Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

When her sister Patty died, Jenna blamed herself. When Jenna died, she blamed herself for that, too. Unfortunately Jenna died too soon. Living or dead, every soul is promised a certain amount of time, and when Jenna passed she found a heavy debt of time in her record. Unwilling to simply steal that time from the living, Jenna earns every day she leeches with volunteer work...

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Title:Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day
Author:Seanan McGuire
Rating:
ISBN:0765391422
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:183 pages

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day Reviews

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    Feb 09, 2017

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    This book isn’t your typical ghost story. While it includes a significant number of urban fantasy elements, there is also a darkly profound, rather despairing thread running beneath its surface. Thematically it is also on the weightier side, dealing with topics like suicide, survivor guilt, and emotional trauma. Fans of Seanan McGuire are still going to love her engaging storytelling style and loveable characters, but if

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    This book isn’t your typical ghost story. While it includes a significant number of urban fantasy elements, there is also a darkly profound, rather despairing thread running beneath its surface. Thematically it is also on the weightier side, dealing with topics like suicide, survivor guilt, and emotional trauma. Fans of Seanan McGuire are still going to love her engaging storytelling style and loveable characters, but if you’re used to more offbeat and quirkier UF, I think this one may leave you with a heavier heart.

    The story begins with the funeral of Jenna’s older sister Patty, who left for New York City with big dreams but ended up taking her own life instead. Grieving with the loss and blaming herself, a stricken Jenna runs off into the night during a bad rainstorm and tragically slips into the river, drowning in the raging current.

    Because Jenna’s death was an accident, however, she died too soon according to a ledger of cosmic checks and balances which states a person’s soul cannot pass on until they have served their full time on the mortal plane. When Jenna died, she found quite a hefty debt still on her record, so like everyone else before her who died before their time, she became a ghost and must remain among the living until that balance is repaid.

    Fast forward forty years, and Jenna is living in New York City leeching off a little bit of her debt each day on living strangers, with every minute she gives being another minute added to their youth. However, because Jenna sees “time left” as a form of currency, her gift of life in fact becomes an act of theft in her eyes. In order to earn back what she has stolen, Jenna also volunteers at a suicide prevent hotline trying to save others from Patty’s fate, hoping that when her time finally does come she will rejoin her beloved sister with a clean balance and conscience.

    This is probably my third or fourth foray into McGuire’s work, and while overall I have enjoyed her books, I confess thus far I’m still waiting for “the one” which would blow me away. I started Dusk or Dark of Dawn or Day with the hopes that this would be it, but ultimately there was just something about it that didn’t quite click for me. Like I said, this is a story with some heavy, tragic themes to it, so it might simply be a case of the wrong book at the wrong time. Admittedly, the whole thing left me feeling kind of worn and heartsick by the end of it, even though I was hooked by the intro with its fascinating look into this world of ghosts and their concept of “time owed”.

    Looking at this from another angle though, it clearly speaks well of the author that she can so successfully convey emotional impact with her writing and portrayal of her characters. My personal reaction to this novella aside, I can recognize a good story when I see one, and this has all the elements of an engaging tale full of imagination and feeling. Jenna is a narrator with a unique perspective, yet the care and attention to detail paid to her backstory makes it easy to sympathize with her decisions when all around her are other ghosts that do not share her same views or values. She’s a genuinely good character who not only extends her kindness to people in need as evidenced by her goal to rescue as many aging cats from shelters as possible, giving them love and a comfortable place to live out their final days. Death is a theme that infuses every page, but sometimes its oppressive presence is lightened with compassion and scenes like that.

    The ideas in this book are also mind-bogglingly original. It took me some time to wrap my head around ghosts and their ability to give and take time, but I eventually came to appreciate the ingenuity behind the concept. As well, McGuire paints an interesting picture for her ghosts’ existence, linking them to special relationships with mirrors and witches. For a novella, the world-building is surprisingly robust.

    Ultimately, I feel the ending could have been handled better, but since I can’t elaborate without giving away details, I’ll just say that it didn’t come across as eloquent or consistent as the rest of the story. That said, there is no shortage of feeling, and at the end of the day I think the conclusion manages to achieve its desired impact. If this book sounds like something that might interest you, I highly recommend giving it a try.

