The Luminaries | ARC Review

Thank you to TOR Teen and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway

Book: The Luminaries (The Luminaries 1) by Susan Dennard
Release Date: November 1st 2022
Tags: Young Adult | Young Adult Fantasy | Nightmares | Mystical Creatures | Werewolves | Shapeshifters | Banshees
Trigger/Content Warnings: PTSD | Alcohol Consumption | Bullying
Other books in this author I reviewed

Truthwitch | Windwitch | Sightwitch (excerpt)


Hemlock Falls isn’t like other towns. You won’t find it on a map, your phone won’t work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you. Only the Luminaries, a society of ancient guardians, stand between humanity and the nightmares of the forest that rise each night.

Winnie Wednesday, an exile from the Luminaries, is determined to restore her family’s good name by taking the deadly hunter trials on her sixteenth birthday. But when she turns to her ex best friend Jay Friday for help, they discover a danger lurking in the forest no one in Hemlock Falls is prepared for.

Not all monsters can be slain, and not all nightmares are confined to the dark. 

A few years ago I started reading The Witchlands series by Susan Dennard. It did not work for me at all. But never one to give up on an author for just one series I was very intrigued by The Luminaries. Luckily for me I really enjoyed this first installment.

Winnie Wednesday is an outcast in Hemlock Falls, the unique town that has Luminaries stand between the town and the nightmares that rise each night. Her father betrayed them to their enemies, and despite not knowing anything about this, their family become instand outcasts. Winnie isn’t satisfied with that. She wants to become a luminaries hunter for the Wednesdays. But will the town except her as an outcast to the trials? And what happens when Winnie lets a lie slip about what really happens in the forest?

The Luminaries is a quick moving story that navigates us through the basic workings of Hemlock Falls and the Luminaries. It is very much an introductionary tale to a bigger story. And there is nothing wrong with that. We all need a story to start somewhere. My only complaint is that I would have liked just a bit more world building. A bit more on The Luminaries. A bit more on their rivalry with the Diana’s. A bit more on Winnie’s relationship with her father (and mother, and other relatives more the outcast).

Regardless of that, I enjoyed following Winnie around. She really believes she can be a hunter with barely any training (unlike the others). And when it hits that no, she really can’t but a lie makes everyone believe she is amazing, well she just barrels on through. While mentally smacking herself for it along the way. But she is a teen. Just 16. It was all very fitting for her age and her personality really.

I also loved the emotions that barreled through this book with Winnie and her father. And Winnie and her family with the relatives that treated them like outcasts and then just acted as if none of that happened. It is an emotional whiplash and I felt that.

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