ARC Review – Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

There was a time when I had it in my head that I’d write these ARC reviews close to when the books release. Seems very organized, right? Sure does! But then I realized that I COULD NOT WAIT TWO WHOLE MONTHS to talk about this book, so I’m done being organized. I’m going to review ARCs as I read them and sprinkle my backlist reviews throughout. Savvy?

Okay, so. THIS BOOK. When I heard about Beasts Made of Night, I wanted it. When I saw the cover, I WANTED IT. When it came up on First to Read, I CLICKED THE REQUEST BUTTON SO HARD. And I was lucky enough to get a copy, even luckier that it worked perfectly in both #ARCAugust and #TheReadingQuest, and now, here we are. So what’s this book about? It’s got the most fascinating premise.

In the walled city of Kos, sins make people physically ill. The more sins in people’s bodies, the sicker they become. Lucky for the royals, there is a type of person within Kos that is predisposed to eating sin-beasts, to taking away people’s sins and keeping them in their own bodies. They’re called the aki, and they are despised in Kos, spit on in the streets, shunned. All because of the tattoos of the sin-beasts on their bodies. You see, when one eats a sin, an animal version of that sin appears on the aki’s skin. Most sin marks fade with time.

Taj’s do not.

Taj is our main character, the most experienced and skilled aki in Kos. His skin is nearly covered with sin-beasts, and he’s not slowing down. But then he goes to the palace to help his best friend Bo, another aki, eat one of the sins belonging to the king of Kos, and Bo can’t do it. Taj calls the sin beast off, not allowing Bo to be “killed” by it. No one has ever commanded a sin-beast before, and that sets a plot in motion that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Well, I was on the edge of mine. (There’s a sequel, right?!)


3 Things I Loved

  1. Taj’s growth. When we meet Taj at the beginning of the story, he’s hardened. He pretends he doesn’t care about anyone but himself and says it’s the only way to live as an aki. But it’s clear that his actual feelings don’t match his logic. As the story goes on, we see him caring about his friends, about his guardian, about the princess and the mage scholar and about other aki, younger aki in particular. He was trying to protect both his heart and the hearts of others, since aki live such short lives. I loved reading his growth. I loved everything about him as a character.
  2. Taj’s platonic female friendships. While Taj isn’t looking for a heart-mate, it’s clear that girls are attracted to him. And he becomes close to these girls, but not necessarily romantically. Even when *SPOILER* the princess kisses him near the end, it doesn’t feel romantic. I felt that these relationships were platonic, and I liked that in that frame of reference. In the eventual sequel (PLEASE?!), Aliya remains a platonic friend.
  3. The concept of sin eating. This was banana-pants, but also the most wonderful aspect of this world building. I absolutely loved the concept of certain people being in charge of eating the sins of the royal, the pure. And what I loved even more was that our protagonist was a sin-eater himself, rather than a royal. This was one of those stories where our protagonist is gifted and must lead a revolution, but it felt fresh and flipped on its head. I loved everything about the world building in this book.

Anything Problematic?

This was a very diverse book, based on Nigerian folklore. However, it was very discriminant against anyone that isn’t allocishet – there was nothing that resembled homosexuality or any part of the sexuality spectrum in this book. Granted, it wasn’t a love story, per se, but still. Representation matters. While this story was located in a wonderful world, clearly based on central Africa… there were other aspects missing.


A reminder of the rating scale:

  • Red = DNF, I hated everything
  • Orange = Ugh, no thank you
  • Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
  • Green = This was good, but not something I’d reread
  • Blue = Oh my gosh, everyone should be reading this book
  • Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart

Beasts Made of Night is amazing, and I’m giving it a BLUE rating. I know that there have been some complaints about the story being slow and boring, but I really hope people stick it out. This is the type of fantasy that I’ve been waiting for, and I’m ready for more.

Thank you to First to Read and the publisher for providing an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions in any way, and I plan on purchasing this book when it is released (on October 31, 2017).

Happy reading!



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