ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

The Book Eaters Rating**Thank you to Harper Collins UK and Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book’s content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious. Eating a map can help them remember destinations, and children, when they misbehave, are forced to eat dry, musty pages from dictionaries.

Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon—like all other book eater women—is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairytales and cautionary stories.

But real life doesn’t always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger—not for books, but for human minds.


WHAT ARE MY THOUGHTS?

A refreshing urban fantasy-horror mashup based around supernatural beings who consume books that will draw you in from the very first page!

The Book Eaters introduces us to Devon Fairweather, a daughter of one of six Book Eater families that covertly coexist with British society. Alternating between dual timelines, the narrative has an air of mystery to it with chapters set in the past depicting Devon’s upbringing and what life as a female Book Eater entails, slowly uncovering how she has ended up where she is in the present, on the run to protect and save her Mind Eater son.

With writing that effortlessly captures both emotion and atmosphere, trust me when I say it’ll be hard to put this book down. Truthfully I feel like my words are insufficient to sum up how brilliant it is.

“..we can only live by the light we’re given, and some of us are given no light at all. What else can we do except learnt o see in the dark?”

Dean’s prose gives the story a fairytale-esque feel to it however, the suspense filled storyline that has our dear protagonist darting across modern day Britain also adds a realistic edge to it all. It sure sent my mind to questioning the possibility that this hidden society could so easily be more fact than fiction.

Though the inspiration from Vampirism is evident, the lore within this story is so wholly original and I can’t commend Dean’s creativity enough. The concept of Book Eaters hooked me in from the moment I read the synopsis and as with any good monster story my fascination as well as my dread only grew with each turn of the page. And don’t even get me started on the Mind Eater side of things.

If you’re like me and not really a horror person don’t let the label scare you away. Though there is a fair bit of gore, the horror elements in this are more eerie than panic inducing – the equally fascinating and unsettling kind that make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. Yet the true terror comes from the attitude towards women in the story and the views on body autonomy that mirror parts of the real world today.

“For here was the thing that no fairy tale would ever admit, but that she understood in that moment: love was not inherently good.”

Alongside outstanding commentary on the patriarchy, is the thought-provoking exploration of the themes of motherhood, morality and survival. Devon is such a well written character and watching her grow and come to terms with the lengths she will go to for the sake of herself and her loved ones was so compelling.

A powerful and gripping read that will stick with you as though you’ve ingested it yourself. Super excited to see what Sunyi Dean writes next!

The Book Eaters is OUT NOW!


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