Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day
by Seanan McGuire
(fantasy, ghost story)
I really enjoyed this book. Well, novella, really. If I had one complaint about it, that would be it: too short. However, I knew that going in, so I don’t hold it against the book. (Unlike some other reviewers on Goodreads. And mild tangent: that really annoys me. When you know how long a book is before you start reading it (and I don’t care that it was an ebook, I still knew it was short) you know going in that it’s likely not going to be as long as you want it to be. Don’t ding the rating purely based on the fact that you wanted more.)
Okay. Tangent over. Sorry about that.
Back to the story. I found the way ghosts were described in this story to be utterly fascinating. I love the idea that ghosts take time from the living in order to age, in order to reach their “dying day” when they can move on. It’s a take on ghosts that I haven’t heard of (or thought of) before, and I love it. I want more in this vein, even though this was a stand-along story and I don’t know that McGuire has any more ideas for this world.
I also like the description of witches, though they were touched on in a lot less detail, since the main character was not a witch. Maybe that’s how we can get more stories in the world: by exploring a witch character next. Anyway, if McGuire decides to write more in this world, I’ll be buying it no matter what the story length.
Given the length of the story, any more I say about the plot will contain spoilers. However, if you have read McGuire’s other works and enjoyed them, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll like this one too. If you’ve been looking for an intro to McGuire’s style but don’t want to start with a long, established series, this might be a good way for you to get a taste of her style as well.
One thing I do feel a need to mention: there is a little talk about suicide. It’s a book about modern ghosts. This shouldn’t be a surprise, (but based on the Goodreads reviews, it seems there are people who were surprised by it). Mostly the talk is because the main character works at a suicide prevention hotline, but also because it’s a ghost story. Ghosts are almost never portrayed as people who died at their allotted time, so I don’t know why anyone would go into a ghost story and expect no mention at all of suicide and murder. But in any case, I felt it was handled tastefully, and it shouldn’t be a trigger except for people who are very highly sensitive to the subject.
Rating: 5 Stars