DNF - 2 STARS
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.
I received an e-ARC of this novel from Penguin Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
When I first heard about this novel, I was instantly intrigued - I had never read a Nigerian-influenced novel before, let alone a fantasy one. However, I came to the decision to DNF at 66%. I didn’t make this decision easily, and I feel as if I have left myself down for not finishing, but I just couldn’t continue.
At first, I was really excited and intrigued by the novel and the premise; however, that quickly dissipated as I found myself getting easily distracted and putting the book down, which for me, is not a good sign.
I persisted and I started to find some promising points within the novel, the sins were very interesting and the way they manifested etc. The magic of it all was fascinating, and I felt it represented an insight into how in some countries/cultures (and some privileged people) view the under-privileged, and how, if you’re different, you’re seen as something to be avoided. In this case, the aki (sin-eaters) were seen as dirty, as they were marked (tattooed) by the sins they ate to keep the privileged “pure”.
The aki were controlled by the mages – people with the ability to draw the sin into “form” – where the aki then killed the “beasts” and fed. I loved the concept of it all. But the novel lost me as soon as it hit “insta love” (instant love). All of a sudden, a princess was on the scene, and she and Taj touched a handful of times, and Taj loved her? It made no sense to me, and was so left-field, it threw me out of the book.
While I found the concept interesting, I found that I was unable to connect to a single character, and the “insta love” halfway through the novel nearly killed it for me. I continued in the hope that I would find something that clicked, but there was nothing. The main protagonist, Taj, infuriated me. He was childish in my opinion, even though he was supposed to have matured fast. He was the “Lightbringer”, but he was just so frustrating, and his immaturity as he trained other aki ruined the book for me.
To top it off, the plot felt disjointed. One minute Taj was a “dirty aki” on the streets, called to the palace to eat sins – the next minute he was serving as the king’s personal aki, where he fell in love with someone he barely knew. Then, Taj was suddenly asked to lead the aki (sin-eater) training, and had to leave the palace. It felt like he had only been there for all of five minutes in the first place.
I will attempt to give this novel another try upon its paperback release in October 2017 – perhaps the ebook format hindered my read – but for now this novel will sit as a DNF.
I'm giving it 2 STARS as I will purchase this upon it's release.