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Review: The Luminaries - Susan Dennard

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Published: Daphne Press, January 2023 My Rating: 1/5 stars

“Culture runs deeper than blood. ” Might well be, but this book was an uncultured mess…

I genuinely hate giving any book a one-star rating, but especially so when it’s an ARC and hasn’t even been released yet. However, with The Luminaries I cannot justify any other rating. This is the most superficial, bland and pointless book I’ve read in a long time.

Synopsis (as paraphrased from the backflap):

We follow 16-year old Winnie Wednesday, who lives in a mysterious, reclusive town, surrounded by monster-infested-woods and plagued by ancient family feuds and prejudices (think Four Paths from The Devouring Gray). Winnie wants to join the Luminaries, the ancient order of monster-hunters that protects humanity from the monsters and nightmares that rise in the forest every night. In order to do so, she must complete three deadly trials to prove her worth. Her competitor is a broodingly handsome bad-boy. They team up and a hate-to-love-romance ensues.

Have you read that synopsis? Great! You’ve read the entire book. Literally nothing else of interest happens and no more depth is reached within the following 300 pages. Story: thin as a leaf.

Characters: flat as a doormat.

Worldbuilding: entirely unoriginal.

Romance: Twilight levels of cringe.

I’m reaching for something positive to mention within this review, but I’m stumped. I guess the book is visually beautiful. It has an eye-catching cover, beautiful character-headings and includes some illustrated compendium-pages depicting the monsters that roam the woods. Those were pretty cool. Other than that, I have little to say. I don’t expect a YA-paranormal fantasy to be a literary masterpiece, but this was offensively low-effort. This is my strongest DO-NOT-RECOMMEND out of any ARC I’ve read in a long time.

Many thanks regardless to Daphne Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. You can find this book here on Goodreads.


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