Review: Dusk or Dawn or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

Dusk or Dawn or Dawn or DayAuthor: Seanan McGuire
Publisher: Tor
Released: January 10th, 2017
Received: Own
Warnings: Suicide
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

Dusk or Dawn or Dawn or Day is a novella by Seanan McGuire, and if you’ve read any of her previous works, you’ll have a decent idea of what you’re in for. A lot of themes that have fascinated Seanan McGuire for years make an appearance here; ghosts, debts, love and loss. So much is woven into this single tale.

This is actually one I’ve been meaning to read for a while now, as her fan groups are constantly quoting it online. Halloween seemed like the right time of year to give it a try, so here I am.

Jenna has carried the weight of her loss and blame for decades. First, she lost her sister. Then, she lost herself. Now Jenna is trying to pay back that debt, while getting back the years her life should have had. Well, that was before a new danger came blowing through her town. And she’s not the type to overlook another’s pain. So naturally, Jenna got involved.

Jenna is perhaps the most honorable ghost I have ever read about. She’s got a very strong sense of right and wrong, and seems to sincerely want to do good, regardless of the cost to herself. And that’s the reason why she was stuck on this earth for as long as she was. Because she insisted on doing things the right way.


“These days, everyone wants to eat, but no one wants to take the time and care needed to coax the land into giving up its glories. People don’t change. We’re always selfish, and we’re always hungry. We’ve just gotten better at looking at greed and saying ‘Oh, that’s self-interest, that’s all right.’ We’ve forgotten the way the world ‘enough’ feels on the tongue.”

Spoiler Warning

Warnings: Dusk or Dawn or Dawn or Day contains within it two suicides. Both happen at the beginning of the book, and with relatively little warning (all things considered). There are also mentions of other unnamed characters committing suicide, and the main character works at a prevention hotline.

Dusk or Dawn or Dawn or Day was an absolutely enthralling read. Seanan McGuire sure does know how to weave a ghost story. I could happily read a dozen more stories like this one, and not feel the least bit sick of the theme.

Part of the reason I love her ghost stories is because she adds weight and cost to them. Her ghosts have rules that they must follow – rules that cannot be broken. They also have individual policies that they seem to prefer to practice, which adds to the complexity. And it’s something I cannot get enough of (I adore the Ghost Roads series, in case that wasn’t obvious).

I absolutely adored the writing in this novella – though I’m not in the least bit surprised by that. What was surprising was how McGuire was able to write in so many points about humanity (for better or for worse, though usually for worse). It was an enlightening read, and admittedly one full of quotes worth remembering and referencing. I can now understand why I’ve heard so much about this piece.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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