When I first heard about this book I was immediately interested. I haven't read a Nigerian influenced fantasy before, so I thought that this would be really unique and have some intriguing concepts. I really liked the idea of this book and I was interested enough in the world to enjoy reading this, but there are also a few aspects of this book that I didn't really enjoy.
I highly enjoyed the idea of sin beasts and the aki. It's unique and unlike anything I've ever read before, so I was really interested in that. I would have liked things to be a little more clear with the world building though, like what math has to do with the Unnamed. It wasn't entirely clear to me why the aki are treated so poorly by the Mages and the rest of their society, other than this is what happens. The ideas were great, I just enjoy a little more clarification when it comes to things I'm not really familiar with and especially in fantasy worlds.
The main plot wasn't anything out of the ordinary, which was kind of disappointing, but it wasn't boring. I didn't really understand the reasoning behind Taj getting brought to the palace just to be shipped off to train aki. It seemed like an easy was for Taj and the princess to meet, but it didn't really make a whole lot of sense, especially considering how aki are viewed in this society. There was a lot of build up to the ending and most of it felt a little like filler. I wish that the more exciting stuff at the end of the book had taken up more of the story. It wasn't really a rushed ending, but I would have enjoyed it more if it was more drawn out. I haven't seen anything about a sequel yet, but there must be one coming because the ending was a little bit of a cliffhanger.
While the characters weren't bad, they also didn't feel unique. There was nothing that really stood out to me about any of the characters. Taj is super special and it's never really explained why and it doesn't really seem necessary for people to keep saying that. Having a super special main character is something that bothers me because it's essentially saying that this person is important and the hero because they're so special. Taj really cares about his fellow aki, but I didn't really feel a connection to the people he cares about. The romance felt like it came out of nowhere. As soon as Taj and the princess met, it seemed like they were into each other and I didn't really get it. It seemed like Taj liked her just because she was pretty and the princess, which isn't a good reason to like someone.
I especially enjoyed the writing during scenes with the sin beasts. I could vividly picture the beasts and the action that was happening. The descriptions of the world were also very easy to picture. Where the writing fell flat was with the character development. Overall, I did like the story though, which is unusual for me because good character development is something that is usually a must.
I did have a few issues with the book, but as a whole I liked it, mainly because it was so unique to me. If there is a sequel, then I may pick it up, but I won't be in rush.
*I received this from First Reads in exchange for an honest review