  • karen
    Jul 29, 2016

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!

    placeholder review until closer to pub date (<--- or maybe not, b/c i am so disappointing!), but for now:

    dammit, i wish i liked urban fantasy.

    i've tried a few times, but nothing has clicked for me yet. there's a quote in this book:

    which unintentionally sums up my resistance. if "nothing is entirely out of the question," all tension is compromised - anything can be just magically fixed, which lowers th

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!

    placeholder review until closer to pub date (<--- or maybe not, b/c i am so disappointing!), but for now:

    dammit, i wish i liked urban fantasy.

    i've tried a few times, but nothing has clicked for me yet. there's a quote in this book:

    which unintentionally sums up my resistance. if "nothing is entirely out of the question," all tension is compromised - anything can be just magically fixed, which lowers the stakes a bit.

    which isn't necessarily a complaint i had with

    book; it's just a general one for books involving powers and magic.

    for a more specific-to-this-book explanation of my refusal-to-love: i can handle witches OR ghosts in my books, but both together is just a little silly. clarify - both together in a "real world" setting is silly. to me. pure fantasy i can handle, but when all those creatures are in "our" world, ... which makes me sound totally racist, right? stick to your own world! there goes the neighborhood! etc etc

    and there must be some examples of books i've enjoyed where there's lots of creatures... maybe -

    ?? - but that's not really "our world," is it? and you may say - "well -

    is kind of like having a bunch of different "creatures" together, and you were praising that book to the moon and back." which, fair enough, but that was more metaphorical, and more fantasy than this one. this is new york city, in which ghosts and witches commingle with humans, passing for the living, recognizing each other, passing time back and forth, whereas

    is

    our world, but it all takes place at a boarding school for damaged kids who've traveled to fantasy dimensions, which is so far removed from my experiences and what i can see by just looking out the window, that it may as well be pure fantasy.

    it's very frustrating for me to

    enjoy an entire genre - as a reader and as a readers' advisory person both. not that you have to like all genres to practice RA effectively, but it helps to have read widely across many genres. and i've tried, but it's just not working for me yet.

    and it's doubly frustrating because i LOVE mcguire/grant. even though i didn't like this story overall, it's still well-written - it's not as funny as the other stuff of hers i've read, which is a shame, because her sparky sense of humor is one of her draws. it's an original premise - it incorporates traditional ghosty lore, but blends it together with some new stuff to make it into something fresh and new, but it just didn't HIT me. and i still want to read her urban fantasy series, but i'm just a little afraid of not loving them as much as i've loved her zombie/tapeworm/mermaid/

    stuff.

    still - it's worth reading, and i'll review it properly closer to pub date, but for now - if you enjoy urban fantasy, you'll probably dig this, but if you are flawed like me, maybe read one of her other books, because those are so SHINY in my heart.

  • Kira
    Jan 19, 2017

    Death is a defining moment in everyone's lives both the dead and the living. Everyone is meant to live for a certain amount of time. Sometimes people die before their time is up. Then they become ghosts who must leech time from the living so they can finally move on.

    This wasn't a difficult read, but it wasn't a light read either. It was much sadder than I expected it to be. Jenna died before her time while grieving the loss of her sister. She never really let go of that grief even in death. As a

    Death is a defining moment in everyone's lives both the dead and the living. Everyone is meant to live for a certain amount of time. Sometimes people die before their time is up. Then they become ghosts who must leech time from the living so they can finally move on.

    This wasn't a difficult read, but it wasn't a light read either. It was much sadder than I expected it to be. Jenna died before her time while grieving the loss of her sister. She never really let go of that grief even in death. As a ghost she still lived, but it was a dismal existence. Much of this is about how life and death aren't fair. People often don't get what they should have.

    There was a mystery, but that part of the story was just okay. The world and characters were vastly more interesting. This is a novella, so obviously the mystery wasn't going to be complex. It turned out to be far too simple. It would have been better if Jenna had made any kind of plan when going to save the day.

  • Steven
    Jan 17, 2017

    You can always trust Seanan McGuire to give you a great story. I loved the dedication in this one, and I think this novella was further evidence of Seanan's ability to weave a story, no matter the length, into a masterpiece.

