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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

I Devoured This Book: A Review of The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

Updated: Mar 13

Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.


We are done with the romance. I was in a romance-y mood, but I must return to my roots and read something darker. I must read a dystopian-esque novel with some high stakes and a fantasy world. Although the way I’ve posed this makes today’s book sound suspiciously like The Selection. But we’re not back in the world of Illéa. Nay, nay. We’re going across the pond to jolly ole England.


Please give a warm welcome to The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean!

Book cover of The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean.

First things first, if this book is on your TBR pile at this moment, do yourself a favor and start reading it. The Book Eaters is phenomenal. Don’t read this review if you already have the book, just start it and let yourself go on a ride. I promise you’ll enjoy it.


For those of you who are staying, a spoiler alert, as always, is in order. This is your one and only warning. If you’ve read any of my other reviews then you know I love to spoil the entirety of the books I read. You’ve been warned. I also must issue a quick content and trigger warning. There is some dubious consent in The Book Eaters. Our main character is raised in a world where women are rare, so she grows up being told she’s going to get married and have kids in order for the community to survive. While she’s told this all her life, she’s never given a sexual education course. I’d argue that prior to her first marriage she doesn’t know what sex is. Also drugs are involved on her wedding night. So yeah, there’s some dubious consent going on. I will say the chapter where this occurs can be skipped entirely and you can continue on with the story without having any issues. Also please note that The Book Eaters has mentions of human trafficking. The inclusion of this topic threw me through a loop because it came out of nowhere and I had to reread the section where it popped up many times to make sure I was reading the book correctly. Just know it’s there. With that, let’s get to the synopsis.


Devon Fairweather is raised as a princess. She grows up on a diet of fairy tales, literally, and promises of a forever cushy life. All she has to do is grow up and have two or three kids in order to keep the book eater community alive. Devon is one of the few women in the current generation of book eaters. Meaning her life is set in stone.

Cinderella transformation.
I sense some wannabe Disney Princess vibes.

At first, she’s seemingly ok with her situation. Until she has her first child, a daughter, who is going to grow up without Devon and be fed the same promises and fairy tales. It’s at this point Devon does the unthinkable: she bonds with her daughter! The book eaters cannot stand for this and ultimately separate her from her daughter; much like every book eater mother before her.


Alas the cycle continues and Devon is thrown into her second marriage where she’s forced to have a second child. Things go even worse this time around. Devon gives birth to a mind eater. Her child cannot eat books like the majority of the community, this child instead wants to consume the minds of others. Despite the fact her son may eat her at any moment, Devon refuses to be separated from him. And when the time comes for her to be forcibly removed from him, she fights back and goes on the run with her baby boy.


The goal is to get enough of a drug known as Redemption, a drug that will curb a mind eater’s lust for human minds, in order for her son to be able to live out his days as normally as possible. Issue being, the family that produces Redemption experienced a coup and now does not communicate with the other book eater families. The other issue being Devon is on the run from multiple groups of people. Namely the Knights who protect and serve all the book eater families, and the Easterbrook family whose patriarch Devon may or may not have killed. All this out of the love of her child; we love to see it.


Anyway, no notes. Five stars. Ten-out-of-ten. Good day, Book Nerds, I shall see you next week.


Bears waving.
See y'all then, bye!

I jest, as usual. What I love most about this book is it makes you think about who/what is a monster? What makes a monster? We all know the saying “winners write history,” and there’s a lot of that expression in The Book Eaters. To people like the Easterbrook family, Devon is the villain. She’s a violent villainess, she killed the family’s patriarch without a second though. Devon’s son Cai is also a villain simply because he’s a mind eater. But to Devon and Cai, the Easterbrook’s are the villains. She only killed to protect her son. Cai has been othered by his family, it’s not his fault that he’s a mind eater. The Book Eaters really makes you think.

Shia LaBeouf clapping.
I applaud this book.

Another thing I enjoy about this book is the dual timelines. This read is mainly told from Devon’s POV and alternates between the past and present. You get to see where Devon ends up and the change in her while seeing how she grew up and gets to the point where readers first meet her. The change in her begins so gradually. She begins the story so naïve, by the time she has her first child she wants to trust those around her but she’s been burned, and by the time Cai is born she trusts no one. The world and those around her have proven to be untrustworthy; it should come as no surprise that she basically wants to become a hermit. Plus, the dual timelines give readers the full picture of Devon’s life and journey. I think I’m starting to like dual timelines again.


The one thing I disliked about this book was the lack of backstory regarding the book eaters. The main things I know are that they eat books, women are rare, and mind eaters are to be feared. Cool. But how did they come to be? Were they once persecuted by humans? How many book eater families are there? There are mentions that there are families all across the world, but how many people actually exist? Also, are book eaters a legend to normal humans? Are they an urban legend? I have many questions and I would like the answers.


The lack of background on book eaters is truly my only qualm with this book and honestly it's not that big of an issue; it's more just my preference. I devoured this book, pun intended. I will be rereading this one for years to come.


With that, I must bid you all adieu. I will shall see you all again next week with another new review. A review where we shall continue on with reviews that are taking us back to our roots.


Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.

Bears waving.
See y'all then, bye!



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