Review: Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Title: Beasts Made of Night

Author: Tochi Onyebuchi

Pub. Date: October 31st, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher:  Razorbill

Pages: 304

Format: eGalley

Rating: 3.75


In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.

A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.

Beasts Made of Night is a rich new YA Fantasy centered around Taj and his group of Aki friends who all have one thing in common…they are outcasts of the same society that needs them to ward off evil. The Aki are sought out by Mages to eat the sins of others for which they are in turn paid. Once a Aki eats a sin beast, a tattoo appears on their skin. The severity of the sin determines the size of the animal. With time, the tattoos fade from the Aki’s skin however, this is not the case with Taj. A powerful Aki, Taj is the Crown’s personal sin-eater often called to the castle to eat the sins of royalty. Taj’s tattoos do not fade, his skin is covered with them & the sins of others often invade his mind. For the Aki, eating souls is how they earn their living & for Taj it’s how he provides for the family he was forced to leave behind. The Aki are feared by the same people they take on the burden of eating sins for. Their skin covered in tattoos are a reflection of the amount of sins they’ve eaten & also the very same reason for which they’ve been ostracized.

The world Onyebuchi has created in Beasts Made of Night is rich with Nigerian-inspired influences. Details of life in the city of Kos such as the singing & dancing, food, and traditions that commemorate rites of passage for young women excel in transporting the reader into the world of the Aki. The magic system is also well fleshed out, there’s a fee system in place which determines how much a Aki will be paid for eating a sin. Mages also exist in this world & are responsible for seeking out the Aki’s services. The Mages also need to be present for the sin-eating since they utilize their magic to call forth the beast living inside of the “inflicted” human which the Aki ingests. We meet mages in training along the way as well as other groups of characters that further develop this world.

There were a few things I would’ve liked to get more of with regards to character development. Although Taj does live with other Aki who are his close friends, these characters were not deeply fleshed out. There is also the princess who is presented as a love interest at the very end which felt rushed & can definitely be seen as “insta-love.” There is another character in the book that I much preferred as a love interest which is a first for me since I typically ship whoever the author intended 😂

The overall plot also could’ve used more development along the way & I do believe my enjoyment with regards to the world building compensated for some of the plot holes. Pacing typically isn’t a issue with me since I enjoy slower paced reads every now & again however, the last few chapters did feel rushed & open ended. If Onyebuchi were to write a sequel, would I read it? Absolutely! I really enjoyed this new fantasy & the unique magic it brought to the page and will be keeping an eye out for more from this author. When thinking of my rating for this book I took my overall enjoyment of this story into account. I’m a lover of world building, diverse reads, and complex magic systems which all can be found in Beasts Made of Night. I haven’t seen mention of a sequel even though the plot truly piques in the last chapter leaving readers wondering what’s next?!?! This is one story I’d say has the potential for growth and hope to see the author delve deeper into the characters he’s created in this lush world.


HUGE thanks to Razorbill, Penguins First To Read, and Tochi Onyebuchi for the eGalley copy of Beasts Made Of Night in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Bookworms! Beasts Made of Night hits shelves tomorrow! 🎉 will you be picking up your copy? has it made its way onto your TBR? Sound off in the comments down below 💜


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"I didn't choose the Book Life, the Book Life chose me"

23 thoughts on “Review: Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi”

    1. Thanks Larkin! I did enjoy the world building in BMON, I just wish there were a bit more character development to go hand in hand with the lush world the author created. I can see why there were mixed reviews, still hoping for a sequel though since I do Bruce it has potential to be amazing 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review for this book Lilly. 😀 ❤ I'm really glad you enjoyed this one. I read Beasts Made of Night earlier this year and enjoyed it but there were a few issues I had with it I couldn't get past. The main one was one you mentioned in your review; about the character development of some of the other aki, other than Taj, and of the development of Taj's relationship with the Princess. Still the world building was incredible, and that was my favourite part of this book.
    I love your aesthetic as well. Wow it really fits the book and I love that you included it in your review, is this something you'll be doing for all your reviews from now on? I'd love to see more of them from you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Beth! I really did want more from Bo and the other Aki, it seemed at first that when he introduces them into the story that this is what we were going to get. Taj & the princess was not believable at all & I really did think it would be Taj & Aliya shipped so I was taken aback by the direction it took. I just can’t deny that I REALLY enjoyed the world he built. I’ve read other books with soul eaters but none quite like this one where they physically carry the burden of other peoples sins. I have a feeling he tried to wrap things up at the end as a stand-alone but also tried to leave some opening in case a sequel was given & that’s where he went wrong. If a sequel is announced, will you be reading? I’m very curious to see a book 2. As for the aesthetics lol, I realized how long I spent on it when I looked up and the sun had gone down haha! I’m so particular with images but I was very pleased with this one…I think I will continue to do mood boards for books that I really enjoy & thank you for the compliment! ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. 🙂 ❤️ Yeah it would have made what happened at the end of the book with Bo have more weight if we’d gotten more development of his character. Oh I shipped Taj an Aliya more than Taj and the princess. Their relationship had much more development so maybe that’s where the series is eventually going. 🙂
        See that actually makes sense, and it’s a shame because just based on the world building this could have been an incredible book of the ending hadn’t been rushed. I’ll be reading book two if there is one. For the most part I did enjoy Beasts Made of Night and I’d love to read more from the world the author has created if nothing else.
        Oh I’d have done the same. I can spend longer on aesthetics for books than I can the reviews. That’s all right! 🙂 ❤️


