Review: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Series: The Luminaries #1
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Released: November 1, 2022
Received: Own

4 kitties

Book Summary:

Winnie Wednesday comes from a line of monster hunters. Like many of her kind, she lives in Hemlock Falls. Unlike most of her kind, Winnie’s direct family has been shunned. They bear the brunt of the guilt, as her father was declared a traitor (and worse).

All Winnie ever wanted was to become a hunter, and she’s not going to let this exclusion stop her from trying. In fact, if she tries and succeeds, she could make the lives of her brother and mother so much better. She has to try. No matter the risk or the cost.

My Review:

Like many other Susan Dennard fans, I have been counting down the days to the release of The Luminaries. The excitement began a couple of years ago when Susan Dennard read a choose-your-own-adventure of sorts on Twitter, with readers getting to vote on Winnie’s actions. It was a blast – it was also something we all needed at the time (think about the timing).

Now we have the first novel in our hands, and it feels amazing. Was it what I was expecting? Yup, I would have to say! A lot is going on in this world, and I’m not just talking about the monsters. We have several hunter families, internal politics, and more than a few mysteries.

Naturally, world-building is one of my favorite elements. I’m also particularly curious about one mystery, but I won’t share my theories at the moment (spoilers! If you want to discuss this privately, send me a PM).

Winnie is a young and determined protagonist, which I know some readers cherish (while others avoid). Personally, I appreciated her drive and thought she made several good points. Even if she was a bit reckless on more than one occasion, I guess that’s a Wednesday trait, huh?

I hope the second novel will answer some of these questions, though I have no idea how long we’ll have to wait until then. Regardless, I’m sure it will be worth it.


  • Magical society
  • Young Adult Fantasy
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Monster Hunters
  • Based on interactive tweet thread
  • Quest for Justce

Trigger Warnings:

  • Bullying
  • PTSD
  • Exclusionary Behaviors

Thanks to Tor Teen and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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