A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Beasts Made of Night is the first volume of a fantasy series by debut novelist Tochi Onyebuchi. It's set in a world where the sins of the ruling class can be devoured by lower-caste teenaged "aki," leaving the aristocrats free from feelings of guilt. Inspired by Nigerian folklore, the novel features people of color as main characters and represents a sophisticated example of fantasy world-building. Violent scenes include the destruction of a neighborhood in a fiery "Baptism" and showdowns between Taj and a deadly array of sin-beasts. Drug use includes the ingesting of powdered jewels.
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What's the story?
At the beginning of BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT, Taj the Lightbringer is fed up with having to eat the sins of the upper class by battling the shadowy creatures that come out of them. But the walled city of Kos offers few methods of finding safety for his family, so when Taj is offered a post exclusively servicing the royal family, he takes it. Soon, however, he finds himself enmeshed in a dangerous court conspiracy, one that threatens all of Kos. He must prepare to battle the worst sins humankind can muster.
Is it any good?
Creating a fantasy that avoids the usual European-based fixtures can be hard work, but when the efforts pay off, they can be extremely satisfying, as they are in this Africa-inspired adventure. With Beasts Made of Night, debut novelist Tochi Onyebuchi creates a vibrant, intricately detailed fantasy world filled with wonder and treachery. The pace is a little slow at first, as Onyebuchi lays the groundwork necessary for the reversals that occur in the book's second half. Fans of Nnedi Okorafor are likely to be tuned to the novel's wavelength, but Beasts Made of Night is likely to appeal to a wide range of readers, who will be riveted by the shocking cliffhanger ending.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Beasts Made of Night reflects Nigerian folklore. How do fantasy writers use aspects of global mythology to create fictional worlds?
Beasts Made of Night features characters who are "sin-eaters." How does the notion of sin inform modern religions? What kinds of behavior are classified as sins?
How should a person make amends for a past wrongdoing? What behaviors lead to reconciliation, or to further resentment?
- Author: Tochi Onyebuchi
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Razorbill
- Publication date: October 31, 2017
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks
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