A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Set in a fantasy world inspired by African folklore, Beasts Made of Night examines sinfulness and the possibility of redemption.
Each person should take responsibility for his or her feelings of guilt.
Positive Role Models
Taj is the most formidable sin-eater in the kingdom -- brave, loyal, resourceful, and committed. He bristles against injustice and works hard to protect his family and friends.
Violence & Scariness
When the aki take in the sins of the guilty, they must control the sin-beasts that manifest. Beasts Made of Night features a number of physical showdowns between Taj and monsters such as dragons and griffins.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Taj is smitten by the princess, who flirts with him and seems to take him into her confidence.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Addicts grind jewels into powder and snort it.
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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 teen "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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.