our protagonist. I loved his growth, and how relatable he was - always acting like he didn't care, even though we were in his head and knew he did. I liked his friends. I loved the world of Kos, the idea that tattoos are sins on the skin of a group of people. I love knowing this is based on Nigerian folklore. I loved everything about this book. At times, it felt a little slow, but I understand it now. Everything was building. There's a sequel, right?! Thank you to First to Read for providing me with an advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I can't wait until everyone gets to read this!

I love this book. Only stopped to sleep for a few. But really? There has to be more coming! I hate when you go to turn the page and realize that's it.

A wonderfully creative world concept with a very different (and fresh) feeling from the common European flavored setting most fantasy tends to gravitate towards. Though I was drawn in by the world and its magical concepts (the 'sin eaters' idea has always fascinated me) I found the writing style to be a little flat and aspects of the characters and world felt like they needed a little more fleshing out. Why are the Aki so reviled for example? For a society built around ridding yourself of sin, it strikes me as counterintuitive to treat those who rid you of it so poorly. What's really keeping them from just picking up and leaving, letting society stew in their sins? Perhaps this is something the author left to be explored further in the next book, I don't know. I'm assuming there will be a next one in a planned as a series due to the way the story ended, though 'left off' might be more appropriate. The fresh setting of this new world might be enough to recommend this book to prospective readers, they may find problems with pacing/character. Overall it comes across as a mostly solid effort by a new author, but with a little patience you just may find a world worth exploring. 3-3.5 out of 5

DNF at 25%. I had high hopes going into this one, but unfortunately I was quite disappointed. The first few chapters didn't keep me enticed enough to keep reading, and I feel like maybe my reading tastes have changed that I no longer want to read these types of fantasy books. I might pick this one up at a later date, but as of right now, I'm putting this one aside.

I wanted to love this. I loved the concept and the setting. But the writing was not my style and made it very hard for me to follow and understand the world-building.

This is a beautifully written book full of dark adventure. Taj kills the beasts of darkness that appear when someone pays to have their sins erased (eaten). Tan is the best of the best, so when the royal family needs help, he's the one called upon. This wasn't the easiest read, as it's dark and angsty. But, it's so well written that the prose is worth the read. This debut author is certainly one to watch.

I was drawn to this book because of the beautiful cover, and the premise sounded intriguing as well. I hadn't quite read anything with this kind of world before, and I enjoyed learning about sin-eating and the magic of Kos. The writing made the story go by quickly, and overall it was a fun read. The romantic relationships were a little confusing for me. It seemed like Taj was falling for Aliya over time, while his feelings for Karima were definitely insta-love. At other times, it seemed like Taj saw Aliya as just a close friend. At the end of the book when more is revealed about Karima, it made a little more sense why she had such power over Taj. Although I didn't find the romance aspect overbearing, I don't know that romance was even necessary to the plot except for leading Taj to his conflict at the end, which could have been replaced by some other form of manipulation. I found it a little confusing what was happening with Taj's sin spots, since he repeatedly thought he was crossing, and then he didn't. I also wish more was explained about the way his sin spots worked, but maybe we'll get more answers in the next book.

I fell in love with the incredibly creative world Onyebuchi created. The concept of sin eaters isn't new, but the way they're developed is incredibly original. I can't rave enough about how expertly Onyebuchi weaves words together to add incredible magic to his tale. The world he describes is slightly familiar yet incredibly magical. Leading man, Taj, is a splendid guide; he's incredibly aware of his situation and the world he inhabits yet ignorant of much of what's really happening. Revelations are many and as shocking as can be expected. Which kind of leads to my one and only complaint... WHAT IN THE H IS THAT ENDING? I sincerely thought that my book was missing some pages, but it seems that it just drops off... Be prepared for an incredibly frustrating end. Even so, an original and creative voice makes this a definite recommend.

