cover image Beasts Made of Night

Beasts Made of Night

Tochi Onyebuchi. Razorbill, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-448-49390-9

Themes of belonging, self-discovery, and inequity round out the richly imagined world of Onyebuchi’s debut, where war and dark magic are around every corner. Taj is an aki, a sin eater; important yet reviled, aki battle and consume the sins of others, which take on the physical form of beasts. The tattoos of the sins Taj has eaten cover his body, marking him as other: “The lion etched into my skin will be with me forever now, a marker of Prince Haris’s sin. Now he can walk around pure and noble and free while I carry the evidence of his crimes.” When Taj and fellow aki Bo are summoned to eat the sin of King Kolade himself, the dragon that manifests from his sin nearly kills Taj, resulting in a tattoo unlike any other. Immediately threatened with arrest, Taj flees but is captured and forced into the king’s service. Onyebuchi’s worldbuilding is vivid and beguiling, and Taj’s outward cockiness hides a core of vulnerability. A coming revolution will have readers looking forward to the next book. Ages 12–up. Agent: Noah Ballard, Curtis Brown. (Oct.)