Book Review: The Luminous Dead

THE LUMINOUS DEAD | Caitlin Starling
04.02.2019 | Harper Voyager
Rating: 4/5 stars


Gyre Price has lied her way into a caving expedition where she is under the impression she will be mapping mineral deposits. The massive paycheck waiting for her at the end far outweighs the threat of cave collapses and gear malfunctions. At this point in Gyre’s life she’s willing to risk anything to get off-planet and allow her search for her mother to start. Instead of a team guiding her every move, she has Em and only Em. Nothing about this mission is as it seems. Em is controlling and clearly hiding a secret, but then Gyre has secrets of her own. Alone and scared, Gyre must keep going despite the struggles if she hopes to survive.


THE LUMINOUS DEAD is an atmospheric, claustrophobic, and captivating story about one woman facing the unthinkable inside a mysterious and deadly cave. From the first moment that Gyre walks into the cave system that she is being paid to explore, the reader can feel the walls closing in. Starling does an incredible job of bringing something unfamiliar for the reader to life before their eyes. I could feel the dark closing in while Gyre explored. The level of paranoia about any little sound inside the cave kept me on the edge of my seat.

In addition to a fantastic setting and consistent unease are two main characters whose relationship and interactions constantly kept me guessing. Gyre and Em clearly have secrets they’re hiding, but initially it’s not exactly clear what they are or how they will ultimately shape the progression of this expedition. I was wowed by how Starling wove an entire story together with only two characters. While the reader spends the majority of their time with Gyre, you’re still able to get a good sense of Em and what makes her tick.

THE LUMINOUS DEAD is a great mixture of science fiction and horror that keeps your heart pumping and mind wondering what is going to happen next!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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