Review: Temper by Nicky Drayden

Temper by Nicky Drayden took my breath away repeatedly and rocked my world. The Mtuze twins and their story was the best piece of religious science fiction I’ve ever read.

Temper Cover

Two brothers.
Seven vices.
One demonic possession.
Can this relationship survive?

Auben Mutze has more vices than he can deal with—six to be exact—each branded down his arm for all the world to see. They mark him as a lesser twin in society, as inferior, but there’s no way he’ll let that define him. Intelligent and outgoing, Auben’s spirited antics make him popular among the other students at his underprivileged high school. So what if he’s envious of his twin Kasim, whose single vice brand is a ticket to a better life, one that likely won’t involve Auben.

The twins’ strained relationship threatens to snap when Auben starts hearing voices that speak to his dangerous side—encouraging him to perform evil deeds that go beyond innocent mischief. Lechery, deceit, and vanity run rampant. And then there are the inexplicable blood cravings. . . .

On the southern tip of an African continent that could have been, demons get up to no good during the time of year when temperatures dip and temptations rise. Auben needs to rid himself of these maddening voices before they cause him to lose track of time. To lose his mind. And to lose his . . .


I received an eARC of Temper through Edelweiss, courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The world in Temper is one where nearly every person born is a twin and those twins share the seven vices and virtues between them. The one with the most virtues is the greater twin, and the other is the lesser twin. A typical split for twins is for one to have 4 virtues and 3 vices and the other to have 3 virtues and 4 vices. Auben Mtuze has 6 vices and one virtue, which is very rare. It means that no one has any real expectations for him or his future, even his twin, Kasim.

The Mtuze’s are militantly against religion when this story begins, and that is definitely not the case at the end of the book.

This needs some massive trigger warnings for drug use, dubious consent, ableist language, prostitution, (called out) use of food descriptors for people of color, self harm, in-world gender slurs, gaslighting, and possession by demons.

Temper is slow to start, but Drayden’s writing wraps the reader up within itself until they can’t put it down. I certainly couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. This story is so complex that I couldn’t bear to stop reading. Drayden really knows how to build a world that feels inescapably real, no matter how much its characters want to escape its pages.

I highly recommend you give Temper a try. You can pick up a copy on Amazon or Indiebound, and you’ll really want to.

Title: Temper

Author: Nicky Drayden

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Length: 400 Pages

Release Date: August 7, 2018

Rating: ★★★★★ / Five stars

Genre: Religious Science Fantasy

Representation: Black author, Black African main characters and cast


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