Book Reviews · Books

The Luminous Dead

theluminousdead The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
Released: 2nd April 2019
Keywords: Adult, Horror, Sci Fi, Thriller, Suspense, LGBTQ, Gore

“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, Gyre finds her sense of control giving way to paranoia and anger. 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?

This is hands down one of my favourite books of 2020, I finished reading it over a month ago and still think about it regularly.
I picked this up as I heard that it was super weird and creepy and had similar feelings to Wilder Girls which was one of my top books of 2019, so I gave it a go and was not disappointed, I might even rate this book above Wilder Girls if anything.

We follow a female caver hired to go on a solo mission without really knowing what it is she’s trying to find down there, but confident in her abilities she figures it’s worth it for the money she wants to use to try and find her mother.
The only communication she has throughout the whole mission is the woman who hired her and a big part of why I loved this book was the relationship we see slowly being built between the two, and the constant question of if she can really be trusted at all or if she is willing to leave us for dead down in the depths of the cave like she has done with so many others that have attempted the mission previously.

The way the author writes the atmosphere, surroundings and feelings of what our main girl is experiencing really puts you down in the heart of the cave system with her and it is honestly terrifying. The constant threat of an unknown danger called a Tunneler, the bodies of previous cavers we find along the way, the constant feeling of being watched.

This was a really impressive read and I found it hard to put down as I just had to find out what happened next, it kept me guessing until the very end and genuinely freaked me out.

If you’re looking for a really good atmospheric sci fi thriller I would highly recommend giving this book a go.

My rating: 5/5 stars

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