I had such high hopes. I loved the setting and the unique storyline and the writing, but the pacing, Instant-love, and not well developed threads failed for me ultimately.

I was very intrigued by the synopsis of this book and was excited to see it on offer here. The first 85-100 pages were excellent. I wished there was a little more background information for context and maybe a small glossary for unfamiliar terms but I really liked the story. Then it just stalled. I feel like nothing happened until the very end and then what did happen was confusing. I read a lot of fantasy and I like YA fantasy especially because it usually isn't too heavy or complicated. I really don't even know how to review it bc I'm still so confused about what happened. I feel like it was the second book in a series that I never read the first one for. I think that unless you are very familiar with the Nigerian mythology that this story is supposedly based on you will have a hard time enjoying it. I can only assume that it is the first in a series from the way that it ended but I definitely won't continue with it. This was barely a three star read for me.

When I first heard about this book I was immediately interested. I haven't read a Nigerian influenced fantasy before, so I thought that this would be really unique and have some intriguing concepts. I really liked the idea of this book and I was interested enough in the world to enjoy reading this, but there are also a few aspects of this book that I didn't really enjoy. I highly enjoyed the idea of sin beasts and the aki. It's unique and unlike anything I've ever read before, so I was really interested in that. I would have liked things to be a little more clear with the world building though, like what math has to do with the Unnamed. It wasn't entirely clear to me why the aki are treated so poorly by the Mages and the rest of their society, other than this is what happens. The ideas were great, I just enjoy a little more clarification when it comes to things I'm not really familiar with and especially in fantasy worlds. The main plot wasn't anything out of the ordinary, which was kind of disappointing, but it wasn't boring. I didn't really understand the reasoning behind Taj getting brought to the palace just to be shipped off to train aki. It seemed like an easy was for Taj and the princess to meet, but it didn't really make a whole lot of sense, especially considering how aki are viewed in this society. There was a lot of build up to the ending and most of it felt a little like filler. I wish that the more exciting stuff at the end of the book had taken up more of the story. It wasn't really a rushed ending, but I would have enjoyed it more if it was more drawn out. I haven't seen anything about a sequel yet, but there must be one coming because the ending was a little bit of a cliffhanger. While the characters weren't bad, they also didn't feel unique. There was nothing that really stood out to me about any of the characters. Taj is super special and it's never really explained why and it doesn't really seem necessary for people to keep saying that. Having a super special main character is something that bothers me because it's essentially saying that this person is important and the hero because they're so special. Taj really cares about his fellow aki, but I didn't really feel a connection to the people he cares about. The romance felt like it came out of nowhere. As soon as Taj and the princess met, it seemed like they were into each other and I didn't really get it. It seemed like Taj liked her just because she was pretty and the princess, which isn't a good reason to like someone. I especially enjoyed the writing during scenes with the sin beasts. I could vividly picture the beasts and the action that was happening. The descriptions of the world were also very easy to picture. Where the writing fell flat was with the character development. Overall, I did like the story though, which is unusual for me because good character development is something that is usually a must. I did have a few issues with the book, but as a whole I liked it, mainly because it was so unique to me. If there is a sequel, then I may pick it up, but I won't be in rush.

I received a copy from Penguin First to Read. I used some of my points to secure a copy of this one. I was quite looking forward to it. While it's not bad, at 187 pages, I've come to the point where I just don't care anymore. The concept is quite fascinating. In this Nigerian inspired fantasy, the hero Taj is an Aki, a Sin Eater. The Royal Family of the fictional city of Kos are supposed to be pure and free of sin, sin comes in the form of Sin Beasts which the Aki consume and absorb into their skin in the form of tattoos. Interesting enough. But there was something off about the plot and the execution of the story. I can't say I felt particularly attached to any of the characters. The world building was interesting enough but the writing was kind of flat. And the plot seemed to jump from one thing to the next. There was a barely there romance that felt way too insta-lovey for my liking. He meets with a princess once or twice and then he's fascinated with her. Understandable, but again, there was something that just wasn't there to make it work for me. It's getting to the point where I'm not looking forward to finishing, and as I said early, I'm bored with and don't care enough to find out how its end. There is definite potential in the writing and as I said the world building was interesting and quite unique. While this book was not for me I would certainly be interested in seeing more from this author.

Exciting and simulating! Keeps you thinking the whole way through. Definitely a must read.

This Nigerian influence fantasy will transport you to a world full of sin-beasts, tantalizing food, and a story that will change the very foundation of the world they live upon. Beats Made of the Night is a fantastic novel that engages with issues such as injustice, sin/purity, and revolution. Mages can extract a sin from a sinner that manifests itself as a sin-beast. These inky creatures are lethal, killing anything they can, until an aki, a sin-eater, must catch them, kill them, and ingest them. For each time they do this, the sin extracts a terrible price – the beast is forever tattooed on their skin, and they live with the sinner’s guilt in their mind, haunting their dreams and conscience. But Taj, one of the most talented aki in Kos, is going to get a job he cannot refuse and eating the sin of a royal family turns into something more – something both dangerous and life changing. What first drew me to the book was the mention of Nigerian influenced fantasy as well as the concept of the sin-beasts. And it remains one of my favorite elements of the book. The world building here is intense and immersive. While we jump around a bit to get used to it, once you do, this world will suck you in. There’s the descriptions of food, the exploration of the entire sin-eating process, and even some history about the family’s relationships to sin/purity. Witnessing the ‘birth’ and death of these sins is fascinating – a dance in and of itself. So if that description piques your interest at all, this is a must read. The next element that I loved, but did not even anticipate, was the whole exploration of sin/purity. There’s this conflict because the sin-eaters are an entirely necessary function of society, but they are looked down upon and treated horribly. At the same time, the royal family is supposed to be ‘above sin’ so they are forced to confess every little sin and the price of this, and that culture, is very short life expectancy for the sin-eaters. So there’s this interaction between confession, absolution, and the guilt that really intrigued me and held my attention. For me, it was this larger indication of the injustice of the system that is easier to see – when the upper levels of society force their ‘guilt’ or ‘sins’ upon the lower classes. They must suffer for the lives of those above the clouds and the royal family of Kos, the city of the novel, in particular. (There are a whole bunch of other great themes, but I cannot really talk about them without spoiling key elements of the plot. So just trust me that there is even more depth in terms of plot/society). Taj himself was an interesting character because he is both hardened and also compassionate. His mentality to care only about himself is a defense mechanism to protect him from the sins. At the same time, he is deeply caring about those in his life. Yet there is something brewing under the surface of Taj – something simmering deep below, like watching too many incidents of injustice, perhaps resentment. This deeper undercurrent intrigued me. However my favorite characters were most definitely some of the side characters – Arzu and Aliya. One is a mage in training and another is Taj’s body guard when he comes into the palace. Onyebuchi does a fabulous job at creating side characters that allow you to peek underneath their surface. I just wish we had more details of them! I would read whole books about each of these characters. While the plot speeds up at the end in a whirlwind that sort of picks you up off the ground, Beasts Made of the Night is a YA fantasy book where the world building did not disappoint. The interaction between this, the deeper themes of the book, and a mysterious plot made the book such an enjoyable and thought provoking read. If you are searching for your next fantasy book to read, enjoy the sound of Nigerian influenced magic, or just want to read about a fabulous world – this book is for you. Beasts Made of the Night seems to ask us what exactly we will sacrifice and when we have had enough.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars It's funny because after finishing Strange the Dreamer only a couple of months ago, I was sure it would be years before I found another fantasy world as original and entrancing as Strange's was, but Beasts Made of Night is quite the contender! Thank you First to Read both for existing and for accepting my request to read this wonderful book! I had previously added Beasts on my Goodreads, but going into it all I could remember was it being "a gritty, Nigerian-inspired fantasy story" and that it had both an intriguing title and cover. Luckily, I was immediately so drawn by the vivid imagery and the uniqueness of Taj's world. Seriously, the world-building is top-notch and entirely refreshing for the YA fantasy genre. There's so much to learn, so much culture and history unlike anything I've read before. I was entirely fascinated by how Kos's society operates, by valuing purity and shunning those who not only commit sins but also the innocent ones who merely carry the sins of others with them. The only downfall to this otherwise completely wonderful and original debut was how messy it felt. I saw someone say it felt more like a rough draft and I can sort of agree with that. For a debut, Onyebuchi did an impressive job and got a lot right with the premise and world-building, but there also were a few fundamental elements that needed work. The characters were underdeveloped, and though I liked Taj and was able to connect with him for the most part, his character didn't feel consistent. There were a lot of moments when he came across as immature even though we've been told he had to grow up quickly to stay alive and that he is supposedly the most talented of all the aki. He also became googly-eyed and starstruck the minute he met the Princess of Kos which was really off-putting, as any shape or form of instalove is my biggest pet peeve. A bit more than halfway in, I also sort of grew tired of Taj and the fact that I kept waiting for the plot to reveal itself. He simply kept getting moved from place to place and nothing was really happening. Other than that, I felt like the pacing was a bit odd at some points. The whole ending for example happened way too quickly and was extremely messy... Overall, the I enjoyed the first half deeply, as I was happy to take my time and fully immerse myself in Taj's world, but it did get to a point where I was ready for bigger and better things that never really came. I'm okay with that for now though. It sounds like I have a lot of complaints, I know, but really I'm so glad to have read Beasts Made of Night and eagerly await news of a possible sequel! I can definitely overlook most of my small issues for the unique world-building and story being told. Maybe a 3.5- or 4-star rating would technically be more appropriate, but I really want this book to succeed as I think the author could easily fix some of these issues in a sequel, or hey, maybe some will be fixed before the book's late October release date? Only time will tell once I receive my finished copy! In conclusion, please give us more diversely-inspired fantasy stories, authors and publishers! We need more unique worlds like this one to explore! Full Review: https://thestarswhogazeback.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/beasts-made-of-night-by-tochi-onyebuchi-book-review/

