In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.
Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.
When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.
A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.
I was expecting a lot of this one (I mean, a Nigerian-influenced fantasy where most characters are black and the mythology is incredible? Sounds amazing) but it sadly fell flat for me.
First of all, the world is gorgeous. I loved the concept of sin-beasts and aki and Mages, and all of it was done really well. At some points I got pretty lost because the author doesn’t waste time trying to explain the world or how everything works, but I got used to it and the story started to flow. But then came in my biggest problem with this book: it is too slow and the villains aren’t interesting enough.
Now, I like slow books. I’m a fan of adult fantasy after all, where things are usually less fast paced than in YA, but Beasts Made of Night didn’t draw me in. I didn’t get a sense of cause and consequence in the book, so to speak; things happened almost as if the character had to wait for them to happen and not because the plot advanced or because the characters themselves made it move. At one point, for example, Taj, the main character, is chosen as the royal aki aka the royal sin-beast eater, but…. he never does anything while in the job. He is called zero times to Eat and spends most of his stay in the palace eating, sleeping and talking with the princess. Then he leaves to train the young akis but out of nowhere weeks have passed and he’s already used to training them. Like, what? He left the palace literally in the last chapter.
The ending is…. well, it could’ve been great. Have I talked about how wonderful the worldbuilding is? Because it is awesome and in the ending that is made quite clear. But the antagonist ends up being super disappointing. Can’t say who because spoilers, but they were cartoonish, almost childish, and I couldn’t take them seriously. Same for the plot twist re: one of the characters. I didn’t see it coming, but it didn’t feel believable.
Honestly, this one feels more like a draft than a polished, published book. Beasts Made of Night has incredible ideas and characters that could’ve been great, but all that is buried in a story that drags and doesn’t seem to go anywhere. The writing, while good, also wasn’t engaging for me, maybe because of Taj’s voice. In the end, I could see how wonderful this book could’ve been, but the execution failed and most of its shine was unfortunately lost.
I don’t think I’ll be reading more in this series. Again, I loved the premise and the world, but the writing and pacing did ruin Beasts Made of Night for me. 2.0 stars.