A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Fantasy meant to entertain. But the fictional world based in African lore from various regions.
Find people who value you and can help you cutlivate your strengths.
Positive Role Models
The main characters, a young man and a young woman, forge an alliance that defies the oppressive social orders of their society. They provide a model for courage, trust, bravery, and integrity. Adult mentors, mostly women and goddesses, offer self-sacrifice and guidance.
The story is set in a fictional world based in African lore from a variety of regions. The main characters are Black, which is shown in their physical descriptions.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
There is some gore, not too much and none of it gratuitious. People are mauled by non-human creatures. The oppressor class uses physical punishment, including caning, toward the people they hold in indenture. Warriors throw rocks and other projectiles at indentured people who are trying to escape during a fire.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
There is a hint of a budding romance between the two main characters (male and female) as they confront danger together.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Beasts of Prey is the first book in a fantasy triology by Ayana Gray. Ekon and Koffi are two teens on the opposite ends of the social order. He's a member of the warrior class, on the cusp of being initiated into its elite. She's an indentured servant at the Night Zoo, attending to and handling dangerous beasts. After a fire at the zoo, Koffi escapes and Ekon makes a decision that causes him to be removed from his status. The two form an alliance to protect their village from a legendary monster on the loose in their village, Lkossa. There's a hint of a budding romance between the two as they confront danger together. There's some gore, not too much and none of it gratuitious. People are mauled by non-human creatures. The oppressor class uses physical punishment, including caning, toward the people they hold in indenture. Warriors throw rocks and other projectiles at indentured people who are trying to escape during a fire. Beasts of Prey is in development as a Netflix feature film.
Is It Any Good?
This sweet novel packs an ambitious social commentary. With Beasts of Prey, the first book of a planned trilogy, debut author Ayana Gray builds a world that mirrors the pan-African reality: ethnic groups divided against other groups by war, and from within by disruptions to their previous relationships to their origin stories, lanugages, and cultural identities and people impacted by generations of oppression, represented here by hereditary indenture. Its main characters and secondary characters alike provide examples of individuals and peoples rediscovering their power and reclaiming it. The two protagonists are easy to root for. They're vulnerable. They struggle with fear, shame, and grief from loss of loved ones, betrayal, uncertainty about their place in society. Yet they're also courageous, determined, and loyal -- traits that serve them well when they battle inner demons and illusions, real-life monsters, other people, and the structure of society itself. Readers may notice a few loose ends, which set them up for the next two books in the series.
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Thrilling Books for Teens Who Love Fantasy
Romantic Fantasy Books for Teens
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate