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.
I received and eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
You know what the best part of a book is? It’s the moment that you realize that there is no possible way you’ll stop reading until you finish the book. I hit that point at around 65% in this book, and I swear I couldn’t have been paid to put my kindle down. Don’t get me wrong, I was hooked on the plot and the characters almost immediately, but that last 35% was insanely binge-able.
As the ridiculously beautiful cover probably indicates, the world Ayana Gray has created is rich, lush, and full of animals, creatures and lore that I honestly can’t wait to learn more about. The writing was absolutely transportive and I sunk into the world easily every time I read it. The pacing was quick from the beginning, and I was so eager to find out what would happen next that I didn’t even try to make predictions as I read.
Naturally, my favorite thing about Beasts of Prey is the characters. I have a very serious soft spot for Ekon and only grew to love him more with each page. Gray made him almost immediately relatable with his anxious and compulsive tendencies. He’s a character that I think a lot of people will be able to see themselves in, and his motivations as a character were easy to understand.
Koffi is equally amazing in her own way. I loved her loyalty and the way that she constantly kept her loved ones in mind. She was argumentative at times, but almost exclusively in situations in which she was fighting for something she was passionate about. I look forward to learning more about her family history and am so nervous to see what is coming for her in the next book!
In case you were unsure, I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to add a finished copy to my favorites shelf. This is absolutely a book you’ll want to preorder.