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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 does 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.


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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 does 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.

30 review for Beasts of Prey

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ayana Gray

    Hello! As this book's author, I really don't feel it's appropriate for me to spend much time in this space. I genuinely believe the relationship a reader has with a book is none of the author's business most of the time. That said, I wanted to use this space to share content warnings for BOP in case that effects your reading experience: Physical/Verbal Abuse (Minor) Blood (Minor) Bodies/Corpses (On Page) Bones Death/Dying (Referenced; On Page) Drug Use (Referenced; On Page) Forced Captivity/Kidnapping M Hello! As this book's author, I really don't feel it's appropriate for me to spend much time in this space. I genuinely believe the relationship a reader has with a book is none of the author's business most of the time. That said, I wanted to use this space to share content warnings for BOP in case that effects your reading experience: Physical/Verbal Abuse (Minor) Blood (Minor) Bodies/Corpses (On Page) Bones Death/Dying (Referenced; On Page) Drug Use (Referenced; On Page) Forced Captivity/Kidnapping Murder (Referenced) Sexism/Misogyny/Toxic Masculinity Sexual Content (Mild) Slavery/Indentured Servitude Spiders Violence (Mild) I've been asked about romance as well, so I'll mention that while there are romantic subplots, they are not the main thrusts of the story. Please feel free to reach out via my website if you have any more questions! For what it's worth, if this book was a movie, I'd rate it PG-13. OKAY I AM BLOCKING THIS PAGE NOW!

