Book Review: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard is her new YA Fantasy series. Is this another series you should get into? Read on for my The Luminaries review. 

The Luminaries Book


The Luminaries centers on Winnie. Her father’s betrayal leaves Winnie with her mother and brother, an outcast from their society. On her birthday, she gets one chance during the trials to prove her loyalty and regain their status. Untrained and unfit, she braves the forest of Hemlock Falls. Winnie has only her wits and a photographic memory for survival. Will she pass the trials? Better yet, will she survive the night?

The Luminaries Review

The Luminaries is a Young Adult Fantasy fiction. But this caters to every reader who loves a good, dark adventure.

The story takes its readers to Hemlock Falls, a small isolated town. Its inhabitants are either the prey or the hunter. Most scenes transpire under the guise of night deep in the forest. All these elements make for a dark atmosphere, elevating a sense of tension to the readers.

Ms. Dennard writes for sensory appeal, especially the sounds. It engages the reader to get into the moment with the character.

The characters are complex and compelling.

Winnie’s decisions and actions make her worth following when the stakes are high. She is clever, gifted with a photographic memory, and an artist but stumbles a lot. The best thing about her is her moral compass.

Jay, a supporting cast, guides but never intervenes. He holds a mysterious aura that piques one’s curiosity.

The monsters/nightmares in The Luminaries are reimagined supernatural and mythical creatures. Ms. Dennard presents these creatures coming straight for you, with up close and personal scrutiny that again tickles the senses. This ingenuity takes danger to another level.

Ms. Dennard writes the fragility and fickleness of human relationships in this book. The sense of belonging to a community versus the lack of one. The heartaches from a feeling of abandonment. The challenge of forgiving, trusting, and moving on.

At the same time, The Luminaries depicts what one will do when an opportunity arises. Rise to the occasion or cower to a safe corner. Winnie’s actions elevate her status. She knows what she’s up against. Despite her fears, she owns up, showing her courage and grit.

The Luminaries make for an immersive read. A mash-up of supernatural beings, underdog characters, and survival stakes? Then, I highly recommend you read The Luminaries.

“You either trust the forest or you don’t, Winnie. You have to make up your mind.” – Jay

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