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Young Adult Fiction 1388
The Luminaries Sequel
(Updated: December 26, 2023)
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THE HUNTING MOON by Susan Dennard is a YA Paranormal Fantasy and sequel to THE LUMINARIES. This book picks right up where we left off: Winnie has completed her trials and been declared a hunter. Only now, navigating this new shift in attention and acceptance is not all she imagined it to be. While all eyes are on her, she inconveniently finds clues from her dad indicating what happened before isn’t what it seemed. If anyone discovers she has these messages, she could be an outcast again. Jay, however, is willing to help her find the truth, despite how complicated their relationship is getting too.

THE HUNTING MOON defies the sophomore slump! Partly it’s because it reads like the first novel in a series in that it offers first arc resolutions we probably should’ve seen at the end of THE LUMINARIES. The first book ends so abruptly and without many answers, I didn’t even realize it was The End. THE HUNTING MOON, on the other hand, leaves off on a great cliffhanger and gives readers enough to propel them into the next step in the story. Not only that, but it had me on the edge of my seat, and I seriously can’t wait for THE WHISPERING NIGHT, projected to release in October 2024. (**How am I going to wait that long?! I need to know what happens stat!**)

Because of how the plot points are set up, there is a level of waiting for Winnie to uncover what the audience already knows or assumes is going to be true, and since we could make those assumptions already during book one, it does slow the plot down a bit. That being said, it also makes sense why different moments unveil as they do, and Dennard is particularly skilled at adding meaning to each detail and moment. In other words, each scene is there by design, and rest assured, it will have a later purpose. I was thoroughly impressed by all the threads she weaved together.

What is most successful about this book is the atmosphere Dennard creates. In all the good ways, like tone, misty setting, the supernatural, and more, it reminds me of TWILIGHT. I like the setting of Hemlock Falls, how much Winnie is starting to question her life there, and how those thoughts could be useful in examining our real world. I also especially like the relationship between Jay and Winnie. While it's a painfully slow burn, it’s worth the wait, and I’m excited to see how they take on everything together in the third book.

Overall, THE HUNTING MOON captures the dark academia, picturesque town, and world of secrets, similar to the vibe of RIVERDALE’s pilot episode. Hemlock Falls will be a place you want to escape to again and again.

If like me you’re already having withdrawals, be sure to follow Dennard on her social platforms for her “Choose with Sooz” in which she invites her followers to vote on story elements!
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