Jim's Books

The Book Eaters

Sunyi Dean

The Book Eaters
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ISBN: 9780008479480


Hidden across England and Scotland live six old Book Eater families. The last of their lines, they exist on the fringes of society and subsist on a diet of stories and legends. Children are rare and their numbers have dwindled, so when Devon Fairweather’s second child is born a dreaded Mind Eater – a perversion of her own kind, who consumes not stories but the minds and souls of humans – she flees before he can be turned into a weapon for the family… or worse.

Reviewed on 23rd September 2023

I bought this based mostly on the marketing, and wanting to support the shop where I found it. I was a bit nervous going in, because I’m not normally one for horror, although after reading I think I’d describe this more as “creepy fantasy”.

Devon is a mysterious human-passing creature called a “book eater”, who can eat books and absorb their knowledge. She’s from one of six remaining reclusive families in the UK. But she’s on the run, and so is her young son. And through a narrative half told in the present and half in flashback, we learn what’s going on.

I was surprised by how compelling I found it, and moved really quickly through the story. There’s a ton to learn, and Devon’s character is really conflicted and great to follow.

I love the balance between things I now know, and things I still don’t, that are left unknown either for my mind to wander about or to fill in if there are more novels. I can see another novel listed by the author next year (though with no details), and am excited to pick that up then.

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