The Book Eaters (Sunyi Dean)
30 August 2023
The last of their lines, they exist on the fringes of society and subsist on a diet of stories and legends.
Children are rare and their numbers have dwindled, so when Devon Fairweather’s second child is born a dreaded Mind Eater – a perversion of her own kind, who consumes not stories but the minds and souls of humans – she flees before he can be turned into a weapon for the family… or worse.
Living among humans and finding prey for her son, Devon seeks a cure for his hunger. But time is running out – for her family want her back, and with every soul her son consumes he loses a little more of himself…
This is a story of escape, a mother’s savage devotion and a queer love that will electrify readers looking for something beguiling, thrilling, strange and new.
Sinclair Manson (17 September 2023 21:14)
This urban fantasy is full of morally compromised characters fighting or failing to break free of the roles into which they have been cast. There's a deliberate rejection of the simple morality of fairytales, which are presented within the story as a means of enforcing gender stereotypes: the princess in distress, the brave knight who rescues her. This is a book in which the princesses rescue one another and knights are the greatest threat. The secret fantastical conflict playing out behind the facade of everyday life is very familiar at this point and this novel didn't really break with its conventions. The book was interesting to me mostly for the afforementioned moral ambiguity, which provoked the best part of our discussion. How far can one endorse (or at least sympathise with) Devon's actions to protect her son? That he takes on the characteristics of his victims, forcing his mother to prey upon the virtuous, is my favourite feature of the book, neatly removing the righteous serial killer get out clause.