The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean was September’s Illumicrate book. A YA fantasy horror that was perfect to start in October.
A young mother runs away to keep her son safe. That’s the basic premise of this book, but it misses out on so much of the nuance. For example the fact that the mum only eats books, and the son? Well he eats minds.
I really enjoyed this book! For those worried about the horror marking? I personally wouldn’t be. There is some graphic violence, but whilst the book is dark I wouldn’t say it’s especially creepy. So it’s not that it doesn’t deserve the horror mark, perhaps that our view on horror should alter slightly.
The world building is done fantastically through this book. We jump back and forwards in time, and Dean has managed to arrange these in the perfect way so that we learn about the history of this world whilst we become invested in our protagonist Devon’s life and that of her son, Cai.
I also adore the fact that a fair amount of this is set in Newcastle and Northumberland! We almost never get books set in that region (where I’m from if you didn’t know, in the north east of England) and it was so much fun recognising places and streets!
The character development is really interesting, especially with us jumping back and forward in time. I think Dean managed this really well in how she keeps the plot simple in the beginning of the book, when we’re in the modern day. And advancing this plot as we learn more about past Devon and her life. I enjoyed seeing the change in Devon from childhood innocence to adult denial and then acceptance of the truth.
On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 7, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 8, and Enjoyment: 8 with an average of 8 and a 4.5* rating.
Highlight here for content warnings: violence, domestic abuse, pregnancy, child abuse, death, body horror, misogyny, confinement, gaslighting, cannibalism, grief, infertility, rape, eating disorder, police brutality, death of parent, acephobia, kidnapping.
This book is a fantastic standalone read, but I would 100% read a sequel! The ending is satisfying, don’t get me wrong, but Dean could 100% write a book 2 and I hope that one day she does! Definitely an author I’ll be keeping an eye one