Beasts Made of Night is a brilliant debut novel. Onyebuchi crafts a colorful and fascinating world that I was immediately drawn into and utterly captivated by. Every time I began reading I felt transported to a completely different world. It was wonderful. The usage of slang in the novel (words such as uhlah, eh-eh, lahala, oya) really helped to create and maintain that feeling of being in a slightly different world. I've seen others complain about a slowness in the middle, but I thought the pacing was very well done. Once I got about 3/4 of the way through I had to stop what I was doing and just finish the book. I needed to know what was going to happen! And my, what an ending. Here's hoping that there is going to be a sequel, and that we as readers can see further development of the various characters. I am looking forward to whatever Onyebuchi decides to write and publish in the future.

3.5/5 stars. I really really wanted to rate this book higher, but there were a few things that I couldn't get past. Towards the middle, the plot really slowed down and it got a little difficult to get through. Then suddenly at the end, everything started happening. It felt very rushed, and a lot of the story just fell apart and didn't make sense, and then we're left with a cliffhanger that really didn't resolve anything, a lot of unanswered questions, and even more things that get introduced introduced in the last ten pages without any explanations. Also, a lot of the main characters thoughts just didn't make sense to me, mainly pertaining to girls (especially his inexplicable insta love). That being said, the world of this book was truly unique and the concept was very interesting. This is probably why I wanted to like the book more than I did. Also, the cover is absolutely gorgeous.

