The Hunting Moon
Grade : B

The story of Winnie Wednesday continues in The Hunting Moon, the next part of Susan Dennard’s Luminaries series. I enjoyed this just as much as I did its predecessor, though the series still isn’t quite hitting DIK levels for me.

Note: There are spoilers for book one, The Luminaries, in this review.

For those who missed out on the first part of the series, Hemlock Falls is a place entranced by magic. Cut off from the outside world, it is a unique atmosphere where the impossible happens regularly – but only at night. Winnie Wednesday comes from an ancestral line of Luminaries, a group of people tasked with protecting Hemlock Falls from those monsters every night and keeping them from escaping into the outside world. The Wednesdays, however, had been denied entry to the Luminaries and were shunned by the town at large due to the fact that Winnie’s father was exposed as a Diana – a member of a witchlike society that is the Luminaries’ mortal enemy. They want to release the monsters hiding in their midst (which escape during the night) into the world beyond the town’s boundaries. Winnie’s father was castigated as a witch, and his family lived in poverty, doing menial tasks to atone for his sins.

Winnie escaped the weight of her father’s shadow by becoming a Hunter: someone who patrols the boarders of Hemlock Falls to keep the monsters from escaping or injuring the citizens. Winnie has passed her trials – thanks to an assist from her mentor and maybe-boyfriend, Jay Friday -- and her family’s status as a revered group of Luminaries has been returned. Everything should be on an upward swing, but there’s already trouble in the forest.

The town is still in search of the werewolf they blame for killing Hunters at a high rate, but Winnie knows that it’s a Whisperer invading the citizenry’s nightmares. No one believes her, and this begins to jeopardize her status as a hunter.

The mystery involving her father’s true purpose in the Dianas still looms, and he keeps trying to lead her to the truth – well, the truth as he sees it. Might he – and the Dianas themselves – actually be innocent? To unwrap all of these mysteries, Wednesday needs to lean on Jay – but Jay’s got problems of his own, as Winnie is soon shocked to find out. What is the truth? Is Winnie a Hunter - or is she a Diana?

Winnie’s latest adventures slackens the book’s pace, and makes much of the front half of the tale drag. Once Winnie and Jay are out there together in the woods and putting together puzzles, the story begins to enliven. But it takes a little too long to get there. Fortunately, the second half of the book keeps it alive, the mystery propelling it perfectly.

Winnie is still her dour, snarky self, and the worldbuilding here is beginning to ratchet up quite well. But the story also suffers from the fact that there still isn’t a whole lot of momentum in Winnie’s journey toward self-discovery. I guess that leaves things up to the third book to solve. The Hunting Moon adds on well to the series, but definitely leaves readers longing for more.

Note: This book contains some scenes of intense violence.

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : B
Book Type: Young Adult

Sensuality: Kisses

Review Date : November 25, 2023

Publication Date: 11/2023

Review Tags: fantasy

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
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