Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Beasts Made of Night" by Tochi Onyebuchi

FTC disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the author for review consideration.

Today I can finally share a book I have been excited about for months. I had the pleasure of working with Tochi Onyebuchi on the Morningside Muckraker, and he graced this blog with a guest post this time last year. Back in the spring, he sent me an ARC of his debut YA novel, "Beasts Made of Night." When I was working nonstop and traveling across the country, this was the book that kept me company. It was the only novel that held my attention and gave me a few minutes of escape from pressing work demands. I'm thrilled everyone can finally discover the beautifully rendered world of Kos.

Taj is the most talented of the sin eaters, individuals with the rare ability to take on the sins of others. By conquering the shadowy manifestations of others' sins and assuming the accompanying guilt, the original sinner can live without the sin on their conscious. The wealthy of Kos hire these sin eaters while society as a whole reviles them.When Taj is called to the palace to eat hte sins of royalty, he finds himself embroiled in a vast conspiracy that threatens his family & the city he serves.

In the sin eaters, Onyebuchi has created a necessary but scorned subclass of children. They are torn from their impoverished families to serve an upper class that can't be bothered with their basic needs or even their very humanity. These children band together to care for and teach one another, creating a new family about whom Taj cannot help but care deeply. Beyond this family, Taj builds relationships with a variety of strong female secondary characters. A princess, a scholar, an outlaw, and an expert vie for Taj's attention, offering clues to & opinions on the conspiracy underlying Kos's existence.

This is a novel of inequality and oppression, of hope and empowerment, set in a lushly imagined, Nigerian-inspired world. It is a tale of casting off society's assigned roles and reclaiming one's identity. Simply put, I loved this novel & think you will, too.

Verdict: Affirmed. YA fantasy fans & readers looking for diverse reads and/or fresh, inventive plots, this is a must-read novel from a powerful voice.

"Beasts Made of Night" by Tochi Onyebuchi, published October 31, 2017 by Razorbill.

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