Initial reaction after finishing: I LOVE THIS BOOK! This book is magic. Beasts Made of Night has such an interesting concept and I really think Onyebuchi executed it so well! Basically, the aki can eat people's sins, leaving the mark of the sin on their skin like a tattoo. The government of this city Kos takes advantage of the aki through the use of mages. Our protagonist Taj is this insanely talented aki with confidence for days and so much love for his family. I think it's best to go into this book not knowing much beyond the general idea. Onyebuchi managed to pack so much content into this novel, yet it never seemed rushed to me. The pacing was perfect and there was always a new surprise or adventure for Taj around every corner. I thought this book brought so many new, exciting plot details to the table. And that's always so satisfying for me, as someone who reads a lot of YA fantasy. I just felt so transported while I read this book. I feel like fans of stories like The Queen of the Tearling, Throne of Glass, and A Darker Shade of Magic will enjoy this awesome debut novel. I hope that there will be a sequel! I would definitely recommend this fantastic and magical book!

Thoroughly enjoyable book! I really liked the world building—the idea of sin-eaters and sin beasts was excellent. I also liked the characters. Taj, Bo, Aliya and the others felt real and had enough depth. There was enough action to keep the plot moving, but not so much that I didn't get to know the characters as people. A couple things that weren't my favorite: I don't believe the author ever mentioned Taj's age, although she did mention other characters "that were the same age" as Taj. Maybe I just missed where it said his age, but I found it frustrating not to know how old he was. I also didn't really like Princess Karima and Taj's interactions. Their relationship felt forced—Taj was appropriately awed of the princess, but they only spoke a few times and were already talking about being separated by others' schemes, and I didn't feel that their relationship warranted such a strong connection when they'd only met a few times. Finally, nowhere in any of the descriptions I read online did I see anything about this being the first book in a series. It looked like a standalone from the outset, but the ending is clearly meant to lead into a sequel. This would have been good information before I started reading the book. Overall though, I give it a good solid 3/5. It was entertaining and enjoyable, but I'm not sure if the whole series will be worth reading.

3/5 I was so pleased to get an advanced read of this book. I've been anticipating this book for a few months now. I enjoyed Beasts Made of Night. It had a unique concept, nice world-building, and an understandably flawed main character. However, the pacing was slow and stilted for the first 2/3 of the story and the plot jumped around quite a bit. I wasn't sure where this story was going. I didn't grasp any urgency or sense of purpose until almost the final chapters. One of the features I liked most was the slang. Uhlah, eh-eh, lahala, oya. These touchstones kept me grounded in that world. Reminded me of where I was. Sin-eating is a concept I've encountered before, but Onyebuchi treats in a unique way. The tattoos are so interesting! The sins Eaten become tattoos on the skin. Very cool. I wanted to know more about the significance of the different animals - what sins did they represent? It could have given a lot of insight into and depth to the characters. Speaking of characters, I wish there would have been more character development. People seemed to come and go, with no substantiality to them. Characters I should have become attached to in order to feel Taj's motivations. But many came off as two-dimensional. Or shifty. Bo, Aliya, Karima. I wanted these characters fleshed out more. And Omar. We meet him in Chapter 1 and grow to know him a bit, but then don't even catch a glimpse of him again until the final chapters. And I craved a deeper connection between Taj and Naidab. They were so similar, but hardly interacted before she was gone. Oh and this is apparently book one in a series? The ending definitely alludes to a second book, but it was so abrupt that it all caught me off guard. Overall, I'm confused by this book but it HAS left me wanting more. I'm just not sure if it's because I want to finish the story of if I just have so many MANY questions that I feel a need to read more to hopefully shed light on them. 3/5