  2. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    the magic in this reminded me a lot of ‘the gilded ones’ while the jungle adventure gave me major ‘written in starlight’ vibes. so this was pretty good time all around. i enjoyed the story. its a basic YA fantasy with all the usual tropes, the writing is decent with good pacing, and the characters are enjoyable. other than the own voices narrative, im not sure i can say this adds anything new to the genre. but i think one of the MCs has OCD (dont quote my amateur diagnosis lol), so i did the magic in this reminded me a lot of ‘the gilded ones’ while the jungle adventure gave me major ‘written in starlight’ vibes. so this was pretty good time all around. i enjoyed the story. its a basic YA fantasy with all the usual tropes, the writing is decent with good pacing, and the characters are enjoyable. other than the own voices narrative, im not sure i can say this adds anything new to the genre. but i think one of the MCs has OCD (dont quote my amateur diagnosis lol), so i did appreciate that minor mental health rep. overall, this will be story to look forward to if you enjoy african culture and immersive YA fantasy. thank you gp putnams sons for the ARC. ↠ 3.5 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    Wow this was so fun! Beasts of Prey has been on my radar for a while and I’m very happy to report that it’s exactly as magical and entertaining as I was hoping it would be! Pulling straight from pan-African myth and full of adventure and a lot of heart, I loved every minute spent with this book. Koffi and her mother are indentured workers at the Night Zoo, which houses and displays all kinds of magical creatures from across Eshōza. It’s situated in the city of Lkossa, right on the edge of the Gr Wow this was so fun! Beasts of Prey has been on my radar for a while and I’m very happy to report that it’s exactly as magical and entertaining as I was hoping it would be! Pulling straight from pan-African myth and full of adventure and a lot of heart, I loved every minute spent with this book. Koffi and her mother are indentured workers at the Night Zoo, which houses and displays all kinds of magical creatures from across Eshōza. It’s situated in the city of Lkossa, right on the edge of the Greater Jungle. The jungle is home to many beasts and animals too fearsome for even the Zoo, and none more terrifying than the Shetani. After almost a hundred years of reported deaths at the hands of the Shetani, a recently disgraced candidate for the elite fighting force the Sons of the Six, Ekon, must team up with Koffi. Together they plan to hunt down the Shetani and hopefully free themselves from the difficulties of their current circumstances. Despite my first impressions, this wasn’t really ‘magic zoo’ focused at all. Instead Beasts of Prey is an adventure story where the heart of the action takes place during a long trek in a strange and dangerous jungle. Though if you’re looking for magical beasts of mythological proportions, then never fear, because this book delivers. Though Koffi and Ekon have the same eventual goal, to find the Shetani, their motivations are completely different, and their plans on what to do with it afterwards are at odds. Koffi needs the creature to offer to the owner of the zoo in order to buy freedom for herself and the only remaining family she has left. After making a dire choice on the night of his final test to join the Six, the only way Ekon has a chance to join his brother amongst its ranks is by killing the monster believed to be tormenting Lkossa for the last century. It makes them unlikely allies, but also provides incentives to betray the only other person who they can rely on while exploring a dangerous and unknown environment. Loyalties are tested and each character has to reckon with their own convictions. Beliefs they held all their lives as unshakable truths look suddenly different in new light. Who is deserving of our trust, and what institutions need more scrutiny? As much as this is an epic fantasy full of fun magic and animals, there’s also an exploration of morality and the search for the truth. I’m super excited to see where the story goes from here, as there’s a moderately sized cliffhanger ending in Beasts of Prey. While the immediate danger is gone, there’s still so much left to unpack. I’m very impressed with this debut by Ayana Gray, and look forward to more of her work! **For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    3.5 stars rounded up A solid YA fantasy debut with intriguing world-building and characters that are about what you might expect from the genre. For me the world and magic were definitely the highlight of Beasts of Prey! We follow a girl who is an indentured servant working for the Night Zoo with dangerous animals, and a boy in the final stages of training to become an elite warrior. But the night of a fire at the zoo, everything changes for both of them. The magic, lore, religion and rituals are 3.5 stars rounded up A solid YA fantasy debut with intriguing world-building and characters that are about what you might expect from the genre. For me the world and magic were definitely the highlight of Beasts of Prey! We follow a girl who is an indentured servant working for the Night Zoo with dangerous animals, and a boy in the final stages of training to become an elite warrior. But the night of a fire at the zoo, everything changes for both of them. The magic, lore, religion and rituals are cool and feel like they bring something fresh to the genre, centering Black characters and loosely African ideas. And if you like the idea of fantastical beasts, you just might love that element of the book! The characters are fine and pretty typical of what you would find in YA fantasy. Nothing that really made me fall in love with them, but I'm also not the target demographic! I did like how fierce and determined Koffi is throughout the story. Ekon is clearly intended to be neurodiverse in some way, maybe with OCD and anxiety? It's not totally clear but I appreciate that representation. There is a romance subplot but it's not the main points of the story. Again, it's about what you would expect to find in a first love sort of YA romance and again, I'm not really the target demographic here. The plot was interesting, had some twists that weren't terribly surprising to me, but might be surprising to younger readers who are less familiar with the genre. I was mostly engaged and enjoying the reading experience, though there was one thing I found distracting. Before the two perspectives really sync up, the book does this thing where one character will do something and there's a moment that intersects with the other character. Then it will GO BACK and do the whole lead up to the SAME MOMENT from the other character's perspective. This often felt really unnecessary and like not trusting the reader to put together very simple things. It caused a loss of momentum to the story and really should have been cut out to make things tighter. Overall though, I liked this pretty well and I think it's going to really resonate for some readers. I like the creativity with the world and magic so while I don't know that I would keep reading in this series, I would keep an eye out for books the author would write a bit farther into her writing career. The audiobook has a full cast and is very well produced. Definitely a good way to check this one out! I received an advance audio & digital review copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked)

    **Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending me an arc of this!** This book has officially restored my faith in YA fantasy. Because of that, I'm not sure how I'll remain calm until the next book, given that this isn't actually out until next month. Some things that happened I predicted within the first 15 pages, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment at all. It was refreshing to not have the romance fully take over and the plot get thrown out the window, which definitely added to my enjoyment 😂 I'm **Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending me an arc of this!** This book has officially restored my faith in YA fantasy. Because of that, I'm not sure how I'll remain calm until the next book, given that this isn't actually out until next month. Some things that happened I predicted within the first 15 pages, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment at all. It was refreshing to not have the romance fully take over and the plot get thrown out the window, which definitely added to my enjoyment 😂 I'm going to wait impatiently in the corner until the book is released so I can scream about it with more people, and then continue waiting impatiently until book 2 is released and my needs are fulfilled LOL

