I got this one off a Kindle Daily Deal because the description was too interesting to pass up. Lower class has a sect of people born to absorb other people’s “sins” and another sect that can draw them out of people. They work in pairs, the mage draws the sin out, the Eater eats it and it appears as an animal tattoo on their skin – the larger the sin, the larger the tattoo/the fiercer the animal. This process is necessary because if they don’t keep the sins contained, huge ancient beings will come and raze their city to the ground.
I liked this story for the food and the cool new magic system. The idea that you would carry the burdens of other people permanently on your skin as part of your job is rich in cultural and societal implications. This belongs in the group of books that I would recommend for a high school curriculum. Every chapter would fuel a discussion about race, class, and culture, specifically African culture (I liked the replacement of the jollof wars with the pepper soup wars, it was a nice add).
My only critique is that the book seemed to start four different times. Taj is one of the best Eaters, his friend gets invited to the palace instead of him, and he insists on tagging along and push leads to shove Taj becomes the official court Eater…for about one minute until he’s threatened and forced to leave the city to train new, young Eaters. Okay, so he leaves and now we see him as a leader, surely this is going to develop…until rebels show up to convince him to kidnap the King to force him to say that things will be different. Okay so we’re doing this now.
It was like 4-5 novellas in one book – it’s a little difficult to explain, but the story didn’t seem to flow well from one chapter to the next. Everything was interesting, don’t get me wrong, but it was different in terms of the movement of the story from beginning to end. Everything happened with barely any passage of time and it pulled me out of the action a lot.
Overall it was an interesting read and I’m glad I picked it up. I’ll be on the lookout for its sequel, Crown of Thunder, to go on sale as well.
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