Audiobook, Books, Debut Author, Fantasy, Fiction, Folklore, Horror, Neurodiversity, Novel, Queer

The Book Eaters is a debut dark urban fantasy novel with horror elements by Sunyi Dean (4/5 stars)

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Book Eaters is a debut dark urban fantasy novel with horror elements by Sunyi Dean. The ebook version is 304 pages. I listened to the audiobook, which clocks in at thirteen and a half hours and is narrated by Katie Erich.

Devon was born into a secretive clan of people who consume books and retain their contents after eating. Known as book eaters, several familial lines around England banded together and are known as The Family. Girls are rarely born, and are fed a diet full of fairytales, cautionary stories, and dictionaries. Boys, on the other hand, feat on stories filled with valor and adventure. When Devon’s son is born not as a book eater, but a mind eater–a rarer and darker kind of hunger than her own–she realizes that she must reevaluate her ideas on motherhood, morality, and sacrifice.

This was a really interesting book, and I absolutely love the cover. The world-building is pretty expansive and the many characters are all complex people. The concept of book eaters and The Family is a cool and modern take on vampirism. The oppression of female book eaters does reflect how women in real life have been oppressed in the past and the present in some countries.

We jump back and forth between different timelines, so if you prefer a straight-forward narrative this may not be for you. In my opinion, the author did a great job interspersing the stories from Devon’s past to help explain what was happening in her present. The ending felt very abrupt to me. There is an interview between the author and audiobook narrator at the end of the book, and apparently there’s an epilogue for the Waterstones edition. So I’ve preordered it to read that!

This is a pretty strong debut and I’m excited to read more from Sunyi Dean in the future.

Tropes: sapphic main character, sapphic side character, asexual side character, disabled side character

CW: emotional abuse, gaslighting, physical abuse, misogyny, arranged/forced marriage, body horror, gore, death, murder, firearms

Special thanks to Tor, Macmillan, Macmillan Audio, and NetGalley for providing an audio galley of this book for me to review. All opinions contained herein are my own. The Book Eaters releases on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022.

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