This book has a really intriguing premise and I was drawn in by the world building. Unfortunately I thought that it was lacking in both plot and character development. The story is told in first person present tense by Taj, a sin eater or aki who's also known as Lightbringer. As the sins in the form of beasts enter the aki he describes his experience. "The sorrow that rakes my skin. The guilt that grips my mind. The cold that pierces my bones and freezes my marrow. And 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 and pulled until finally it snaps." It's a complicated mythology and everything in this world seems to be menacing to both the aki and the ordinary citizens, including the Mage, the royal family, palace guards, cheating pay masters, Agha Sentry, shadow beasts, catapults sent to destroy the neighborhood (dahia) and arashi who are attracted to places with the most sin. One of my problems with the book is that it has too many words with which I am unfamiliar and I'm not sure that I always understood the meaning through the context. It needs a glossary. Another problem I had is that Taj's status in this world, and his powers, kept shifting for no logical reason other than the author needed them to. And Taj is not very interesting and no other characters are developed at all. Taj instantly falls in love with a princess (of course), but she struck me as a creepy stalker attracted to sin, so I never bought into the romance here. There is really no plot until a third of the way in when it felt like a story was about to develop, but I was wrong because nothing happened again until the last 50 pages. There is a conspiracy introduced at that point, and even though it is very sketchy and doesn't make a lot of sense it should have been introduced much earlier in the book. Before then Taj has no goals and faces no conflicts. So without a compelling plot or characters all you're left with is an interesting premise. The author shows promise but I wanted more of a plot from this book. The ending could possibly be construed as a cliffhanger, but I don't think a sequel is called for. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Beasts Made of Night is definitely a book that I would recommend giving a chance to. I can see how some people might not find it their style but I think that many will like it. I was draw into Taj's story from the start of the book and loved the way that the plot developed and changed over time. I also enjoyed the themes and concepts in this book as well. This was one of those books that I found hard to put down and wanted to keep reading. In this book you really never know what to expect - you know something is up but you don't know what that is - and there are very interesting twists and turns! The end was a great set up for the next book and I can't wait to see the next part of the journey. Overall I would say four stars because some parts didn't keep my attention and the world building is off a bit but over all I really enjoyed it!

Guilt is a powerful emotion and, for some, it's too much to carry so they seek out ways to relieve themselves of the burden, as in Tochi Onyebuchi's Beasts Made of Night. Taj is an aki, someone who fights and Eats the sins of others. He's particularly adept at the task but, unlike the other aki, the markings adorning his body as a result of Eating remain vivid instead of fading over time. After Eating a sin from the King, which took the form of a dragon that took up much of the available space left on Taj's body, Taj is sought after to be a teacher to the new aki on how to hone their skill and fight the sin-beasts. Drawn into a conspiracy spread throughout the royal family of Kos, Taj must decide who to trust and where his unique skills are best utilized. There were concepts within this that interested me, including the visibility of guilt, a non-American or European setting, and a diverse cast of characters. The manifestation of guilt as a visible and tangible thing as markings upon skin was intriguing and ought to make people contemplate their actions to a greater extent and the way it was explored in the text demonstrated how different social classes viewed sins. The romantic aspect to this story was unrealistic in how quickly Taj's feeling developed and unnecessary for the overall story (apart from blindsiding him, but he would have adequately been blindsided that these female characters were nice to and interested in him); I also thought that the transition between being a disliked aki to a revered servant to the King was too jarring with its lack of a logical transition. Most of this novel sets up the world and establishes the role of the aki, demonstrating the societal stratification, with the major action starting to kick off at the end of the book and a cliffhanger-esque finish to close out the book, which contributed to an off kilter pacing of the narrative.  Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

Quite an interesting concept, but I feel like I needed more in depth world-building than the author gave us. There was a lot I couldn't understand, especially around the poetry contest and almost everything Aliya said. It was a quick read, and I liked the story, but when I finished I wanted to throw it across the room. A cliffhanger, really?! It's not as if the book were too long to include an actual ending! Sometimes I'm OK with cliffhangers, but this one doesn't feel like it's meant to draw me into the next book with a long, over-arching plot line. It feels more the author wrote himself into a corner and said, "Umm, this one's done!" to give himself more time to figure out how to get out of it.

Strong on concept, weak on execution. The world-building started out well but didn't go nearly deep enough, the characters are woefully undeveloped, the plot is a little confusing and somewhat boring, and the writing style -- with its short, choppy sentences -- just didn't work for me. I also think that 1st person/present tense was perhaps not the best choice because main character Taj is rather difficult to connect or sympathize with. I really liked the first 50 pages or so of this book, as we follow Taj through the daily life of an "aki" in the city of Kos, but after that this book fell flat for me. And it ends on a huge cliffhanger, which I actually found offensive after having forced myself to finish. I'd be very curious to know more about the folkloric influences that Onyebuchi drew upon in thinking up this iteration of "sin-eating", and in the various strata of Kos. I have a feeling that the process of conceptualizing this book was more interesting than the final product.

An absorbing fantasy full of action and suspense. This novel was in the same vein as The Fifth Season, but suited for a younger audience. A quick read that kept me engaged and turning pages. Themes of class division, responsibility, and the corruption of power, were wonderfully woven in this narrative. The story of Taj, the aki, and the royal family become a lens in which we can view ourselves, our own prejudice, and our own humanity. This would also be a fantastic read for younger readers, full of action, and relatable characters.

I really loved this. So very diverse and absolutely captivating.

At the second mention of "nappy hair", I have no desire to continue reading this book. This is an ARC but here are the passages that irked me: "As we make our way to the palace, I run my fingers through my nappy hair. It’s starting to grow out, and I like the look, like a massive, cushioned helmet, but it takes way too much effort to maintain. I have to wash it right. And sometimes, when it gets hot and humid, my hair falls all the way down over my ears so I look like a donkey. I don’t know— it doesn’t seem worth it. But when it’s good and upright and all puffed out, I love it." "Without thinking, I put my hand to his head and rustle his nappy hair." To each their own, but as a black person with curly/coily hair I found these casual mentions of "nappy hair" to be somewhat off putting and awkward. I looked forward in the book and there was only one other mention but I still have no desire to continue. Aside from that, I also found the worldbuilding to be insufficient and the plot jumpy (so far, anyway). The reader is kind of plunged into the middle of things with barely any explanation or introductions to the characters. It all feels 1D. Consequently, I already wasn't very interested.

