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Review of Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (Razorbill, 2017) is a gorgeous young adult fantasy novel touching on power and inequity with an epic background of magic.

The protagonist, Taj, is an aki who is able to eat the sins of other people to keep them pure. He’s recognized by his peers as being one of the most talented aki in the city, and soon the royal family realizes his ability as well. From there, his life is thrown into a whirlwind of expectations and responsibilities beyond those he already had, taking him away from his found family.

Beasts Made of Night has a lovely, rich world and wonderful characters who will have you rooting for them or cursing their names, depending on the character. Taj feels every bit like a teenage boy checking out the cute girls and having far more people relying on him than most teenagers would be equipped for, as is often the case with young adult protagonists.

If I had one complaint about this book, it’s that it ends incredibly abruptly. From a quick skim of the first few paragraphs of the second book in the duology, Crown of Thunder, it looks as though the second book picks up right at the end of the first book, though it makes me wonder if the original idea was to have one longer book that the publisher opted to split in half. There is definitely a high point to the conflict in this book, but the ending takes that point even higher, and I would have been super frustrated if I had read this prior to the second book coming out!

If you enjoy exploring new fantasy worlds with non-European roots, young adult protagonists, and lush worldbuilding, check out Beasts Made of Night (and then maybe have Crown of Thunder on hand to move directly into when you finish the first book).

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