As a book lover, I couldn’t resist reading something called The Book Eaters. Especially with the review quote from V. E. Schwab (whom I love) “I devoured this.”
Sunyi Dean’s novel is set in a dark fantasy world where there are a group of book eaters who are not human, but instead subside by eating books, which gives them the knowledge in the book. There are also mind eaters who instead eat human brains and gain knowledge that way.
Devon is a princess from one of the book eater families. She is on the run trying to save her five year old son Cai, who is a mind eater. Mind eaters can be kept in control with a special drug which is manufactured by one of the other book eater families. Due to political turmoil within the book eater world, the drug has disappeared. Cai is now forced to eat the people Devon finds for him, while they search for a supply of the drug.
The world building in this book is extremely well done. Despite being gothic and creepy (set in northern England), it is set up like a fairy tale. There is a princess, knights, patricide, forced marriages, and castles. The story unfolds in two parts. Devon retelling her past to explain how she ended up on the run, and the present as Devon’s journey with Cai continues. There are plenty of well thought out plot twists and turns, that are unfolded slowly throughout the book. Like any good fairy tale, there is also lots of action and adventure. Hidden beneath all that, this book is really about a mother’s love and what she will do for her child.
I picked this book, before reading it, for my book group of very traditional readers (most have never read any fantasy). One who is very well read said “this is the most unusual book I have ever read.” Another said “I don’t like it, yet I can’t put it down.” I hope they are still speaking to me when we discuss this book next week! But I really enjoyed this book and I know you Cannonballers, and this is a book that will appeal to many of you!