  6. 4 out of 5

    Basma

    WOW. This book. What a debut. The cover and the title are a fantastic indication of the kind of story you're in for. This book was a whirlwind of an adventure with some of the coolest worldbuilding. It's a Pan-African fantasy, and I fell immediately in love. If you read the author's note, it details where the inspiration for the world/languages came from and seeing the intricacy and the thoughts behind the worldbuilding was a definite highlight for me. Our main characters (Koffi, Ekon, and Adiah WOW. This book. What a debut. The cover and the title are a fantastic indication of the kind of story you're in for. This book was a whirlwind of an adventure with some of the coolest worldbuilding. It's a Pan-African fantasy, and I fell immediately in love. If you read the author's note, it details where the inspiration for the world/languages came from and seeing the intricacy and the thoughts behind the worldbuilding was a definite highlight for me. Our main characters (Koffi, Ekon, and Adiah) were well developed, and the multiple POVs (as well as timelines) were balanced really well! I did partially call one of the twists from early on, but even then, the full story behind the plot twist was still surprising. I truly loved the dynamic during the jungle adventure and it took everything not to read ahead during my buddy read. This was an absolutely incredible read, and I cannot recommend it enough! Now, I just need book two IMMEDIATELY because that ending was insane. Content warnings from the author: Physical/Verbal Abuse (Minor) Blood (Minor) Bodies/Corpses (On Page) Bones Death/Dying (Referenced; On Page) Drug Use (Referenced; On Page) Forced Captivity/Kidnapping Murder (Referenced) Sexism/Misogyny/Toxic Masculinity Sexual Content (Mild) Slavery/Indentured Servitude Spiders Violence (Mild) I received an e-arc of this title from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    ❀ Rose ❀

    Excuse me while my eyes feast on this absolutely gorgeous cover good god

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maddie

    TW: blood, death, death of a parent, drug use, fire/fire injury, murder, physical abuse, violence. Really enjoyed this one!! I decided to pick it up after hearing so many great things and I was not disappointed. It was a unique, surprising fantasy filled with plot-twists, magic, and two main characters that you can't help but root for. (Koffi and Ekon are both precious and I love them.) It was a bit dark at times, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to younger/more sensitive readers. I'm also s TW: blood, death, death of a parent, drug use, fire/fire injury, murder, physical abuse, violence. Really enjoyed this one!! I decided to pick it up after hearing so many great things and I was not disappointed. It was a unique, surprising fantasy filled with plot-twists, magic, and two main characters that you can't help but root for. (Koffi and Ekon are both precious and I love them.) It was a bit dark at times, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to younger/more sensitive readers. I'm also super impressed that this is Ayana Gray's debut! This was such an immersive, well-written read, especially for being her first (published) book. I look forward to reading whatever she writes in the future. Now, please excuse me as I process that cliffhanger and (im)patiently await book 2.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    I stan an edgy work of dark YA fantasy

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kalena W

    3.5/5 stars, an average ya book with some fun plot twists Thank you Penguin Teen for the arc through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! My review might be kind of short because I don't have a lot of big thoughts about this one. I praise it for its diversity and representation of different cultures, but the pacing and the characters felt a bit off for me. It had a lot of the classic ya tropes, which isn't necessarily a bad thing not every book has to be totally original, it just felt slo 3.5/5 stars, an average ya book with some fun plot twists Thank you Penguin Teen for the arc through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! My review might be kind of short because I don't have a lot of big thoughts about this one. I praise it for its diversity and representation of different cultures, but the pacing and the characters felt a bit off for me. It had a lot of the classic ya tropes, which isn't necessarily a bad thing not every book has to be totally original, it just felt slow because of that. The setting in this book takes place around a magical zoo and a giant magical jungle. The zoo is run by a man who tricks people into helping him as indentured servants, just as Koffi and her mother are at the beginning. There are animals there of varying rarities and it is their job to care for them and put on a show every now and then. There is also a town nearby, run and protected by the Brothers of the Six (the six being their gods). Surrounding both is a great and vast jungle, teeming with magical and ancient creatures that are extremely deadly. The majority of the book takes place in this jungle, and I thought it was in fact unique. The plot of this book, and the pacing included, just felt a bit disjointed to me. It was hard for me to get into it in the beginning, that might have just been my life at the time though. While it was easy to get adapted to the story's environment, the plot felt disjointed as there were POVs thrown at the reader that felt not connected. Obviously, they matter later in the story, but a good 1/3 of the book just felt like a prologue. Once the story moved to the jungle I found it much more enjoyable, overall. The main characters, Koffi and Ekon, felt a lot younger than I think they were supposed to be. They were both fun to watch be around one another, but my biggest problem with them was their decisions. Despite having a map, and a guidebook to the flora and fauna in the jungle, they managed to get themselves into so many undesirable situations. Things they should have known not to do, they did anyways and it honestly was just very juvenile. I think they have the potential to grow, they were just at times, difficult to read about because of their decisions. Overall, it was a fine book, nothing particularly wrong or right. There were a lot of classic tropes but with a diverse world and cast, so that was a big bonus. I haven't decided if I'm going to read the series yet, (the book left on a giant cliffhanger so I assume there will be another book), but we shall see. I know so many people who will adore this story so I really hope you enjoy it! [TW: blood, death, animal abuse, animal death, drug use, death of a parent or loved one]

  11. 5 out of 5

    Angela Staudt

    Beasts of Prey is a fantasy inspired by Pan-African and Own Voices, following two characters that go into the Greater Jungle searching for a monster. Koffi, one of the main characters, works for the Night Zoo because her family has debts to pay. One night her mother is endangered and she unleashes something within her to protect her mom. In the city of Lkossa magic doesn’t exist, but Koffi seems to have discovered magic lurking within her. Ekon, the other main character, has been training his wh Beasts of Prey is a fantasy inspired by Pan-African and Own Voices, following two characters that go into the Greater Jungle searching for a monster. Koffi, one of the main characters, works for the Night Zoo because her family has debts to pay. One night her mother is endangered and she unleashes something within her to protect her mom. In the city of Lkossa magic doesn’t exist, but Koffi seems to have discovered magic lurking within her. Ekon, the other main character, has been training his whole life to be part of the city’s Sons of Six army. During the ritual to become part of the army things get a little crazy and he doesn’t make it as a Sons of Six. Koffi and Ekon’s paths cross and they both decide to go into the Greater Jungle in search of the Shetani, the demon who has been killing people for centuries. While I think the beginning of this had a very slow start, it does pick up and once it does you can’t seem to stop yourself from reading. I really enjoyed the world that the author has created and while I think it had amazing world building, it still lacked for me. I wanted more info about Lkossa and about the Greater Jungle. I think being in the Jungle should have been fast paced like it was, but a longer part of this story. The author builds up to both characters venturing into the Jungle, but they don’t stay very long. The second half of this book was action packed and felt like the average YA fantasy book. While nothing really stands out for me in this book, I still enjoyed reading it and am pretty excited for the next book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Life As Monae

    Thank you Penguin Teen for an Arc. This was a HELLL of a debut. First and foremost, this book is blackity black black. And when it is described as Pan-African it is EXACTLY that. There is something for everyone in the African diaspora here. The character have hairstyles the range from twists to dreads to fades. The pacing was very well done and the pay off was pretty good for a first book. In the end we saw almost everything in the book tied in to the ending plot, nothing felt like time wasted. Thank you Penguin Teen for an Arc. This was a HELLL of a debut. First and foremost, this book is blackity black black. And when it is described as Pan-African it is EXACTLY that. There is something for everyone in the African diaspora here. The character have hairstyles the range from twists to dreads to fades. The pacing was very well done and the pay off was pretty good for a first book. In the end we saw almost everything in the book tied in to the ending plot, nothing felt like time wasted. I do want to say that this is younger level YA and the romance is very tepid. It’s not necessarily a slow burn as our characters are not at the point of truly exploring their feelings for one another. The one thing I wasn’t in love with immediately was the mythological beasts in the book. BUT as I continued reading I recognized a beasts that I remember explicitly as a creature from African folklore (grootslang) and this made me Google. after Googling all of the creatures our main characters come across I found that almost all are real mythological/folklore creatures from real African stories. And I was impressed. And while there’s so much in this book that makes me feel seen in unfathomable ways as a black person, ESPECIALLY in fantasy. There is a true story here. The jungle and the beasts really come to life on page and the imagery is top tier. (I am terrified of snakes and there are plenty of snake imagery in here that actually made me cringe, but that just me lol snake lovers you’ll have fun) This book releases in September 2021 and I received an arc in April 2021 so I have probably the first rendition and the most unedited version. And even with all the typos and mistakes, I greatly enjoyed this book. It’s one that, like children of blood and bone, I will be sending to my younger cousins and nieces/nephews so that they can see themselves truly in a book. I am impressed Ayana.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joleen (starlightbooktales)

    5 Stars Talk about a fantastic debut novel. Beasts of Prey is hands down one of my favorite reads of the year. At first, I was a bit nervous because the formatting for the e-arc was a bit off. So it was difficult for me to navigate whose chapter was whose. And with three povs, that can get a little confusing. But once I got past those issues, the story flowed so smoothly. Ayana Grey created a beautiful intoxicating world. The beasts were glorious, the characters were relatable, and the plotline sh 5 Stars Talk about a fantastic debut novel. Beasts of Prey is hands down one of my favorite reads of the year. At first, I was a bit nervous because the formatting for the e-arc was a bit off. So it was difficult for me to navigate whose chapter was whose. And with three povs, that can get a little confusing. But once I got past those issues, the story flowed so smoothly. Ayana Grey created a beautiful intoxicating world. The beasts were glorious, the characters were relatable, and the plotline shocked the hell out of me. There were a few things I easily guessed, but other plotlines I couldn't even see coming. I was not ready for this book to end, and I am dreading the wait for the next book. These characters were some of my faves to read about. Koffi, Ekon, and Adiah had such refreshing personalities. But the relationship between Koffi and Ekon, of course, was my favorite. They might not like each other at first, but eventually, they start to bond. I really loved seeing their friendship grow and that connection between them blossom. Adiah, while we didn't get a lot of time in her pov, I loved seeing her backstory. It hurt my heart in so many ways. And I just cannot wait to see what is next for these amazing characters. This is one to preorder friends! If you love strong characters, beautiful worldbuilding, and one heck of an ending then this book is for you. . Also, if you do read it, feel free to DM me and we can fangirl together. Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin for sending me an early copy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    Steeped in Pan-African influence, Ayana Gray's debut follows two Black teenagers who must trek into a dangerous magical jungle to hunt down a mysterious monster--before they become the hunted. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram Steeped in Pan-African influence, Ayana Gray's debut follows two Black teenagers who must trek into a dangerous magical jungle to hunt down a mysterious monster--before they become the hunted. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    This book was FREAKING AWESOME! It's rich in Pan African tidbits with many nods to the historical titans in Black History!!!! I especially loves the African wide mythology and language blends!!!! My brothers and sister, B.O.P. ain't magic ✨ This that SPLENDOR right here! Excuse me while I try to articulate my emotions!!!! This book was FREAKING AWESOME! It's rich in Pan African tidbits with many nods to the historical titans in Black History!!!! I especially loves the African wide mythology and language blends!!!! My brothers and sister, B.O.P. ain't magic ✨ This that SPLENDOR right here! Excuse me while I try to articulate my emotions!!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Thank you to Netgalley & Penguin Teen for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The broken city of Lkossa doesn't have magic, especially not for sixteen year old girls like Koffi. As an indentured worker of the Night Zoo, Koffi and her mother work as animal keepers to pay off their family's debt. When her family is threatened by the Night Zoo's master, Koffi unleashes a power that will have dire consequences. Ekon has been destined to become an elite warrior as part Thank you to Netgalley & Penguin Teen for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The broken city of Lkossa doesn't have magic, especially not for sixteen year old girls like Koffi. As an indentured worker of the Night Zoo, Koffi and her mother work as animal keepers to pay off their family's debt. When her family is threatened by the Night Zoo's master, Koffi unleashes a power that will have dire consequences. Ekon has been destined to become an elite warrior as part of the Sons of Six. On the night of his final rite, it's interrupted by a fire. Ekon encounters the Shentani--a mystical beast that has plagued the city and his nightmares--and a young girl who seems able to control it. But he allows her to evade capture and ruins his chances of becoming a warrior. Desperate to belong, Ekon vows to bring down the Shetani and claim his place within the Sons of Six. Koffi is determined to bring the Shetani to the Night Zoo to pay off her debts. The two cross paths and decide to work together while keeping their true motives hidden from each other. They enter the Greater Jungle and find a world full of magic and dangerous creatures. But are they the hunters or the hunted? The world of Lkossa was incredible. I loved how detailed the world was, the culture and inhabitants of the world were vibrant and alive. Then there was the Jungle. It was definitely it's own entity and it was quite terrifying. There were so many creatures and monsters that roam the Jungle and I was definitely terrified while reading this. I do not want to go there no thanks. There are too many snakes and snake-creatures for me. I really loved Koffi, she was such an easy character to relate to and root for. Koffi just wants to save her mother and her friend from the Night Zoo, but she ends up with much more than that. I loved the exploration of magic we get to see from her perspective. I loved how fierce and determined she was. And she gets creative when in sticky situations. Ekon was a cinnamon roll and I definitely just want to give the poor boy a hug. He needs like 10 at least. Ekon deals with anxiety and OCD throughout the story, but it's never treated as something he must overcome. Koffi accommodates his behavior and I just love seeing characters get the accommodations they need. This book is one giant quest, so if you're a fan of epic fantasy this book is for you. Especially if you enjoyed Kingdom of Souls or The Good Luck Girls. Rep: Black/African female MC, Black/African male MC with anxiety and OCD, Black/African female MC, supporting cast of BIPOC characters. CWs: Blood, death, drug use without consent, fire, injury/injury detail, medical content, mental illness (anxiety/OCD), murder, panic attacks/disorders, violence, xenophobia.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Azanta

    wow. honestly, i flew through this. despite it being pretty chunky, this was so well-done, so fun to read, and it felt really unique. I haven’t read a pan-African fantasy yet and i feel like this matched up to all the well-deserved hype it’s been receiving. I’m already itching for book 2 because that ending made my jaw drop and I’m already obsessed with the world. my only complaint is that i felt that this book went by a little TOO quickly — the pacing was super fast and i wish we had gotten mor wow. honestly, i flew through this. despite it being pretty chunky, this was so well-done, so fun to read, and it felt really unique. I haven’t read a pan-African fantasy yet and i feel like this matched up to all the well-deserved hype it’s been receiving. I’m already itching for book 2 because that ending made my jaw drop and I’m already obsessed with the world. my only complaint is that i felt that this book went by a little TOO quickly — the pacing was super fast and i wish we had gotten more character development and more time in the jungle with Ekon and Koffi. all in all, i highly recommend!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Valerie May

    3.9 stars It was an enjoyable read. It wasn't that amazing amazing but it wasn't dragging and boring either. Honestly, I have no complaints or any negative whatsoever about this except for a few suggestions. I read every single page of this with just the pure joy and calmness you get when you read because reading is your hobby. It would have been really amazing for me though if there were more parts about the magic in the jungle and what more lies within it. I loved discovering more about the G 3.9 stars It was an enjoyable read. It wasn't that amazing amazing but it wasn't dragging and boring either. Honestly, I have no complaints or any negative whatsoever about this except for a few suggestions. I read every single page of this with just the pure joy and calmness you get when you read because reading is your hobby. It would have been really amazing for me though if there were more parts about the magic in the jungle and what more lies within it. I loved discovering more about the Greater Jungle, I wanted to know more about it and wished the MCs could have learned more about it. But I have no complaints on how much part about the Greater Jungle was written in the copy, it's just my personal preference to want more of it since it really spiked my interest there. Before I read this, I really thought animals would be a very big part of the story. Like animals would be one of the lovable supporting characters, if not as main characters. I was really looking forward to that because I haven't read any books with that kind of synopsis, but clearly I presumed wrong. I saw some tiny similarities with The Gilded Ones too. Just tiny parts like the identity of the antagonists and powerful women who was forced into hiding because of fear they would be punished or killed. Also, maybe Gray could add more action on the part where the MCs fought with Fedu. The action parts written in the copy would somehow suffice, but I think it could still do more. Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers for the e-ARC thru Edelweiss. This review is based in an advance reader's copy, so there might be some changes in the published book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    YOU. ARE. NOT. READY. A better, less flaily review to come.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Rating:3.75/5 I will have my review posted this weekend.