    1. Thank you Raven! I myself had mixed feelings towards the very end of the book more so than anything else. I was impressed with the lush world building & complex magic system in this debut & that really weighed in on my rating which borders on 3.75 stars. That being said, the ending was rushed & I really wished he had fleshed out the other Aki because when introduced, they really pique your interest. There’s a a group of Aki he lives with & is sort of their leader/mentor, we get surface descriptions of each ones personality. I wanted more from them but the world itself & his descriptions of the world legit make you feel as if you’re in Kos. Hoping for a sequel at the very least, thanks again Raven 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome review! This sounds like an intriguing premise…taking on the horrific burden of other people’s sins (one can only imagine the sins of a royal family!) and having to live with the physical and psychological results of it, but having no choice.
    I’ve seen what you describe about the other Aki who live with Taj in other books. So much effort is put into rendering the protagonist into a realistic, believable character that the side characters are often forgotten!
    Pleased you enjoyed it for the the most part 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jazz! ” So much effort is put into rendering the protagonist into a realistic, believable character that the side characters are often forgotten” yes! absolutely the case here. Such lush world building & complex magic system but not w/out its flaws. Character development for all the other Aki left much to be desired. The optimist in me really hopes this gets a sequel & author gives it a go at fleshing them out with better pacing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The book is a mess in my opinion and it was thrilling reading popular Nigerian words and names. But the story itself wasn’t clear and there wasn’t really much of an explanation to why these things happen. I also hated the love in this story and the end was so rush. This book disappointed me, and it makes me sad to say so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear that, it’s never a good feeling when a book we want to love for it’s diversity, disappoints. I def agree that there were pacing issues, the ending & the romance felt very rushed. It made me wonder afterwards if this was the author’s attempt to wrap up the story as a stand-alone with hopes of a sequel but no real certainty. I thought Taj would’ve been shipped with Aliya tbh but that wasn’t the case. My overall enjoyment of the world building is what kept me invested, I would like to see the author flesh out his characters more in his next book. I’m also hoping that if this has a sequel, that the princess as a love interest idea is ditched. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Imagine how I feel as a Nigerian lol. Hopefully there’s a book 2 and I knew the princess was fishy, Aliya is perfect but I see sparks that Taj was forming also for the female guard


  4. Loved your review, Lilly, and your aesthetic is so, so pretty as well ❤ I have been hearing some mixed things about this book so far, but I have to admit that the world makes me very curious. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, though, might convince me to try it out sometime 😀


  5. That aesthetic ❤ I love how I always leave your reviews knowing whether to bother or not haha. I cannot recall ever having read a Nigerian influenced title, so that along with the very original concept promise to make this a fun read for me. I think I could even forgive the issues regarding the characters and story development quite easily! Me wants haha – xx


  6. I am always so disappointed when I read an ARC expecting it to be a standalone and I’m left hanging! Will this become part of a series? Am a stuck with a demi-open ending where the author is obviously trying to develop a series but the publisher hasn’t bought into it yet?! Sigh. I’m so sorry that happened to you, Lilly.

    That said– your aesthetic is brilliant. I love the images you’ve selected! They really well reflect both your review and the synopsis. I am certainly intrigued, but I’ll wait to see if there is more on if this is becoming a series. I adore African-inspired fantasy novels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The day after I posted my review for Beasts Made of Night, Tochi tweeted that he had just submitted the sequel to his publicist & it made my ❤ happy! I'm hoping it's better/stronger than this one cuz I do see a ton of potential & the world building is hands down A++ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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