Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

duskDusk or Dark or Dawn or Day is my latest read by Seanan McGuire and again it is a book that, even thought it’s fairly short, is packed with emotion and characters that you can’t help yourself but warm to.  Basically this is a ghost story but one that is completely different than anything I’ve ever read about before.

The story starts with a funeral.  Patty left her small hometown to find her own fairy tale in New York.  Unfortunately, the dream didn’t pan out and, unable to find happiness Patty took her own life.  Her sister Jenna, struggling to cope with the death of her beloved sister, rushes out into the night and meets with an untimely end!

We then leap forty years forwards.  Patty is living in New York, volunteering at a crisis helpline centre, with a day job serving coffee.  Yes, I said Patty was living.  Well, to be honest, she’s a ghost, but, like the other ghosts that live in the City, she has substance.  Basically, Patty died too soon, in a freak occurrence and like other people who died before their time she has become a ghost and must serve time until she reaches her own ‘time’.

Now, added to this we also have witches. Witches and ghosts have a strange relationship and don’t often become friends – for very good reason.  Witches are alive and kicking and are only too well aware of the benefits they can glean from ghosts.  You see ghosts can knock the years off a person simply by touching them.  As you may imagine this makes ghosts an attractive proposition for people – no more botox or beauty treatments – simply turn back the hands of time and experience the fountain of youth by ensnaring your own personal ghost.

I won’t elaborate on the plot other than to say I love the ideas that McGuire has come up with here and the way she weaves her ideas with superstitions. She seems to be an expert on tugging on heartstrings and this story is, of course, no exception in that respect.

The setting is modern and urban and one that we’re all familiar with except of course for the ‘living dead’ walking amongst us.  This is such an unusual ghost story.  There are no spectres, no shaking chains (although strangely enough I did think of Jacob Marley and his purgatory) and yet I find the thought of the dead walking amongst us, living, working and sharing the same space in complete annonymity – it’s a tiny little bit chilling isn’t it!  But, in a strange twist it seems like the ghosts are more at threat from us than the reverse.

In terms of the characters, well, even though this is a relatively short story it’s very easy to like Jenna and to have a good deal of sympathy towards her.  We have Brenda, who is a corn witch, she shouldn’t be friends with Jenna and yet she is.  Sophia is another witch.  She seems to live rough on the streets and doesn’t always seem coherent but she has quite a fascinating storyline that will be revealed in due course.  Without doubt though, for me, the show stealer was Jenna’s landlady Delia and her pet bird Avocado.  I loved them.

This is going to be a fairly short review, only because I don’t want to give away too much.  This is a book about give and take – it’s not always as simple as it seems, some times  people are very giving and some times people take more than they deserve.  This is a great story, full of imagination and heart and I have no hesitation in recommending it.  Seanan McGuire is certainly becoming one of my go to authors and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

I received a copy from the publisher courtesy of Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.


17 Responses to “Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire”

  1. Tammy

    Yes! I loved the unique idea of ghosts as well, I love when authors do something completely different with a tried and true story element. I can’t wait for her next book!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m hoping to pick up the second book to Every Heart a Doorway – I loved that book.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Nathan

    I imagine expensive day spas, full of ghosts.

    I have checked Seanan McGuire out from the library like, five times, and still never opened one of her books. Which is weird because everyone seems to love her stuff.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I am loving her stuff at the moment – although I’m fairly new to her work tbh – there’s still time to hook you!
      Lynn 😀

  3. Danya @ Fine Print

    Sounds like another winner of a novella from Seanan McGuire! I absolutely love stories about witches, and adding in ghosts to the mix just makes me more excited. I’m always impressed by McGuire’s ability to pack so much emotion into such short, unique reads.

    • @lynnsbooks

      This was a really original idea – very intriguing and told so well.
      Lynn 😀

  4. sjhigbee

    This sounds like one I need to put on my TBR list – I loved Every Heart and this one sounds every bit as quirkily original. Thank you for a great review, Lynn.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It certainly was a very unusual take on the ghost theme.
      Lynn 😀

  5. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    You said it perfectly when you mentioned that McGuire is “an expert on tugging on heartstrings”, because that’s exactly what she does, and with a wonderful mastery of language. I’m very happy to see you continue to enjoy her writing 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m loving her books at the moment. Especially Sir Daye.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I adored this when I read it and you summed it up beautifully without giving too much away. I wish it had been longer, but overall, I feel it was complete. I think I love everything I read by McGuire.

    • @lynnsbooks

      This was great – and I loved Every Heart a Doorway – so can’t wait to read the second one from that series.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    One of these days I will read something by McGuire. Is this a sequel to Every Heart? I thought it was, but am thinking now maybe its not? (which means I could pick either up first?)

    • @lynnsbooks

      There is a sequel to Every Heart due out called Down Among the Sticks and Bones – I cannot wait for that (due June). This was actually about ghosts and it was a very original take. You could definitely pick up either – I’d probably say Every Heart was my favourite but this was also good.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Sounds like a great one. I’ll have to try and fit it in 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m really loving McGuire at the moment – forced to choose I’d say Every Heart a Doorway slightly pips this one but it was still really good and I just loved the new take on ghosts.
      Lynn 😀

  9. January: My month in review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire […]

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