Small towns filled with hunters, tasked with killing nightmarish monsters each night to keep the rest of the modern world safely unaware. A girl with a burning desire to belong. A boy with secrets. Welcome to the American branch of the Luminaries.
Hemlock Falls isn't like other towns. You won't find it on a map, your phone won't work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you.
Winnie Wednesday is a teenager with a very abnormal life. For one thing, she lives in Hemlock Falls—a town filled with clans of hunters, all driven to fight the magical nightmares that plague their forests each night. Each day of the week has a clan, and each clan hunts the nightmares on their day of the week.
Except for Winnie Wednesday and her family. Because while they might be "Wednesdays" in name, the truth of the matter is... they're outcasts. So Winnie spends her days ignored, slighted, and mocked. It's not a good living. Her exiled father's one mistake costed her family's entire happiness, and now it's up to Winnie to redeem their name in the only way she knows how: by succeeding in the Hunter trials during the month of her sixteenth birthday.
But there's something stranger than usual afoot in the forests of Hemlock Falls... and Winnie's about to find herself right in the middle of it.
(Oh, and so will her ex-friend, Jay. The mysteriously handsome and aloof boy whom Winnie can't forgive—and yet can't forget.)
Alright.... So I think I'm going to take this book as a sign. A sign that I, for some reason, do not vibe with Susan Dennard's stories. (I love her as a person and will continue to enjoy her on Twitter/etc.) This entire review needs to be taken with a grain of salt because I really should have stopped reading Dennard after I tried and failed to read the Witchlands series after multiple attempts. But that's neither here nor there, so let's talk about this book specifically.
Have you ever read a story that feels like you SHOULD totally love it, and yet it's like just outside of your reach in a frustrating manner? That was The Luminaries for me.
I loved the concept. That hooked me in from the start and continued to compel me throughout the reading experience. Each weekday clan with a motto, a cause, and some shady secrets? Sign me up! How interesting! The atmosphere and general sense of setting was darkly whimsical in the best way.
But... the story itself fell flat for me. The characters felt basic, like templates of the standard YA character tropes. The plot feel both too bogged down with weird details and yet so utterly vague on large concepts.
I also have one major issue, but it is a spoiler so I will keep it vague here for the purposes of this review: the town's reactions to Winnie's family? Made no sense? Literal adults, acting like that? Even family members? I just could NOT get into the logic of that.
Anyways, not one for me. Which is a bummer. HOWEVER, it seems like this author's logic flow and mine maybe are at odds, so it might just be me. Give this one a try if the description interests you!
Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.