In the sequel to the acclaimed Beasts Made of Night, Taj has escaped Kos, but Queen Karima will go to any means necessary–including using the most deadly magic–to track him down.
Taj is headed west, but the consequences of leaving Kos behind confront him at every turn. Innocent civilians flee to refugee camps as Karima’s dark magic continues to descend on the city. Taj must return, but first he needs a plan.
With Arzu’s help, Taj and Aliya make it to the village of her ancestors, home of the tastahlik–sin-eaters with Taj’s same ability to both battle and call forth sins. As Taj comes to terms with his new magic, he realizes there are two very different groups of tastahlik–one using their powers for good, the other for more selfish ends.
Aliya is struggling with her own unique capabilities. She’s immersed in her work to uncover the secret to Karima’s magic, but her health begins to mysteriously deteriorate. With the help of a local western mage, Aliya uncovers her true destiny–a future she’s not sure she wants.
As Taj and Aliya explore their feelings for each other and Arzu connects with her homeland, the local westerners begin to question Taj’s true identity. Karima is on his heels, sending dark warnings to the little village where he’s hiding. Taj will have to go back and face her before she sends her most deadly weapon–Taj’s former best friend, Bo.
This was a fantastic follow up to BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT. I particularly love the dark elements of the original fantasy (I’m pre-destined to love anything that’s pitched as a dark fantasy, you guys), such as the Sin-Eaters (omg the sin-eaters). The plot remained pretty much grounded in short, snappy action sequences, and this made for a super quick read (both for BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT, and its follow-up, CROWN OF THUNDER).
The writing remained as strong as in the first installment, if not slightly more refined. One thing that I would love to point out in particular is the level of character development that this sequel put forth – we definitely get to see familiar characters from a different angle, their complex relationships are sufficiently explored, and they’re thus given that vital spark that finally made them click with me.
So all in all? I’m definitely down for reading more.
Thanks so much to Penguin for providing me with ARCs!
Tochi Onyebuchi holds a BA from Yale, an MFA in screenwriting from Tisch, a master’s degree in global economic law from L’institut d’études politiques, and a JD from Columbia Law School. His writing has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction and Ideomancer, among other places. Tochi resides in Connecticut, where he works in the tech industry.
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