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The Devourers

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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  3,061 ratings  ·  729 reviews
On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man’s unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion. So Alok agrees, at the stranger’s behest, to transcribe a ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published 2015 by Penguin Books India
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Bradley
I can't honestly say that it is a completely unique experience to say that I've been consumed by a story, but I can honestly say that I've never consumed and been consumed by one in equal proportions.

This one hit me in the feels, and I can't quite say that I've ever really been taken in by the whole werewolf phenomenon, and although I have enjoyed the whole idea of burning life and and desperate death struggles, no particular novelization or film has quite done for me what this novel accomplishe
...more
Heidi The Reader
A wholly original shape-shifter tale that also delves into identity, gender roles, and love. Alok is a college professor who is approached one night by a person who claims to be more than a man. Alok doesn't believe the stranger until an unbelievable vision, caused by the man's hypnotic words, appears in Alok's mind. Suddenly, the stranger's claims that he's a werewolf don't seem so far fetched. The stranger, who won't reveal his name, has a job for Alok, the transcription of an ancient narrativ ...more
Althea Ann
I really thought I was going to love this one. A story of werewolves and the mythology of India, from a graduate of the prestigious Clarion writers' workshop? Sign me right up!

Unfortunately, Indra Das' writing just didn't capture my imagination the way I expected it to. In style, this is more of a literary allegory on gender, relationships and identity than it is a fantasy or horror tale, so if that is up your alley, your mileage may vary accordingly.

As our story opens, a young college professo
...more
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

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There are two types of people in this world: those who like vampires, and those who like werewolves. I've always been a vampire gal, but there's something intriguing about shape-shifters and that blurring of the line between humanity and beast. That's why I was excited to find THE DEVOURERS in the Kindle store, a book about rakshasa, or man-eaters/shape-shifters, in India. The cover was gorgeous, the summary was intriguing, and it promis
...more
Melanie
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Devourers is a twist on Indian folklore that is an absolutely wonderful representation of different cultures, gender issues, bi-sexuality, unconventional love, masculinity, and even rape. This story has werewolf folklore from many different cultures, too. I think this book would appeal to many different readers that read my reviews.

I'm going to be rather vague in this review, because I think this book is probably be
...more
Lena
Jun 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was the most disgusting book I've ever read and I recently finished Dreamcatcher, King's ode to farts, diarrhea, and shit weasels.

This was worse.


I wanted to say nice things, like this is an interesting story somewhere between Interview with the Vampire and an LGBT Donna Boyd tale. Now all that's true but this is a male author and he's decided to literally PISS all over that story. Hot, asparagus, UTI level piss. Oh yes, he brought the stink.

This story was brought to you by the letter
...more
The Shayne-Train
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I don't even know how to review this. This book is amazing, and unlike anything I've ever read.

Ostensibly a "werewolf" novel, it is so, so much more. First of all, the term "werewolf" is sort of a misnomer. Consider it more a shapeshifter novel, mostly told by way of flashbacks and journal entries. Secondofly, the POV changes often, letting you see all sides of the story. And when I say it changes, man, I mean it changes. Sometimes mid-paragraph or even mid-sentence towards the end when the pitc
...more
Kaora
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Honestly I picked this book up because of the cover. It is gorgeous and the blurb instantly caught my attention being compared to some big name authors.

I was hoping for something like Uprooted, it being a story of Indian folklore. However it was nothing near what I expected.

So let us start with the good.

The tale was alright. I did enjoy learning about werewolves in cultures across the world. It is so interesting that so many different cultures all have a word for these creatures, and their own
...more
Kogiopsis
CONTENT WARNING: This book, and by necessity this review, contains discussions of rape.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No outside considerations went into this review.
All quotes are taken from a galley copy of the book, and may differ from the final printed version.