  • Barb (Boxermommyreads)
    Oct 31, 2016

    So this book pretty much sealed the deal for me with Seanan McGuire. I know I've read the first two her her Incryptid series and enjoyed them, but after reading "Every Heart a Doorway" earlier this year and "Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day" now, I think I'm going to have to devour everything this woman writes - and that's a lot of books because doesn't she write as Mira Grant as well?

    This book is just beautiful and similar to "Every Heart a Doorway," McGuire takes an urban fantasy theme and makes it

    So this book pretty much sealed the deal for me with Seanan McGuire. I know I've read the first two her her Incryptid series and enjoyed them, but after reading "Every Heart a Doorway" earlier this year and "Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day" now, I think I'm going to have to devour everything this woman writes - and that's a lot of books because doesn't she write as Mira Grant as well?

    This book is just beautiful and similar to "Every Heart a Doorway," McGuire takes an urban fantasy theme and makes it somehow become so much more and touch your heart. "Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day" tells the story of Jenna, who accidentally dies as a teen following her sister's death. However, Jenna's death was a tragedy whereas her sister's was all part of the plan, and she is left haunting the earth in New York City. McGuire has captured such an interesting concept with her ghosts. People who die before their "scheduled" times are doomed to haunt the world. They can "steal" time from individuals until they internally age to the point where they would have died if things has played out as charted, and they are also able to give time to other people to extend their time haunting. Jenna wants to move on and meet her sister, but she is depressed and has specific methods in which she feels stealing time from others is acceptable. All of a sudden, Jenna learns that many of the ghosts in her city are disappearing. She and her acquaintances, for Jenna really has few true friends, start to unravel the mystery and eventually learn what is happening.

    While a relatively short book, it sure packs a punch. There are a variety of interesting characters and the subject matter clearly takes aim at loss, depression and moving on. I was totally absorbed by the story and hated for it to end. If you want an urban fantasy that contains so much more, or if you love ghost stories, this book is definitely for you!

  • Joanita
    Jan 29, 2017

  • Maria Dimitrova
    Jan 29, 2017

    Usually I love Seanan McGuire's book. She's an amazing author and her writing is incredible. This book, however, was the exception to the rule. It's not a bad book, it just leaves you drained. That feeling is the reason why it took me so long to both read it and then put my thoughts in any semblance of order.

    This is a dark book, one that deals with suicide and how much it taxes the people closest to the person that took that way out of life. Maybe that wasn't the point of the book, because the

    Usually I love Seanan McGuire's book. She's an amazing author and her writing is incredible. This book, however, was the exception to the rule. It's not a bad book, it just leaves you drained. That feeling is the reason why it took me so long to both read it and then put my thoughts in any semblance of order.

    This is a dark book, one that deals with suicide and how much it taxes the people closest to the person that took that way out of life. Maybe that wasn't the point of the book, because the majority dealt with a fairly standard mystery, but it was the thing that made the biggest impression on me. Life is valuable and I can appreciate that now even more following a bad result from routine doctor's check up. During the time it took for the doctors to figure out if indeed I had what the initial results indicated, I not only realised how much more I want to do with my life but also that I've touched so many other lives. And that it would be those people who would have the hardest time if I was indeed sick. So the beginning of this book put me in a frame of mind that I was trying to avoid for months and it felt like a solid punch to the gut. At more than one point I felt overwhelmed and wanted to just give this book up. But it also prompted me to call my friends, tell them how much I love and appreciate them, get up and give my parents and grandmother a hug. small things but important because you're never sure when you're time will be up and if you'll ever have the chance to do them again.

  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    Jan 27, 2017

    Read with my lovely Wednesday UF read group at

    I normally don’t give warnings for books but I feel like this one might need one.

    This book touches on death and suicide. If these are trigger points for you then maybe skip it. But if you are up for a darker read than most of Seanen McGuire’s other works then give it a try.

    The beginning of this is pretty dark. Jenna has just lost her sister to suicide only to right after get caught in a storm and die too. --Not really a

    Read with my lovely Wednesday UF read group at

    I normally don’t give warnings for books but I feel like this one might need one.

