Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Review | The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

The Luminous Dead is a scifi/horror novel by Caitlin Starling.

A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival.

When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.

Instead, she got Em.

Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . .

As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, her control giving way to paranoia and anger, Gyre severs her connection with Em and the outside world. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head.

But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?

I absolutely loved The Luminous Dead. It's so rare for me to pick up a book, be immediately hooked, and stay that way through the entirety of the novel. The Luminous Dead is 432 pages, and I would have had no problem reading it in one sitting if life wasn't in the way. Even with life I was able to knock it out in 2 days. I did not want to put it down.

The Luminous Dead is Caitlin Starling's debut novel. Caitlin Starling is now on my autobuy list. The Luminous Dead only had two characters and one setting for the entire book, and yet I was riveted.

The cave setting was the perfect setup for psychological suspense. It wasn't as horror heavy as I was expecting it to be, but I loved the constant sense of dread.

The Luminous Dead is one of my favorite reads so far this year, and I highly recommend it!


Review copy provided by publisher


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  1. I'm so thrilled you loved this one since I just got a copy. And how dare life get in the way!

  2. So glad to hear this! I've read a couple of negative reviews so I was worried. I hope I love it as well😁

    1. You seem to love character driven stories like I do so I have high hopes for you, Tammy!

  3. Cave settings are always irresistible to me! And the fact that you couldn't put this one down? I'm in. :D

  4. This didn't really work as well for me, but I'm glad you enjoyed! I think I expected it to be creepier, but like you said, it wasn't very horror intensive.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  5. YAY!! I cannot wait to give this one a read.


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