Book Review | The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Thank you Daphne Press and NetGalley for providing me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

The Luminaries is a YA fantasy written by Susan Dennard, the New York Times bestselling author of the Witchlands series.

“That’s why we’re called the Luminaries, Winnie: we are the lanterns the forest can never snuff out..”

Our FMC Winnie Wednesday is an outcast. Her family is continuously shunned and taunted by the locals of Hemlock Falls, a mysterious town inhabited by a secret order known as The Luminaries.

The Luminaries are highly trained organisation sworn to protect humanity from spirits, also known as Nightmares. These creatures take many forms such as were-creatures, banshees, vampira and basilisks. Every night these creatures rise from the mist and seep out of the forest that surround Hemlock Falls. It’s their job to track and kill them.

Winnie’s family were once prominent members of The Luminaries, however, once it was discovered that her father was a traitor working for their enemies, a group of witches known only as the Dianas, Winnie, her brother and her mother were punished and sentenced to 10 years in exile. Her father hasn’t been seen since he fled and left his family in ruin.

Winnie desperately wants to restore her family’s status. When her sixteenth birthday arrives, she finally gets her opportunity. She is eligible to take part in a series of challenges which, if successful, will bring honor to her family and allow her to become an official hunter.

I really enjoyed this book, although I still have a huge amount of questions which is a little frustrating. I understand that The Luminaries is Book 1 in an ongoing series, however, I would have appreciated more depth and closer attention to world-building in order to fully immerse myself in the story.

The town itself is a bit of an enigma. My understanding is that it’s like a compound, completely closed off from the outside world, however, I would like to understand more about its’ origins and structure. Likewise, the mysterious Dianas. Their so-called rivals are completely shrouded in mystery.

That being said, it was a very enjoyable read. I’m really invested in Winnie’s story and I loved how driven and determined she is. This book was a wonderful introduction to the hidden world of the Luminaries and I can’t wait to see where the series takes us next.

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard will be released on January 26, 2023 and is available to pre-order HERE.