Book fifteen of my summer reading challenge and such an original story.
The Book Eaters
Hidden across England and Scotland live six old Book Eater families.
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 savage mother’s devotion and a queer love that will electrify readers looking for something beguiling, thrilling, strange and new.
I knew that this was going to be a pretty interesting book as soon as I read the blurb because it sounded like an amazingly original concept but it was even better than I thought it would be. It is a dark and tense urban fantasy that I was immediately drawn into and didn’t want to put down.
Told over two different timelines, Devon’s current timeline alongside the events of her past that have steered and shaped her story. The Book Eaters is the story of Devon and her devotion to her son, but it is also a look at a society under strict control and what happens when things start to come apart and people start to want something different to their usual lot in life. This is something that I liked about Devon that she wanted to break away from the family’s rules and have a different outcome for her life and that of her son.
Devon is a morally grey character, often put in a horrible situation, so she doesn’t always make good choices but as someone who has been at the mercy of a very patriarchal way of life and who hasn’t had all her own choices, she is still a very strong character. She is resilient and cunning but also loving and she makes the best out of what she has been given. Hester was another great character, another woman who has had to make some tough choices and is making the best out of some bad situations but with a much more kick-ass flair.
I enjoyed the power struggles within the book, the families are getting smaller due to infertility and not being able to travel freely, some families are bending the rules to survive a little better than others and finding different ways to do things. This causes some turmoil for some of the factions of Book Eaters, which adds some interesting motivators to the story and of course adds to the tension.
I loved the differences between the Book Eaters and the Mind Eaters that even though to humans the Book Eaters would be scary enough, there is a version that even they find scary. Especially the differences of what they are left with, they both gain knowledge but it presents in different ways, I love how that was presented in Cai, it added some funny moments to a fairly dark story.
The Book Eaters is a fascinating story, with a unique premise and full of morally grey characters, it has dark moments and a pretty eerie atmosphere at times but is also full of love in the many shapes it takes and I really couldn’t put it down.