Book Review: What We Devour (ARC)

Expected publication: July 6th 2021

Author: Linsey Miller

In a world of devastating power and a bloodthirsty monarch, it’s time for the wealthy to be devoured.

Lorena Adler has a secret—she holds the power of the banished gods, the Noble and the Vile, inside her. But she has spent her entire life hiding from the world and her past. Lorena’s content to spend her days as an undertaker in a small town, marry her best friend, Julian, and live an unfulfilling life so long as no one uncovers her true nature.

But when the notoriously bloodthirsty and equally Vile crown prince comes to arrest Julian’s father, he immediately recognizes Lorena for what she is. So, she makes a deal—a fair trial for her betrothed’s father in exchange for her service to the crown.

The prince is desperate for her help. He’s spent years trying to repair the weakening Door that holds back the Vile…and he’s losing the battle. As Lorena learns more about the Door and the horrifying price it takes to keep it closed, she’ll have to embrace both parts of herself to survive. 

What We Devour is my first novel by the author, but it will not be my last. This novel was extremely unique as it took a semi-basic plot, where two characters from opposite sides must work together to defeat a common evil, and was transformed into a very complex and intriguing tale. The story also takes the sides of good and evil and blends them together, so everyone and everything seems grey. A very interesting dark fantasy novel that was a well worth a read!

Lorena Adler moved to the town of Felhollow after the death of her mother. Here she created a new life under the radar with her two best friends, Mack and Julian. She eventually becomes engaged to Julian and is content to continue to live a quiet existence. She holds a secret that she is a dualwrought, where she possesses the powers of both the Noble and the Vile. It is not unheard of to have both, but it is extremely rare. When the Heir to the Crown, Alistair Wyrslaine, is in Felhollow to arrest Wil, Julian’s father, her ability is discovered after she uses her power on the soldiers. As Alistair needs her power, Lorena makes a trade where she will give her service in exchange for Will’s freedom until a fair trial can be given. Alistair takes Lorena back to the castle where she joins in on the work that he is currently doing in secret. Alistair is a vilewrought with a dangerous and dark reputation after committing multiple violent acts in the past. While he may be dark, he wants to destroy the door that houses the Vile and make the need for sacrifices obsolete and Lorena may be the key to help him complete this goal.  The main story follows the characters trying to find a solution to destroy the door.

This novel took me a few tries to fully get into as it was very interesting, but I found myself bogged down by the vast amount of terminology. By the end, everything seemed to make sense, but I would have loved a glossary to just give some basic definitions into a lot of the terms (wroughts vs wrights, Noble, Vile, etc.). With the Noble and the Vile, themselves, I initially had difficulty fully picturing their “beings,” as I did not know if they were Gods, spirits, or something else. Therefore, I initially thought of them as Raava, the Spirit of Light and Peace, and Vaatu, the Spirit of Chaos and Darkness, from the Legend of Korra. They were later described as demi-Gods, but I would have loved a little clear description in the beginning. Nothing in this novel seemed to be explicitly spelled out and that added to the writing as the reader had to put everything together, which may not be for everyone. For me, it was a case more of rearranging, such as the demi-god bit, where it could have been towards the first half of the novel instead of the latter half.

Lorena is an excellent character as she grows and learns given her new position and power as the story progresses. She learns more about herself and what she is capable of and I liked how it fit her character well. Additionally, I loved how the author wrote Lorena as an asexual (ace) where, I felt, it was handled well and “normalized.” The writing of her character goes through a lot of emotion of Lorena comfortable with whom she is, while acknowledging that it is not fully understood or accepted by society. Although it is who she is, it was never exploited or be the only defining aspect of her character. There are some moments of acephobic in the story and, I felt, it was handled well as their resistance to understanding was in the wrong.

Overall, this was a very interesting story. I did not instantly connect with it, like I do with other stories, but it grew on me the more I read it. The struggle between classes was an interesting aspect to this novel as the lower classes are sacrificed to the Vile’s door. I loved the representation of Lorena as an asexual and Basil, a member of Alistar’s research team, as a nonbinary individual, was included. I would have loved a little more about all the side characters, such as Basil, as they were interesting. The pacing is slow in the beginning, but picks up towards the end. The plot twists were interesting and I liked how everything came together at the end. The story was nothing like I expected, but it was a very interesting ride!

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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