It's been over a month since I finished this book, and I've been putting off writing a review for it because I just... don't know what to say. Partly this is because The Devourers deals with heavy
...more
Tori (InToriLex)
Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex
Actual Rating 2.5
I expected an action packed narrative based on Indian Folklore, however the pacing and excessive gore led to disappointment. Alok is a relateable protagonist, but most of the book is the battered notebooks he is transcribing. The tale describes gender fluid shape shifting beings, their way of life, powers and superiority over humans. The narrative is interesting but was presented slowly and didn't engage me. The character development do
...more
Aliette
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. In Kolkata, the narrator Alok, a middle aged professor at university, meets a man who professes to be half-werewolf, part of a population of shape-shifters that hunts down and kills humans, devouring both their bodies and their memories. The man gives the narrator a manuscript to transcribe, the story of shape-shifters Gévaudan and Fenrir; and Cyrah, a woman who gets raped by Fenrir, finds herself pregnant (to shape-shifters, an abomination not because of the rape, but because ...more
Allison Hurd
This was a really cool concept with an ambitious scope. I applaud the author for that, and for trying so hard to honor so many different stories at once. But I don't think it had quite cooked long enough. I had to do a lot of the work to swallow this book, and if you'll allow me an extended metaphor, it didn't quite sit well.

CONTENT WARNING: (just a list of topics) (view spoiler)
...more
Silvana
If I could give this book six stars, I would. I did not remember the last time I feel shell shocked after reading a book. I found myself rather breathless at the end, I felt I was going to cry.

This book felt personal. Maybe because the setting - India and Indonesia are both colorful, lush, fragrant lands and the supernatural tales woven in this book remind me of my own childhood, with all the stories of those who hunt us, human, the weak ones.

At first, The Devourers looked like a rip off of Int
...more
Arielle
This was nearly so, so incredibly good.

I'm not much of a one for "werewolves", though shapeshifters when done right can be a whole other story. The Devourers really is a whole other story. I haven't read anything much like this before, though now that I think of it The Incarnations does come to mind. This is (a very small amount) less horrific, and (a very large amount) more beautifully told, however - not counting the fact that it's a different culture, different setting, different story entir
...more
Maryam
What a surprise this read was! When I first started this book and up to first 30% I didn’t thought even for a second that I’ll add this book to my favorite shelf. yah I am touched by this book!


Once in a far town called Mumtaz Abad a trio of shapeshifters each from one part of Europe walked past a young Persian woman sitting in a courtyard of a caravanserai!


Fenrir the shapeshifter, werewolf, monster who loves humans. He is a devourer who wants to create, to have a child, to love but love is forbi
...more
Gabi
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was beautiful!

Carnal, cannibalistic, vulgar, garnished with frequent mentions of excretions – but beautiful! I have no other way to describe it.

Indra Das‘ prose manages to entrance, to paint a vivid (and bloody … and other fluidly) picture of a story of two interwoven lives. It is hard to describe this novel, it has to be felt. There is a lot of abhorrent stuff going on (view spoiler),
...more
Carly
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, folklore
"I am the monster in your tale."
The Devourers is an utterly unique story, a lyrical, dreamlike, all-consuming experience. It's a story within a story, interwoven with metaphor and symbolism. On the most mundane level, it's a story of monsters, of shapeshifters, a story of rape, of what happens after, of how a woman victimized by a monster seeks to regain empowerment. The Devourers spans many eras, but the backbone of the story takes place in modern-day Kolkata, where a jaded historian meets a fa
...more
Anushree
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is not everyday that one comes across a delectable dish of a book which one eats up in a single go, impatient because it is so good, but sad at the same time because it would be over soon, and then can't get over its taste for months to come. One goes around town, asking every eatery if they have that dish, with its richness of texture and the amazing burst of every single ingredient that one can taste with each bite, and one is offered many a things, but never exactly that. One then sits dow ...more
Claudia ✨
“Intimacy lies in the body and the soul, in scent, in touch and taste and sound. A man whose name you don’t know can tell you a tale to move you to tears, just by filling and emptying his lungs, by moving his tongue and lips, his fingers. Even after, you might never know him.”

I don't really know where to begin. I've never read anything even similar to this strange tale that Indra Das has woven. The Devourers was repulsive and strange, it was poetic and alluring, it had me hooked from the very
...more
Mike
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting book to read. It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read – I thought parts of it were forced – but nonetheless I’m going to be thinking about this one for a while, I can tell.

