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Beasts of Prey
Magic doesn’t exist in the broken city of Lkossa anymore, especially for girls like sixteen-year-old Koffi. Indentured to the notorious Night Zoo, she cares for its fearsome and magical creatures to pay off her family’s debts and secure their eventual freedom. But the night her loved ones’ own safety is threatened by the Zoo’s cruel master, Koffi unleashes a power she doesn’t fully understand–and the consequences are dire.
As the second son of a decorated hero, Ekon is all but destined to become a Son of the Six–an elite warrior–and uphold a family legacy. But on the night of his final rite of passage, a fire upends his plans. In its midst, Ekon not only encounters the Shetani–a vicious monster that has plagued the city and his nightmares for nearly a century–but a curious girl who seems to have the power to ward off the beast. Koffi’s power ultimately saves Ekon’s life, but his choice to let her flee dooms his hopes of becoming a warrior.
Desperate to redeem himself, Ekon vows to hunt the Shetani down and end its reign of terror, but he can’t do it alone. Meanwhile, Koffi believes finding the Shetani and selling it for a profit could be the key to solving her own problems. Koffi and Ekon–each keeping their true motives secret from the other–form a tentative alliance and enter into the unknowns of the Greater Jungle, a world steeped in wild magic and untold dangers. The hunt begins. But it quickly becomes unclear whether they are the hunters or the hunted.
In this much-anticipated series opener, fate binds two Black teenagers together as they strike a dangerous alliance to hunt down the ancient creature menacing their home–and discover much more than they bargained for.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
“Destiny is not a single path, but many. Some are as straight as an arrow, others twist and tangle like thread. Our duty is not to question them, but to follow them.”
(4.5 / 5) This was fabulous! I wanted to read it in one day. It’s almost 500 pages! It hooked me right from the start and I couldn’t wait to get back to reading.
“Often, we run from painful things and hope that they will tire of chasing us. But in truth, avoiding our troubles simply gives them more sustenance, allowing them to eventually consume us whole. Only when we cast light on them and acknowledge them can they truly be vanquished, allowing our spirits to be free.”
Koffi and her mom are indentured to a circus. A tragedy leaves her running for her life where she runs into Ekon and their paths converge. They embark on an adventure in the jungle that kept me flipping pages with my eyes bugging out of my head. The spiders? <shiver> What is it with beasts and creatures and mysterious jungles that makes me so giddy? I think it’s the Indiana Jones that I grew up on. Bring on all the adventure, I’m here for it!
The romance was there but it did not take over the plot, which to me, was fabulous. I think a book needs romance but that it shouldn’t overshadow what is going on around them. This is the perfect example of that. There was adventure and excitement on every page with romance as the side story.
“Maybe there’s a beauty in the scars,” she said. “Because they’re a reminder of what’s been faced, and what’s been survived.”
There is rumor for a sequel which is good because I still have a few questions that need answered! I will be stalking this series and author until I hear more. This could be one of my fav reads of the year!
Content Summary: As the author states on Goodreads, there are physical/verbal abuse (minor), blood, bodies/corpses, bones, death/dying, drug use, captivity/kidnapping, murder is referenced, sexism/misogyny, mild sexual content, slavery/indentured servitude, spiders, mild violence. Phew! That was a lot. As you can see from my review, there is absolutely NO LANGUAGE, very little intimacy, some violence. I believe most will be able to read this one!
Thank you to Penguin Teen for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.
The book releases September 28, 2021.
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms and cursing unique to the book etc-
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
Hasira drug leaves a person subdued or knocks out who eats them. Even the scent has the effect.
A young woman collapses from a poison. She is in and out of consciousness and in immense pain.
A young man is drunk at a celebration. Wine is served.
A man and young man smoke a pipe of hallucinogenic leaves. The young man’s eyes turn glassy and his pupils dilate.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*No LGBTQ+ aspects included*
A young man kisses a young woman. She kisses him more. They lie on the ground and kiss more.
Two young men vaguely suggest a young man rapes a young woman.
A young woman lays unconscious and naked. A young man looks at her.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A woman is whipped as punishment.
Someone throws a rock, hitting a woman in the head and knocking her unconscious. Blood pools beneath her.
A young woman kicks a man in the crotch.
In a match, a young woman uses magic and accidentally breaks a young man’s bones.
A woman uses a young woman’s blood for a spell-type act.
A creature convinces a young man that he wants to kill a young woman and take her face. He held a knife to her throat. The young woman sends magic at the creature, burning him as he screams.
**SPOILER** Men throw a spear at a human-like creature, grazing it. Then a noose is thrown over it’s head and a spear thrust in its side. A young woman uses magic to burn one of the men. She is tied up and taken captive.
**BIG SPOILER** Young men are drugged and ordered to brutally kill many people.
A young woman hits a young man, making him unconscious.
A young man has been attacked and bitten by animals. He dies.
A human-like creature is cut and bruised severely from abuse by her captors.
A man sends magic into a young man’s body, causing him to writhe and scream in agony.
Two young women fight a man with magic. One headbutts him, he lashes her face and throws her. He punches the next young woman, knocking her unconscious.
Two young men fight, one pinning the other down, the other kicking him away. One tries to choke the other
Potentially Intense Themes
A beast attacks those that go into the jungle. Many are found dismembered. Blood and a “putrid smell” is found.
Something explodes and a circus tent goes up in flames. People are screaming and trying to get out.
Shetani- creature with black eyes, pink skin, sharp teeth, long claws.
Previously, a young man’s father was found dead, mauled by an animal.
There are many unusual dangers in the jungle. A fog that sedates, a large spider has the face and torso of an old man but 8 spider legs, trees form faces of people causing hallucination-like images, an infinite number of spiders attack a young man, a creature has the body of a snake and the head of an elephant.
Previously, a young woman watched her father die of a mosquito sickness.
A young woman speaks with kind spirits.
A creature shows itself as an innocent young girl then reveals itself with black eyes and black and swollen skin. It has long sharp teeth. It wanted to cut off a young woman’s face to keep.
**Any quotes from the book are taken from the advance copy and therefore may not be fully accurate or correctly compare to the final copy of the book.
**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.