Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day
By Seanan McGuire
Paperback, 182 pages
Jenna blames herself for her sister Patty’s death. She blames herself for her own death too. Now she works in New York City as a suicide prevention hotline rep, trying to help the living hold on to life a bit longer. Jenna is serving out her time, waiting for her haunting to end, when the ghosts of New York begin to disappear. She must team up with a witch, despite the risks, and figure out who or what is behind her missing friends.
I bought this book with exactly zero idea of what it was about. Seriously. It was on Book Outlet and it had Seanan’s name on it, so I added it to my cart without even reading the blurb. I’m not the least bit disappointed.
I came into this read, let’s call it D4, a day after finishing Into the Drowning Deep. If I didn’t know who it was by, I almost wouldn’t know it was by the same author. The almost is key. While D4 is an urban fantasy or paranormal fantasy and Drowning Deep is definitely oceanic horror (is that a genre? It should be.), they have a similar voice (which I think is different than tone – don’t @ me), especially in the way the characters are written.
A novella about life after life was just what I needed after the creepies of Drowning Deep. D4 delivers ghosts with a twist. In this world, everyone has a set amount of time in life. If you should happen to die before your time, you remain a ghost, living out your afterlife however you can manage. In order to complete your ghostly sentence, you must take time from the living. It will bring you closer to your death day, if you will, and gives the living a refreshing boost, knocking them farther away from their own death day.
Witches in this world can trap and manipulate ghosts, essentially granting themselves immortality. Jenna, in her time in NYC, has formed an uneasy acquaintance with a local witch while she serves out her sentence. In a short amount of time, Seanan develops the two characters and their tenuous relationship and she left me wanting more.
D4 gave me some excellent Dead Like Me vibes and I know this is marketed as a stand-alone, but I hope there’s more to come from this universe. I enjoyed the dynamic between witches and ghosts. If you’re looking for a quick paranormal read in a modern setting, give this a whirl!