My thoughts on this are somewhat disjointed, so this review’s going to be a little scattershot.

* This book is set in India, alternating between present-day Kolkata and the 16th century Mughal Empire. I know very little about India, to tell the truth; this is the first book I’ve ever read set there, a
...more
Em
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy shit. This is the queer feminist genderfluid South Asian anticolonialist own-voices shapeshifter fantasy novel you didn't know you were waiting for. Remarkably well-crafted, imaginative, and moving.
Emma Sea
I tried. I really tried. The writing is gorgeous, but it just couldn't hold my attention. Reading it continued to feel like work. I only made it to page 43. I am a bad reader *hangs head*
Lata
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley
Well, I think I’ve put this review off long enough, and it will be a short one, since our fantastic discussion in the CBR book club last month covered a LOT of ground.

The Devourers is certainly an original take on werewolves, I’ll give it that, but this book was just not for me.

I get intellectually what it was going for, and in parts I was engaged, but overall, I just didn’t care. At the beginning of the book, I actively disliked it. As many have said in their reviews, for me it got better once
...more
Allison
Sep 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lush, wonderful novel that delves into werewolf folklore from several different cultures, while also managing to be topical about gender, rape, and the nature of love.

Longer review to follow later.
Devann
[edit 8/7/19: I still think about this book a LOT so I decided to bump my rating up to 5 stars]

"I will not be your human idol, your little goddess of suffering. I am not all human women. And you would do well to remember that while you devour and rape and preach and lament that humans will never love you."

actual rating: 4.5

This seems to be one of those books that you either hate or love and i almost didn't pick it up because it seems to have so many mixed reviews. I can definitely see how it wou
...more
Rani
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What's with all the descriptions of urine? This is, for the most part, a beautifully written book, but for whatever reason, it feels like there is constant talk and description of piss. Once or twice, I could understand, but it's pretty gross and jolted me out of the narrative. And there are several narrators throughout the book, so it doesn't really make sense that every narrator would be like "and he pissed and this is what it smelled/ felt like." It made it seem more like a weird authorial ti ...more
Sebastian
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This... was a bit of a surprise. I feared that the beautiful cover and (mostly) rave reviews would hide a mediocre or even shoddy story, and I usually avoid werewolf stories because they are, for the most part, not scary, and I also kinda felt the trope has been beaten to death. But Das somehow manages to refresh things, using gorgeous baroque language to weave a continent-wide story of intermingled cultures (brownie points from Serbia for the vukodlaks) and identities. The detachment and othern ...more
Lottie
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-favorites
Reading this was an experience I’ll never forget.
The Devourers is as magical as it is horrific, weaving beautiful prose with grotesque imagery in a way that left me both profoundly disturbed and absolutely mesmerized.
This is the story of a regular college professor who finds himself inexplicably drawn to a mysterious stranger who tells tales of shape-shifting beasts, claiming to be half-beast himself. When he’s asked to transcribe documents for this stranger, he finds himself fascinated by the
...more
Elliot
Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-lit, horror
I've been holding off on writing my review for this because I'm having a difficult time summing up my feelings. I suppose just this once I'm going to be very brief and very blunt.

This book is very well written. It is very descriptive and pulls you into the world and the lives of the characters. Which is a mixed bag because this book is about rape. To be clear I don't just mean that a rape occurs. Not only does a rape occur but the entire book centers on that act, the repercussions, and the paral
...more
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See also Indrapramit Das.

Indrapramit Das (aka Indra Das) is a writer and artist from Kolkata, India. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in several publications including Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com, and has also been widely anthologized. He is an Octavia E. Butler scholar and a grateful graduate of Clarion West 2012. He completed his M.F.A. at the University of Br
...more

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For as long as people have been telling stories, we’ve spun tales of the monsters and nightmares that lurk in the shadows of our imaginations....
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“Intimacy lies in the body and the soul, in scent, in touch and taste and sound. A man whose name you don’t know can tell you a tale to move you to tears, just by filling and emptying his lungs, by moving his tongue and lips, his fingers. Even after, you might never know him.” 5 likes
“To tell stories of the past to children who walk into the future is a task both noble and taxing.” 1 likes
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