When the sun sets in the forests of Hemlock Falls, a heavy mist rises, bringing with it a host of horrifying creatures. From banshees to were-beasts, these living nightmares exist to wreak terror and destruction and must be killed or contained within the boundaries of the forest. If they were to escape, they would destroy the world.
Winnie Wednesday desperately wants to become a Hunter for the Luminaries, the international order whose seven clans keep humanity safe. Each clan is named for a day of the week, and each has its own motto. The Wednesday clan’s motto is “loyalty through and through,” which Winnie’s family happily embodied until her dad was revealed to be a traitor and disappeared from their lives. Winnie and her family have been shunned and scorned by the other Luminaries in the four years since.
But as her 16th birthday approaches, Winnie is ready to restore her family to its rightful place by passing the grueling Hunter trials. It won’t be easy, since she hasn’t spent the past four years training with the other Wednesdays. She reluctantly realizes that there is one person she could ask for help: her ex-best friend, Jay Friday, who is now one of the best—and most handsome—Hunters in Hemlock Falls.
In The Luminaries, bestselling author Susan Dennard kicks off a darkly magical, action-packed new series and introduces a mysterious world filled with monsters. Readers will urge Winnie on as she gains confidence, strength and lots of bruises while training with the capable yet secretive Jay. Dennard builds tension as what seemed impossible comes tantalizingly within Winnie’s reach. But Winnie’s doubts grow, too. Does she really want to become part of a group that shunned her and her family?
Plenty of gasp-inducing thrills, monstrous gore and empathetic soul-searching—plus a little tentative flirting—bring The Luminaries to a satisfying conclusion. Dennard resolves important questions and tees up some well-placed cliffhangers for the next installment. In the meantime, readers should check out the author’s acknowledgments, in which she thanks the fans who helped get the book started via a wonderful 2019 choose-your-own-story Twitter thread that still lives online. LumiNerds, arise!