The Luminous Dead
Booklist Reviews 2019 March #2
She's got the will and the skills but no experience, so she lied. The money was just too good. Should she really be surprised when she discovers her handler is also a liar? Gyre is an excellent climber but not good enough when the caving exploration she was hired for goes terribly wrong. Her employer's motivations are highly suspect, criminally and murderously so. When she finds a body and learns it is not the first one, she turns to her topside guide for help, who is only interested in success and, much to Gyre's dismay, can take control of Gyre's state-of-the-art caving suit. The supplies she packed are getting low, and a prearranged cache has disappeared. Deep beneath the ground, Gyre is alone in the dark. Or is she? Her handler says no one else could possibly be down there. But would she tell the truth if it were detrimental to the success of the mission? Starling's debut is a chilling study in mutual guilt and dependence that will have readers racing toward the conclusion. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.
PW Reviews 2018 December #2
Starling's riveting near-future debut depicts an intense psychological battle of wills between two damaged, deeply flawed women who forge an unbreakable connection in the dark. Gyre Price, an amateur caver from an impoverished mining world, is desperate to earn enough money to discover the fate of her mother, who abandoned their family when Gyre was young—and she isn't above falsifying her qualifications to get the high-paying job she needs. Aware of Gyre's deception, Em, Gyre's controlling, manipulative handler, guides her on a harrowing journey into the depths of a rarely explored cave system on some unexplained, ill-fated errand. To survive the darkness and the threats concealed therein, Gyre must confront monsters from her own imagination as well as those from Em's bloody past, and defeat them both. Both women can be messy, cruel, and selfish, and Starling disregards conventional notions of such women seeking or needing absolution. This claustrophobic, horror-leaning tour de force is highly recommended for fans of Jeff VanderMeer's