Dear Cannonball Readers: I am so sorry. I voted for The Devourers for this Book Club Read. I thought it looked awesome.
I hated it.
This review is a two-star review. Because yes, I hated it, but the end was just okay. It finally picked up. Something finally happened. There was a point. The point was aggravating and boring and seriously not worth it, but it was finally there.
These shapeshifters are full of some damn nonsense. You’re a superior creature, but your social rules don’t evolve? You live with the souls of your victims inside you, but you don’t have any empathy for them whatsoever? Oh wait, you do? Because you and basically every other shapeshifter that isn’t a red coat extra in the story is an outlier? You consider yourself superior to humans, but you’re subject to pettiness and shunning? Et cetera.
The book takes great pains to ensure that the rules of this world are clear to the reader. Such great pains, in fact, that about the first nine tenths of the book are devoted to laying them out for us, so that when there finally is some PLOT in the final tenth of the book, we can apply those rules as they have been explained to us. Just, shut up, and tell the story, man.
Anyway, it’s essentially the story of a young prostitute several centuries ago in what is now India being raped by an ancient shapeshifter because he has some kind of desire to procreate even shapeshifters don’t do that. She gets pregnant, and teams up with the rapist’s best friend who is in love with “him” (SHAPESHIFTERS TRANSCEND GENDER, FYI, DON’T FORGET, THEY’RE BETTER THAN YOU EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE ALSO RAPISTS), who has some sort of impulse to find him even though by the rules of their shapeshifter society, he has to be exiled now. He thinks he’s in love with her even though he doesn’t know her and never listens to her about what she wants or needs or likes (don’t get me started on this, ever, in any medium). She doesn’t know what she wants, but she does know that she’s mad as hell and definitely not going to take it anymore except that she’s seeking him out because question mark?
Anyway, it’s garbage nonsense, and woman-as-vessel-for-baby as only a southern Congressman could do better. As horror, it’s a paper airplane that can’t catch air. I’m sorry I voted for it, and subjected us all to it. That said, I won’t abstain from the vote for the next Book Club Read, because democracy.