Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sineater” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  297 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
According to legend, the sineater is a dark and mysterious figure of the night, condemned to live alone in the woods, who devours food from the chests of the dead to allow them to ascend to heaven. To look upon the sineater is to see the face of all the evil he has eaten, and to become insane with the overwhelming presence of sin. But now the order has been broken, the tra ...more
Paperback, 396 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by iBooks (first published 1992)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sineater, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sineater

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe HillThe Lovely Bones by Alice SeboldDamnable by Hank SchwaebleSineater by Elizabeth MassieThe Rising by Brian Keene
Best First Novels - Bram Stoker Award Winners
4th out of 36 books — 26 voters
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane SetterfieldThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónRebecca by Daphne du MaurierThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Modern Gothic
170th out of 418 books — 993 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,104)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 22, 2016 Pamellia added it
Shelves: before-2014
An interesting book based on the appalachian traditions including sineating. The story tugged at my heart strings for the young child of the sineater. The story is centered around this young boy and it is impossible not to care for him and his enviornment. Many odd characters including one Missy, a spiritual leader in the town who wants to do things her own way. The book does have a slow beginning, for several chapters. However after reading the whole book I am glad I stuck with it and read the ...more
Apr 26, 2013 Bandit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whoa. This book gave me a whole new appreciation for southern gothic and introduced me to Elizabeth Massie. Her work is nearly impossible to put down. Also, this book was a Bram Stoker award winner.
Charles Dee Mitchell
Oct 23, 2011 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
I picked this up because it was on the Horror Writers' Association list of horror must-reads. I have always been a pro-horror film voice, but was never attracted to reading horror novels. Movies are over in 90 minutes. Novels takes hours and hours. And I also had the not-uncommon prejudice against the genre, or at least against anything written much later than the turn of the 20th century.

But I liked Sineater. I guess it's a horror novel, although I wondered if Massie's publisher didn't promote
Jul 06, 2013 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very slow beginning, but once it started, the action was really on a role. Knowing something about the origin of the "sineater" before I read this, probably helped my interest in the subject matter, and kept me reading on, even when I wasn't sure I would in the beginning. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the excellent writing style and great ending.
Feb 23, 2014 Livingdeadpunk rated it really liked it
I somehow managed to overlook that this was a Stoker winner and went into it looking for cheap thrills and b-movie level gore and cheese. I didn't get what I was expecting, but what I got was so much better.

It does take a while to come to a good roiling boil, slowing down in early chapters to give you some town history and info on the different figures that populate the place, somewhat similar to the chapters in Salem's Lot that focus on The Lot itself. That all pays off once things pick up and
Oct 18, 2010 Megan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
By page 100 out of 396 this story had still not captured my interest so I've decided to move on to better books. The main reason I couldn't get into Sineater is the long descriptive passages. Elizabeth Massie spends a lot of time describing the town, history, and people. This would be okay if it happened in the unfolding of the story, but these are separate pages and paragraphs which interrupt the sequence of events. It’s great for an author to have so much background invented, but there are mor ...more
Apr 22, 2015 Consuelo rated it did not like it
I read the whole book. In my opinion, it was really dumb. I thought the book was going to focus more on the title of the book, but I can sum up this book with two words: religion and hate. There really wasn't much horror and the Sineater is briefly talked about randomly throughout the book. Very disappointing book with no real storyline, just a bunch of people who are highly religious, with hate in their heart.
William M.
Jun 28, 2011 William M. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
The Sineater is a stunning debut from an incredibly articulate, well-rounded writer. This is, without question, one of the best debut horror novels I've ever read. This original tale grips you and never lets go, having one of my favorite all-time endings. The world Elizabeth Massie creates is frighteningly real, populated with characters so believable that it sometimes feels like nonfiction. I can't wait to dig into more of her books. Do yourself a favor and read The Sineater. You won't be disap ...more
Jul 07, 2009 Anita rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie Henderson
Jan 15, 2014 Jamie Henderson rated it it was amazing
The problem with genre fiction is that so much of it is cruft. Sineater, however, is a daimond in the rough. Massie's writing style is evocative and vivid without becoming florid. Reading this novel I had a definite feel for exactly what things looked like, how they felt, and how they smelled. The characterizations were strong and even her touches on the minor characters leave the reader feeling like they are actual people with full lives outside of their small parts in the unfolding story.
The p
Aug 26, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Massie is the best horror writer in the business. She paints a common picture that wells up from the inside and tears it's way out. READ ALL OF HER BOOKS!
Andrew Barger
Dec 26, 2013 Andrew Barger rated it liked it
I was drawn to this book because of the title and since I read a horror book every October, I thought I would give this a spin for 2013. And it's not a very good sign that I finished it around Christmastime.

What I liked about Sineater were the "keep you guessing until the last chapter" ending and the realistic voice used by the young characters when writing letters to each others, complete with misspellings. The novel is a Bram Stoker award winner after all. Unfortunately, the novel dragged for
Aug 05, 2012 Melora rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, but I didn't love it. While the setting was fascinating and some of the characters were developed in compelling, unpredictable ways (mainly the protagonist), it had some flaws. Some of the characters were barely developed at all, while others left you wondering why the author had chosen to tell any part of the story from their uninteresting perspective (older, bitter, matronly teacher stereotype, anyone? Shockingly, she enjoys donuts!). And I found the central mystery t ...more
Gabriel Fequiere
Jun 18, 2012 Gabriel Fequiere rated it it was ok

I was ALMOST ready to give up on this book by page 100 or really wasn't going anywhere up until that point but I so hate to quit on things I start. Couple things that has annoyed me up to now but I am dealing with. First off she writes the plot completely in the present tense. I don't know why this bugs me but it is absolutely jarring. She only uses the past when something truly is in the past in relation to the plot. Also the author loves her thesaurus just little too much. Some of her
KV Taylor
Jan 21, 2011 KV Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I started reading this the other day, thinking I'd use it as an occasional break from the crazy amounts of work I wanted to get done this week. Yeah, not so much, as it turned out, because I couldn't stop reading it--it stuck in my brain until I finished. And that's not a complaint.