  21. 4 out of 5

    alex :)

    THAT COVER.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Roomies' Digest

    Soooo good and I think I found my new book boyfriend 💕 xx -Christine

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shanice

    4.5 stars! Big thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC to review! This took me ages to finish, NOT at all because of the book's fault, but because uni has started again. Detailed review to come! 4.5 stars! Big thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC to review! This took me ages to finish, NOT at all because of the book's fault, but because uni has started again. Detailed review to come!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    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 c 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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brinley

    Yeah, this one was disappointing. As soon as I saw the cover, I knew I wanted it. This feeling didn't last though, as the story just kept getting more and more bland. Which is such a shame because this started off so strong. It immediately drew me in with the circus setting, and the many animals we were introduced to right off the bat. Things only got better when we were introduced to the semi-sentient jungle, which made for one of the best settings I've ever read. All of this had me so hyped to Yeah, this one was disappointing. As soon as I saw the cover, I knew I wanted it. This feeling didn't last though, as the story just kept getting more and more bland. Which is such a shame because this started off so strong. It immediately drew me in with the circus setting, and the many animals we were introduced to right off the bat. Things only got better when we were introduced to the semi-sentient jungle, which made for one of the best settings I've ever read. All of this had me so hyped to read the book. I think the part when this really went wrong was the characters. They were idiots. They truly made decisions like a 12 year old boy. Ooh, shiny fruit! Must eat it! Even though they were in a deadly jungle, they still put themselves at risk constantly. And that constant risk of their lives ended up driving the plot, not the premise we were introduced to. Even though I loved the world this was set in, it could've been so much better. So much of the worldbuilding was introduced and then glossed over, which was a huge disappointment because the world is what was so unique about this. Because this sets up for a sequel, I'm sure that more of the world will be established in the next book, but I doubt I will be reading it. Finally, I wasn't a fan of the multiple perspectives. Both Ekon and Koffi needed their own perspective, there was no reason for Adiah's. Even when the big reveal regarding her identity came up, the most emotion I could bring was a blink. It wasn't a surprising reveal, and her chapters just disrupted the pace. Although this wasn't my cup of tea, I can definitely see this making a splash. Set in a world full of color and magic, this definitely had potential, it just didn't fulfill it. Thanks to BookishFirst for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

  26. 4 out of 5

    tasnim♥️

    4.0 ⭐️ !! The beginning started off pretty slow but it’s definitely a WIN for ya fantasy!! WHAT A DEBUT!!! the magic was beautiful— it’s a non-eurocentric fantasy book inspired by Pan-Africa. And I loved reading all the sly tributes they had to some well-known African myths, and cultures. - there multiple POVS so the pacing made it easy to follow along - the main characters are unlikely allies, kind of enemies to lovers which is a yes for me -equal amount of romance and plot which was amazing - and 4.0 ⭐️ !! The beginning started off pretty slow but it’s definitely a WIN for ya fantasy!! WHAT A DEBUT!!! the magic was beautiful— it’s a non-eurocentric fantasy book inspired by Pan-Africa. And I loved reading all the sly tributes they had to some well-known African myths, and cultures. - there multiple POVS so the pacing made it easy to follow along - the main characters are unlikely allies, kind of enemies to lovers which is a yes for me -equal amount of romance and plot which was amazing - and i’m a sucker for past present storylines which IT GAVE!! plus that ENDING??? book two yesterday please!!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    avani