This Nigerian-inspired fantasy was exceptional from beginning to end. I was entranced by the world that Onyebuchi creates: one where monsters of sin are summoned from people and devoured by the aki, or sin-eaters. One where delicious, steaming descriptions of food are as prevalent as the congested and noisy stalls of the Forum, layered with corruption and poverty. One where the main character, Taj, is beginning to discover has hidden secrets that could change the kingdom. Right from the beginning, I knew I would like Taj. He’s loyal, more than a bit arrogant, and brash. Nonetheless, he knows his own limitations of his status as an aki and doesn’t do anything too bold that could jeopardize his family. We begin the first chapter of the book with him defeating a sin-beast, an inisisa cloaked in darkness and shadows, taking on the form of a lion. Taj begins a progressive explanation of the walled city of Kos, and the way things are run. While the royal and rich are pure and free of sins, the aki are regarded as the lowest of the low due to their job of eating the sins of the rich. When an aki eats a sin, they breathe in its substance and it leaves a mark of the aki’s skin, making the sin theirs instead of the original owner’s. So not only are the aki left with prominent marks on their skin (and eventually fade), but also the guilt and helplessness of the sin that they ate. “‘We’re just bodies. Collecting all the horrible things the royal family thinks or does so that their pure spirits can rejoin Infinity. The lie and cheat, and we pay for it. Meanwhile, we’re left to gather the city’s sins.’” I fell absolutely in love with the world-building. Onyebuchi’s descriptions just jump out from the pages as readers can easily see Taj navigate the streets of the bustling Forum and the various dahias that make up Kos. I really adored reading about the food too (talk about making a reader hungry!), with luscious fruits, fufu and warm pepper stew, spicy chicken wings dipped in sauces. Although the aki are the ones who eat the inisisa, Mages are the people who actually call it forth from the person. Because of this, there’s a large discrepancy between the social standings of Mage and aki. When Taj manages to defeat the huge sin of the king of Kos, he is suddenly transported to a lavish yet lackadaisical role as a part of the royal household. At this point of the book, I thought the action would really get rolling but the plot stays at a steady pace. The overall pace of the book is a little disjointed, as I feel like some of the scenes weren’t really explored and readers are soon thrown into a new situation. But what I really liked were the small bits of information that Taj – and the reader – would slowly discover throughout the story. Each one brings a small twist, a bit of a mystery uncovered, until the ending will leave you breathless. Reading the book felt like a bunch of flowering questions blooming throughout the middle, but with the ending comes a final twist that answered many of my questions (while creating even more). Of course, there is definitely a cliffhanger, making room for readers to discover more about the world of BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT as Taj uncovers hidden truths. I really liked reading from Taj’s first person POV and his at-first foolish confidence. He’s very sure of his abilities as an aki, with a bunch of marks that don’t fade to prove it and the nicknames “Lightbringer” and “Sky-Fist” to boost his self-esteem. But Onyebuchi doesn’t make it easy for him, as he’s constantly stuck in circumstances that really make it so he works hard to prove his worth. It was enjoyable to read his conflicting thoughts as he experiences both the weary streets of the Forum and the lavish styles of the castle, giving a character complexity that really made him shine. I wasn’t a big fan of the developing romance in this one; it came a bit out of nowhere and didn’t really have a steady progression. I thought it was rather hasty of Taj to have those feelings and the love interest is never really developed. But it’s actually a VERY intriguing addition to the plot and plays a role in how the story will unfold. And the way it plays out? Plus points from me. What made my heart swell the most, however, were the interactions between Taj and his fellow aki. I loved their constant banter and love and support system. Whether it’s the reticent big-brother Bo and his steady leadership or the small but devotedly loyal Omar, each of the aki were just radiant. The small acts of camaraderie and affection, sacrifice and understanding, between them was awesome to see on the pages. There are also more intricate relationships and characters, from the curious yet ignorant Mage, Aliya, to the compassionate and warm Aunties Nawal and Sania, to the powerful and mysterious aki, Zainab. I for one can’t wait to see more of these characters and the way their actions will lead the future of the city of Kos. “‘Sin-beasts are shadows, beasts made of night. And an aki is like a ray of sunlight that comes down from the sky and shatters the sin, kills the shadow.’” From the dark, magical setting to the complex characters and plot full of twists, BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT is a fantasy not to be missed. If you’re a bit miffed by the pace, stay tuned, because that ending will make it worth the read. Fantasy readers will definitely want to grab this one, as it presents dynamic characters, fun dialogue, and a unique premise that I don’t think any fantasy has done before in YA. I know I, for one, be looking out for news of a sequel.

Love, love, loved this story. The feeling of being in the experiences with the main character, Taj, made this such a touching story. From living in undersirable conditions to moving to the grander side of life the author tugs at the heart strings while leaving hope for redemption. The reader will walk with the characters, experience their joys and pains and even though Taj tries to convince himself otherwise, his compassion for others always shines through. I must say I was suprised by the stopping point because I wanted to know more but I definitley will anxiously await the next installment of Taj's story.

I loved the cultural aspect of the book and the sin eaters who fight then devour the sin beasts. Taj starts strong as a character, laid back, but ready to take on the job when needed. The story was interesting and keeps your attention, although the influence of Princess Karima lags but later is a pivotal point. The world is easily absorbed, although lacking some details, and legend engrossing The impoverished lives of the aki are well documented as the indulgent royals who use them to rid their sins. Taj grows and fights for himself and his friends when rebels, royals and beasts clash. Great read, set up for the next book.

 


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