    This book touches on death and suicide. If these are trigger points for you then maybe skip it. But if you are up for a darker read than most of Seanen McGuire’s other works then give it a try.

    The beginning of this is pretty dark. Jenna has just lost her sister to suicide only to right after get caught in a storm and die too. --Not really a spoiler since that all happens in the first 10 pages. Now in her death she volunteers her time at a suicide hotline as her own form of penance to her sister.

    As always I love Seanan McGuire’s (SM) writing style and her very interesting reimagining of the world we live in. She does a fantastic job of building a world with Ghosts and Witches in it in a very short time. I think that she is brilliant in the ways she interweaves the details of this world into the story without ever making it seem like it is an infodump and yet I get all of the great details I love in a book.

    This is my least favorite of all SMs book I’ve read and I think that is because it is darker and the beginning was a bit depressing. But I will say that once we get to Jenna trying to figure out what happened to all the other ghosts in Manhattan when they go missing the flow and feel of the story changes significantly and it is much less deep than the beginning.

    The ending was also really great and the best that it could have turned out for Jenna. I wouldn’t mind a spin off story about one of the Witches in this tale. She (I don’t want to spoil who she was in the story) was so interesting and I think SM could make up a fantastic tale based on the type of very unusual witch she is.

    This isn’t a very long story so save it for a day when you can handle or want something a little on the dark side. I get in those moods and then this probably would have been a better read for me.

  • Izzy
    Jan 22, 2017

    one of the biggest releases of last year was seanan mcguire's

    . everyone was reading it, everyone was talking about it, and it showed up on a bunch of 2016 favorites list. i read it, liked it enough, but it didn't impress me that much.

    this novella, however. this was everything i was expecting her other book would've been for me.

    the plot of this is pretty simple - the ghosts

    one of the biggest releases of last year was seanan mcguire's

    . everyone was reading it, everyone was talking about it, and it showed up on a bunch of 2016 favorites list. i read it, liked it enough, but it didn't impress me that much.

    this novella, however. this was everything i was expecting her other book would've been for me.

    the plot of this is pretty simple - the ghosts of new york start disappearing, and a ghost named jenna needs to figure out what's going on before whatever has happened to them happens to her as well.

    jenna died on a during a storm some 40 years ago. ever since then, she's been working at a suicide center in new york, slowly earning the time she needs to reach the age she was supposed to leave earth. i don't know if i made a lot of sense, but the basic worldbuilding is this: everyone has a defined time as a living being, and if they die before that allotted time, they come back as ghosts and need to take that time - and they can do that by touching the living. when ghosts touch humans they give them as many days, months or years as they want. the humans get some extra time and the ghosts get a step closer to their due date.

    anyway, all of that is better explained in the story. the ghost lore mcguire creates is honestly amazing. i'd never read a story before that focused solely on ghosts and i was eating this one up.

    also, the writing was PHENOMENAL. jenna makes a lot of social commentary about the way people deal with relationships in the era of modern technology, the way kindness has become a rarity, and it was just so beautifully written. it was a quiet writing, if that makes sense; the kind that sneaks up on you, filled with beauty in its tiny corners.

    i loved this. it was quick, lovely and it affected me in a way that i wasn't expecting. please please please pick this up if you need a fast but beautiful read. you won't be disappointed.

  • Ashley
    Jan 19, 2017

    In this standalone novella, Jenna, our friendly NYC ghost, died well before her time after her sister Patty committed suicide. She now works at a suicide hotline where she "earns" her time back by helping the callers and in turn, helping them stay alive. She then bleeds time from herself to humans (or witches) which in turn makes them that much younger and her that much older. And then shit gets real, which is where I'll leave you.

    Seanan McGuire is easily my favorite urban fantasy author. Her wr

    In this standalone novella, Jenna, our friendly NYC ghost, died well before her time after her sister Patty committed suicide. She now works at a suicide hotline where she "earns" her time back by helping the callers and in turn, helping them stay alive. She then bleeds time from herself to humans (or witches) which in turn makes them that much younger and her that much older. And then shit gets real, which is where I'll leave you.

    Seanan McGuire is easily my favorite urban fantasy author. Her writing grabs right from the beginning, and never leaves me disappointed. This was a beautifully done novella. Highly recommend.