“The Luminaries” has such cool vibes. A mysterious secret society tasked with keeping the Nightmares dreamed up by a sleeping spirit from leaving the forest and being discovered? Uh, yes please! Plus I happened to get this book from my Illumicrate subscription so it’s seriously beautiful. We follow Winnie, an outcast in the Luminaries who is desperate to become a Hunter and reclaim her family's good name. Winnie knows everything there is to know about the Nightmares dwelling in the forest, but that doesn’t mean she’s prepared for some of the monsters she finds, or the scrutiny of Hemlock Falls back on her and her family as a result of taking the trials. Everything about this book sounds moody and delightful, but there were too many little things that added up and, ultimately, spoiled my enjoyment of this book.
I like darker YA reads, I also tend to like slower burn books, ones that take their time getting you wrapped up in a story as those tend to give me a more emotional experience. While “The Luminaries” is both of those things, it’s also redundant around certain things that just make me cringe. The book tells you at least 100 times about Winnie’s leather jacket. It’s not a magical jacket, but you’ll hear about it a ton like it has some deeper purpose. The book also tells you over and over again about Winnie’s really unnatural nervous tick: clicking her teeth. Have you ever tried clicking your teeth when you weren’t shivering or chewing something? It’s such an unnatural thing to do that I didn’t buy it for a second that this was a thing Winnie naturally does. For why, I ask? Then the author uses far too much purple prose when describing one monster in particular that it rendered it completely meaningless to me and stripped this monster of any creep factor it may have had. The POV is a bit odd for this book as well, a present tense third person, which isn’t my favorite but something I could have gotten over if it was the only issue I had, clearly it was not.
But all of the above may not have deterred me from continuing on in the series. The vibes are right up my alley, after all. But Winnie and Jay were both hard to care about for me, and the author just left too much unanswered for me to trust that they can address everything in the next book. I won’t elaborate because it could be considered a spoiler, but tons of questions and mysteries are introduced in this book with not a single one being resolved and I really, really needed some of them to be addressed in order to capture my interest enough to continue with this series. But there was absolutely no resolution to anything come the end of the book, which made for a very lackluster ending to be honest. It’s really too bad, this book had so much promise, and it was fairly easy to read and, therefore, to get through even with the redundancies and off putting character ticks, which is why it’s getting 2.5 stars from me. I’ll still give this author another chance, but it is looking more and more like they simply not be for me.
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