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The Luminous Dead von Caitlin Starling
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The Luminous Dead (2019. Auflage)

von Caitlin Starling

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
3191764,128 (3.61)5
Bram Stoker Award nominee for Best First Novel! "This claustrophobic, horror-leaning tour de force is highly recommended for fans of Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation and Andy Weir's The Martian." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review) A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival. 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?… (mehr)
Mitglied:ellehaze
Titel:The Luminous Dead
Autoren:Caitlin Starling
Info:Harper Voyager, Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek, Noch zu lesen
Bewertung:
Tags:to-read

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The Luminous Dead von Caitlin Starling

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Received via Netgalley for review.

Gyre takes a dangerous and extremely lucrative job exploring a labyrinthine system of caves on an outpost planet, surgically modified to rely only on her high-tech suit that she can never take off. When she discovers the reason she's really down there, and how dangerous the cave truly is, she's not sure if she should turn back or continue.

A wonderfully scary and unsettling thriller, perfect for fans of The Descent and Sunshine, or any other plotline where isolated characters are forced to deal with themselves and the horrors of their minds.

While it can get a little dry/technical with all the caving minutia, the fact that there are only two characters (Gyre and Em) never slows down the narrative, and the reader is right there with Gyre is questioning what's real and what's not. Both Gyre and Em are stubborn to a fault, just in different ways, and their clashing desires to continue no matter what provide for an interesting conflict. They're both wonderfully drawn and complex, multidimensional and tragic. The tense moments were incredibly tense, the tragic moments truly tragic.

A great read when you're curled up on the couch during a cloudy evening (for maximum atmosphere).s ( )
  Elna_McIntosh | Sep 29, 2021 |
The Luminous Dead
by Caitlin Starling

I really wanted to love this book but it was ok at it's high points. It has so much potential to be great! A cave climber on a back world planet wants off and lies about being a great climber and caver. She gets the job. She gets surgically enhanced for body waste and feeding to go with her suit. She will be down for two months. During that time we find out more and more about the person that is watching her climb and the reason for the climb.
I found Gyre, the caver, always forgiving Em, the watcher, too much. Em was crazy, selfish, and not risking her life. ( )
  MontzaleeW | Sep 27, 2021 |
This novel seemed to go . . . o n . . . f o r e v e r . . .

It's a decent idea for a story, but really, this is a novella dragged out to novel length. To be quite honest, I got really sick and tired of Em and Gyre having a spat, then Gyre seeing a different, softer, more empathetic side to Em, decide to trust her, only to have it fall to shit because Em does something else underhanded.

All the damn way through the book.

What should have been claustrophobic and taut with suspense was, instead, rambling, repetitious, and overly focused on the caving process for my taste.

Coulda been good. Wasn't. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
So this book I picked up at the library on an impulse. It was actually pretty good. It wasn't the type of scary I was expecting. Instead it played upon real fears and phobias. I think you have to have some these fears already for it to be scary to you though. For me it played on my fear of the dark and inability to know whats in the dark, as well as claustrophobia, and a fear of insanity. I think if you a have a fear of being alone or of dead people than that would trigger it too. It a crazy sort of scary, more real than you typical horror novel. I really enjoyed it. The characters where relate-able in the sense that they were both very flawed in there own ways. The ending wrapped it up but still left a few questions, but they are minor questions. 4 stars well earned in my opinion. ( )
  starslight86 | Jul 20, 2021 |
Exactly the kind of slow, suspense-building read I like.

If you want a tldr to this review, here you go: This book is...
creepy, eerie, claustrophobic, atmospheric, suspenseful, slow, terrifying.

The descriptions of the cave, the suit, and how the latter distances Gyre from the former, her slow progress down through tunnels and water, the closed environment, the struggle for control, her thoughts and the constant uncertainty, the question if something is real or not - I loved all of these.

The eerie, claustrophobic atmosphere in this book is amazing, as is the body horror, and some of those scenes are truly terrifying to read.

Sometimes I was even reminded of those story-driven videogames, which is probably because of the close one-person perspective and the alternation between more adventure-like scenes and scenes where we (or the protagonist) get more information.

I loved all the descriptions of the suit and how Gyre's thoughts towards it changed depending on her situation. Feeling trapped, then feeling protected and so on. And all those descriptions really created a barrier between Gyre in her cyberpunk-scifi-ish suit that is controlled in every aspect all the time and the completely tech-free, natural and unpredictable environment of the cave. The scenes where Gyre interacted directly with the world outside her suit rank among the most scary ones for me, just because I, too, was so used to the suit being there. First the times where she doubted what the suit was showing her, then when she opened her helmet and in the end when the suit started to break apart. And that scene at camp six where her suit started to power down and she was trapped. That was scary!

The exploration of Gyre's psyche was both engaging and horrifying and I did find all of it truly believable. The author does not only play with Gyre's perception of reality, but with ours as well, and she does hit the mark.

Some examples: (mild spoilers here)
Trying to convince herself what a gread handler Em is, despite not trusting her and knowing perfectly well all the things Em does wrong, just because Em is the only person Gyre has to watch over her.
Trying to find reasons to push forward and not turn around, simply because she does like the challenge and the thrill, but she knows this alone would be a rather dangerous and stupid motivation.


One of my favourite scenes was when she discovered the line in one of those long drops that was still taut as if someone was hooked to it and she tried to decide wheter to cut it or not. That was so good! Also, the empty suit and feeding canister she discovered that wasn't there before.

The Tunnelers are an interesting concept and worked well for me up until a certain point - that point being the reason why I'm giving this book only four stars. When we actually get to see the tunneler, Gyre faces it down and then kills it. That scene really irritated me, it just didn't fit in with the rest. My least favourite. Especially disappointing directly after that super scary and well-crafted scene where the tunneler passed right behind Gyre and everything was chaos. I remember being thankful that it passed so close and yet we didn't get to see it.

Regarding the ending:

I found it rushed, especially in comparison to everything else.
I liked that not everything was cleared up and I liked everything that happened until Gyre got out of the cave. For me, the book could have ended there.

I'm a bit disappointed by everything that happend afterwards and especially by the fact that the two actually ended up together. But on the other hand, it feels fitting that Gyre continues to tell herself that Em is good for her, because she got her out of the cave. So the massive power imbalance continues ... and actually, whily typing this out, I realized this book could not have a happy ending, so maybe I do like it after all. I was just angry about Gyre's interpretation of everything, the "well, we were both assholes". I guess they are both depending on each other in a very unhealthy way.
( )
  booksandliquids | May 3, 2021 |
keine Rezensionen | Rezension hinzufügen

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Caitlin StarlingHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
B/Shutterstock, BrandonFrontispiece imageCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Colucci, AlejandroUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Corrigan, OwenUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Hall, MikeMapsCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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Bram Stoker Award nominee for Best First Novel! "This claustrophobic, horror-leaning tour de force is highly recommended for fans of Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation and Andy Weir's The Martian." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review) A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival. 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?

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