    Beasts of Prey is a magical, OwnVoices, Pan-African inspired fantasy following two teens on a wicked jungle adventure. I absolutely loved it. This book is told from three povs- Koffi, Ekon, and Adiah. Koffi and Ekon meet early on and spend the majority of the book together. Adiah’s chapters confused me a bit at first as the connection with the other two wasn’t made immediately, but they made much more sense as the book went on. The author beautifully intertwines the different storylines and povs, Beasts of Prey is a magical, OwnVoices, Pan-African inspired fantasy following two teens on a wicked jungle adventure. I absolutely loved it. This book is told from three povs- Koffi, Ekon, and Adiah. Koffi and Ekon meet early on and spend the majority of the book together. Adiah’s chapters confused me a bit at first as the connection with the other two wasn’t made immediately, but they made much more sense as the book went on. The author beautifully intertwines the different storylines and povs, and i genuinely loved all three voices. None of the characters were purely one-dimensional and it was incredibly easy to root for and empathize for them. I especially fell in love with Koffi and Ekon- they both had such refreshing, genuine personalities and admirable motives. Koffi was strong and daring yet equally loving and protective of those she loved, willing to do anything for them. Ekon was just the most lovable and clever sweetheart, and I loved the way his anxiety(??) and OCD was portrayed. Their relationship lovingly progressed from strangers-to sort-of enemies-to reluctant allies-to friends-to maybe-more-than-just-friends and oh my gosh I adored them so so much. Their arguments and the way he got so scandalized whenever Koffi cursed had me dying. One of my favorite parts of this book was the magic system and world building. I thought it was described and touched on just enough to keep you intrigued but there were never any major info-dumps. The author has this lush, vivid prose that was perfect for describing the eerily enchanting Greater Jungle and the mythological, beautiful beasts that roamed inside. It was stunning. thank you so much to Edelweiss+ and the publishers for the arc in exchange for an honest review! i>

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ayushi

    Thank you so much to Penguin Teen for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review! What an exhilarating debut from Ayana Gray! The fact that Beasts of Prey was optioned for film by Netflix before the book was even released is extremely telling of how great this fantasy is. I loved entering The Greater Jungle with Ekon and Koffi and watching them embark on their journey of hunting The Shetani. As frightening as all the jungle creatures the two teens encountered were, it was so cool t Thank you so much to Penguin Teen for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review! What an exhilarating debut from Ayana Gray! The fact that Beasts of Prey was optioned for film by Netflix before the book was even released is extremely telling of how great this fantasy is. I loved entering The Greater Jungle with Ekon and Koffi and watching them embark on their journey of hunting The Shetani. As frightening as all the jungle creatures the two teens encountered were, it was so cool to see Ayana’s imagination and inspiration from actual legends and fables come into play. I also really loved Ekon and Koffi’s dynamic. Grumpy girl x sunshine boy is one of my most favorite underrated tropes in fantasy, and these two did not disappoint. Definitely read this if you’re interested in enemies-to-reluctant allies-to-.....(not going to spoil the ending lol). The multi-POV storytelling was also really cool (especially our third POV aside from Ekon and Koffi’s) and I loved how all of these characters' backstories were connected and revealed as the story progressed (the plot twists were sometimes predictable, but otherwise great!). This book ends on a pretty big cliffhanger, so be aware of that, but it definitely left me excited for Book 2. I can’t wait to read more from Ayana Gray!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    While this story took me a little bit to get into once I did I couldn’t put it down. Told in alternating perspectives of past and present. Magic doesn’t exist in the city of Lkossa anymore, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t lurk unknown inside of anyone which Koffi finds out when her family is endangered and she unleashes something she did not expect. Ekon has been on track to be part of the city’s elite army the Sons of Six. Their paths collide in a night that changes everything for both of them While this story took me a little bit to get into once I did I couldn’t put it down. Told in alternating perspectives of past and present. Magic doesn’t exist in the city of Lkossa anymore, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t lurk unknown inside of anyone which Koffi finds out when her family is endangered and she unleashes something she did not expect. Ekon has been on track to be part of the city’s elite army the Sons of Six. Their paths collide in a night that changes everything for both of them and they end up joining forces to enter the Greater jungle in search of the Shetani, or demon. They both have different goals but they need each other to survive the jungle. This story was very well written, an excellent debut and I already can’t wait for the next book. I did think the very end was a little rushed and I was left at a cliffhanger I was not expecting. Definitely will be reading the next book when it comes out (at least I hope it comes out!!)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    This has turned out to be one of my favorite reads of the year, it did surpass all my expectations! I loved the characters, how human they are, with all their flaws and greatness, the story is very lush, the Pan-Africanism is <3 Loved loved it! More on my review on October 13, here: https://youtu.be/7hOansd-mUk This has turned out to be one of my favorite reads of the year, it did surpass all my expectations! I loved the characters, how human they are, with all their flaws and greatness, the story is very lush, the Pan-Africanism is <3 Loved loved it! More on my review on October 13, here: https://youtu.be/7hOansd-mUk

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