The Luminaries

A Novel

Catton, Eleanor

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Luminaries
This novel is a murder mystery set in a remote gold-mining frontier town in 19th-century New Zealand. Arriving in New Zealand in 1866 a weary Englishman, Walter Moody, lands in a gold-mining frontier town on the coast of New Zealand to make his fortune and forever leave behind his family's shame. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to investigate what links three crimes that occurred on a single day, events in which each man finds himself implicated in some way. Moody finds himself drawn into a series of unsolved crimes and complex mysteries.

Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown,, 2013.
Edition: First United States edition.
ISBN: 0316074314
Characteristics: 834 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm


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Mar 14, 2015
  • kbo90 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Be warned, this book is long. Complex and at times a bit exhausting, it's ultimately a tale worth reading. Bonus points for this historical fiction's descriptions of life for all in a frontier gold mining town in New Zealand - quite interesting.

Feb 24, 2015
  • kancruze rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I'm not sure what the fuss is all about. I found this book plodding and boring. I read half of it and gave up. I didn't like any of the characters. I found I didn't really care what happened to any of them so I closed the book and didn't even bother reading the last chapter to find out.

Jan 04, 2015
  • Carroll rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Well written and intriguing. Organized in a fascinating manner. A mystery involving murder, greed, theft, extortion, blackmail, guilt, regret, love... written in a Dickensian style and containing a lot of history involving New Zealand. Unfortunately, there is no philosophical underpinning that made it worth my while. Felt in the end it was not worth reading all 830 pages.

Dec 10, 2014
  • genfloss rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Late in commenting, I read this book last year. I loved it. I was enthralled from the first chapter. What an appropriate title.How well it related to the frontier town and its "leading citizens", their characters, their greed, and their pretensions.

Nov 17, 2014
  • Persnickety77 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Overall it just fell flat for me. it seemed pointless. it has a complicated, amazing narrative structure that builds and builds, than wanes and flips in on itself. very admirable, but it has no heart at its core. All form, no substance

Oct 16, 2014
  • sanfran_natasha rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is another book that takes some time to get into, but the story is so intricate and well constructed. Set some time in your schedule for it, and you'll be glad you did.

Sep 10, 2014
  • nelee rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you have started it, I suggest you stick with it. As the cover art suggests, each chapter is shorter than the previous, like the phases of the moon. The second half of the book just rips along, and all the loose ends are cleverly tied together. I really enjoyed the writing, but I love the Victorian era, Upstairs Downstairs kind of thing, which some may not enjoy.

Sep 07, 2014
  • johncruse rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Boring, Boring...At least the first 212 pages. Don't know about the remaining 600.

Sep 05, 2014
  • becker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I knew after the first few paragraphs that I was going to love this book. This is a big complex story that is incredibly well constructed. The characters are so well designed with each of them containing a unique voice and serving a specific purpose in the book. The ending was so clever right up to the last parargraph which was moving and beautiful. I listened to a portion of this book on audio and the narrator was amazing with the ability to switch back and forth between about half a dozen different accents in a dialogue. For me, it was the perfect book. I was very sad to finish it which says a lot about a 830 page book.

Aug 31, 2014
  • rdw39 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I was looking forward to reading The Luminaries, but after reading over half the book (nearly 900 pages) I found I did not care if I found out how it ended, and I stopped reading. The book was well written & even though there were numerous characters to keep track of, it became somewhat monotonous going back & forth with all the characters. It was clever to tag each of them with the possibility they had some involvement in the main theme, but I couldn't find any of the characters with redeeming values.

The tie in to the astrological signs was very unique, but the book was just too long for me & I lost interest at the half way point.

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