I can't remember the last time I put a book down and felt like someone had beat me up--in a good way--but this one did it. I felt it: the places were so vivid, the people so real, the emotion so intense that I was
Aug 22, 2015 Margaret rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It had that good ole down home Deliverance feel to it. Yikes. I listened to the audio book read by Joe Geoffrey. He's a powerful reader, and really heightens suspense with his reading.
Sep 07, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
Joel Barker is the son of Avery, the sineater. Tradition forbids anyone to look upon the face of he who eats the sins of others. Joel has never seen his father. The small town in Virginia where Joel and his family live is built on religious tradition that the Barker family not be interacted with. The town's religious leader, Missy Campbell will do everything in her power to prevent the breaking of these traditions. She spouts fire-and-brimstone ravings to the town and gains some devout followers ...more
Sep 20, 2009 Donald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Any good piece of literature will speak of characters; of their faults and their redeeming qualities. The reader will know of the characters in a way that convinces said reader to care what happens. Elizabeth Massie does this masterfully in Sineater.

The rediculous notions of backwoods christianity are revealed in a way that is believable and at times even horrific. Massie's descriptive powers are spot on and cringe-worthy. This one reads as a who-dun-it and a coming of age story. It is at times
Jan 24, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it
This was like reading about a town chock full of the moms from the movie "Carrie." A young boy is destined by his family ties to live within the shadow of the mythical Sineater (who happens to be his father) and shunned by an entire community out of fear of this lineage. Though he tries to pave his own way through kindness and being earnest, he still stands alone. There are some murderous scenes here that take your breath away in a four-ticket-haunted-house-ride-kind-of-way. Superbly dark and ps ...more
Jan 13, 2013 Francisca rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
It became a little obvious towards the last 2/3 of the book who the killer was. It was well done though. I enjoyed the story from the boy's perspective. It added a creepier, tragic quality to the plot. I enjoyed Joel's role and his thoughts on everything. His 'friend', Dave or Burke, was way too creepy. Everything that happened in the book was really messed up. Also, I'm going to assume that Petrie was pregnant and that's why she left. However, it was never explained. It was an interesting read ...more
Bcoghill Coghill
Jun 20, 2014 Bcoghill Coghill rated it really liked it
I really liked this gothic horror type book. I did not know what was going on much of the time, but that is a big part of its charm.
Maybe people more familiar with the culture of the Southeast quadrant of USA would know. My culture is rural Alaska and we have large doses of strange as well. I can see the creatures of the Alaska/Canada wood (mythical?) in the scary things in this tale.
Feb 24, 2012 mcgob rated it really liked it
Whenever I read a horror book that's actually good (Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons, in this case), I always end up reading a bunch of others that are, usually, fairly bad. I guess I like the idea of horror literature, but I rarely find anything worthwhile. This one is better than most, although it ultimately turns out to be more of a murder mystery than a horror book. I should probably quit while I'm ahead...
May 25, 2013 Xssa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
it can be a little slow but over all i liked it. once i got into it i couldn't wait, and the ending was one i didn't see coming for a bit. overall, i recommend it. a slow build up of gathering horror. massie does a great job describing what it is like to grow up unliked by society, simply becuase of who you are.
May 20, 2015 Corinne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*ugh* Chapters 5-10 were tough to get through because of boredom.
It was alright but way too long for what it offered.
It falls in the mystery genre IMO.
Would I read it again? No
If I get to go back in time and have a do-over, would I read this book? No
Jeff Lambert
Oct 15, 2014 Jeff Lambert rated it liked it
This one started off so slowly I was tempted to discard it. Luckily I stuck with it as it turned out to be be quite good. The writing style was pretty meat and potatoes, but sometimes that can be just as effective as elaborate, flowery prose in the hands of the right author.
Nov 13, 2011 Eric rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
pretty sophomoric and i wonderd why it would have won a bram stroker. i quit reading it 300 pgs in. the descriptive narration was annoying as it was tangenteal and not speaking to the plot in anyway so why should i care? it was awfully predictable too. so glad its over.
Sep 18, 2007 Sarah added it
Shelves: didntfinish
Didn't finish it. I thought it was dark fantasy, rather than horror. The bit about the rodent corpse in the teacher's car in the first thirty pages more than enough for me.

So, don't read it if you don't like horror.
Dy Loveday
Oct 13, 2013 Dy Loveday rated it really liked it
Some excellent writing and solid characterization. The story stumbled in a few spots toward the end, with some odd scenes that felt rushed and disjointed. Overall, a good read.
Jun 12, 2012 Nikki rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The way it was written, the twist on Sin eater concept, character POV. Really good read.
Morbus Iff
Oct 04, 2014 Morbus Iff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, book-club
I have nothing good to say about this book. Just "eh".
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 36 37 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dead in the Water
  • Wither (Wendy Ward, #1)
  • The Night Class
  • Stained
  • The Dark Country
  • Dread in the Beast
  • Damnable
  • Johnny Gruesome
  • Fears Unnamed
  • The Unblemished
  • The Blood of the Lamb
  • Midnight Rain
  • The Hour Before Dark
  • Bad Things
  • The Between
  • Skin
  • Phantom
  • The Doll Who Ate His Mother
Elizabeth (Beth) Massie is a 2-time Bram Stoker Award winning author of horror/suspense/mystery novels and short fiction for adults. She also writes media-tie in fiction and historical fiction."
More about Elizabeth Massie...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »