ARC AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

Publication Date: August 2, 2022
Format: Audio
Genre:   Fantasty
Narrators: Katie Erich

Publisher: Macmillan Audio
13 hours 27 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book's content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious. Eating a map can help them remember destinations, and children, when they misbehave, are forced to eat dry, musty pages from dictionaries.

Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon—like all other book eater women—is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairytales and cautionary stories.

But real life doesn't always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger—not for books, but for human minds.


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The idea of this book made me jump at it and the cover is fantastic.  This story has so many levels to it I am finding it hard to even review.  The world that Dean has created with a species that feeds on books and can retain the information they ingest and the darker mutation of them more like vampires they feed on brains and can then retain memories and mannerisms of the people they consume is complex and brilliant. A new take on mutants or vampires this fantasy has so much to offer.  

Devon has been raised to believe she is a princess - cared for and only given fairy tales to consume.  Fairy tales of princesses falling in love and getting married.  But Book Eaters are dying out.  Their women are not always fertile and so the ones that are, are bartered and handed over for "marriage" for a period of 3 years where the object is to conceive a child preferably a girl - after 3 years the child is left with the family and the mother is taken away to remarry and do it all over again.  Not at all like the fairy tales Devon has been consuming.  Not to mention that Devon prefers the company of women. 

After her first marriage and losing her daughter Devon is determined to change the system. But Book Eaters can't create, their imaginations are only as deep as what they consume. During her 2nd marriage she meets a man who shares her desire for a different life and together they hatch a plan but its dangerous and there are many sacrifices to be made along the way. 

This really is a book about creating your own destiny and not being swayed by what is expected.  It is a reminder that you can achieve anything but sometimes sacrifice is necessary for the greater good. I think this book will stick with me for a long time.  There is so much to digest! I can see this being an excellent book club book since there is just so much to talk about.

The narration was excellent, the story well written and original.

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