"...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
Black Panther meets Nnedi Okorafor's Akata Witch in Beasts Made of Night, the first book in an epic fantasy duology.
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.
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Themes of belonging, self-discovery, and inequity round out the richly imagined world of Onyebuchi's debut, where war and dark magic are around every corner. Taj is an aki, a sin eater; important yet reviled, aki battle and consume the sins of others, which take on the physical form of beasts. The tattoos of the sins Taj has eaten cover his body, marking him as other: "The lion etched into my skin will be with me forever now, a marker of Prince Haris's sin. Now he can walk around pure and noble and free while I carry the evidence of his crimes." When Taj and fellow aki Bo are summoned to eat the sin of King Kolade himself, the dragon that manifests from his sin nearly kills Taj, resulting in a tattoo unlike any other. Immediately threatened with arrest, Taj flees but is captured and forced into the king's service. Onyebuchi's worldbuilding is vivid and beguiling, and Taj's outward cockiness hides a core of vulnerability. A coming revolution will have readers looking forward to the next book. Ages 12 up.