Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire. ★★★★
Trigger warning: Suicide
When Jenna’s sister Patty committed suicide, Jenna blamed herself. She ran out into a rainstorm, overtaken with grief, and tragically drowned. But Jenna died too early, and now she remains in this world as a ghost until she gains the time she needs to reach her death day. Every day she takes from the living gives them one more day of youth, but Jenna sees this as theft rather than a gift. She has vowed to earn every minute she takes, and she does so by volunteering at a suicide prevention hotline. But as the ghosts of New York City start to disappear, Jenna will have to choose whether or not to finally take action.
Seanan McGuire’s treatment of ghosts is one of the most original I’ve seen. Jenna is able to take a physical form and interact with the world. She lives in her own apartment and even keeps cats! The twist with the time was also fascinatingly original. While this novella stood well on its own, I would be happy to read any other stories that McGuire sets in this world.
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day is a novella that’s focused on and led by female characters. Jenna’s main allies are a couple of female witches and her land lady. I liked Brenda, the corn witch, and Sophie, the rat witch, a ton. They were both wonderful side characters. Jenna herself was an enjoyable lead, and I could really hear her voice in the narration.
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day is another well written and endlessly satisfying story from Seanan McGuire. If I have one criticism, it’s that the villain could have had more characterization. That aside, this was a wonderful urban fantasy novella that I would recommend.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review.