A Very Dark and Violent Story

What We Devour by Linsey Miller

Publication Date: July 6, 2021

Summary from NetGalley:

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. She has spent her entire life hiding from the world and her past. She’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.

ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley for an honest review.

Confession:

This is going to be a hard review to write, because while I didn’t exactly dislike this story I didn’t really like it either. I found all of the characters unlikable, and none of them had any morals, gray or otherwise. I also found the world to be utterly confusing and not well explained, which did not help with the very confusing and disjointed plot.

I tried really hard to like Lorena, she is the sole narrator of this story, but I just couldn’t. She just wasn’t a very nice person even when she tried to be. I think some of that had to do with her ‘powers’ but I found that whole part of her personality so very confusing that it didn’t help. She did have a difficult upbringing which I am sure made her who she was, but I think she could have handled things better, and maybe found a different solution to the whole problem.

As I said, there really weren’t any characters that were very likable, but I did like the Vile Prince the most out of everyone. I really think he at least tried hard to solve the problem without violence, or at least with out a huge number of sacrifices, but in the end he too was just a terrible person who only wanted his needs and desires fulfilled.

One issue I had with this book was the world building. It really made no sense and wasn’t well explained. That may have been due to the fact that our main narrator maybe really didn’t understand it herself. But the whole Nobles and Viles that are from some gods that attached themselves to humans and therefore those humans could do things others could not, just was kind of weird and befuddling. Also, you could only use your powers if you made some sort of sacrifice, but many times these sacrifices involved self harm or harming others, which made for quite a violent book at times.

I think I could have handled the lack of clarity with the magical system if I hadn’t felt like I was constantly missing something as I was reading. I often felt like I came into the middle of a conversation every time there was dialogue. It almost felt like I spent the entire book listening to it through a door and only heard about half of what was going it. If this only happened a few times in the story I might have put it down to being my issue, but it seemed like it happened all of the time, so I don’t think it was.

There are really lots of good reviews of this book, so please don’t let my views keep you from giving this book a try if it sounds like something you would like. Also, please take into account that this was an ARC, and even though that usually means it is almost complete, some of my issues could have been cleared up and I hope so. There were moments when I thought that things were going better, but then fell apart again, so I have hope that the final product will turn out okay.

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