Title: Beasts Made of Night
Author: Tochi Onyebuchi
Date: October 31st 2017
Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi is a Nigerian-inspired Young Adult fantasy book. The protagonist is Taj and he’s one the aki, people who can eat sins. Their job is a dangerous one, in fact there are no adult aki. When an aki eats a sin, a painful process, he gains a tattoo that fades with time; however Taj’s tattooes never fades, making him different from others.
I highly enjoyed this book. The author created such a beautiful world, inspired by her mother’s stories on Lagos, that I was compelled by the story to finish it in two sessions. Tochi Onyebuchi masterfully portrayed how a society based on ‘spiritual purity and sinlessness’, as the author said, excluded and mistreated aki, just because they carried on their body one’s sins.
Taj is fed up with his world. He has to do one, if not the most dangerous job in the world, and he doesn’t even earn well to pay off his parents’ death. He’s unique and good in what he does. Taj is intelligent and agile, someone who knows the true face of society.
Another character I liked was Aliya, though I’d have preferred it if the author told us more about her. She was curious and fearless and she didn’t despise the aki. Even though she could live a better little life thanks to the Mages, those people who called forth the sins from a person, she showed to know what was good from what was bad.
The world-building was well done and the writing style was enticing. However the story started with a slow pace that made certain parts boring, but it gradually went faster.
I highly enjoyed the book; I was able to learn more about Nigerian culture, especially its food (that made me hungry!), and the author made me more curious about it. I give Beasts Made of Night 4 out of 5 stars.
About the author
Tochi Onyebuchi is a writer based in Connecticut. He holds a MFA in Screenwriting from Tisch and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. His writing has appeared in Asimov’s and Ideomancer, among other places. Beasts Made of Night is his debut.