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Title: Guns of the Dawn
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Flintlock Fantasy
Format: Digital Edition
Denland and Lascanne, two countries, allies. Until Denland overthrows its King and begins to make war on Lascanne. Inspired by their King, the people of Lascanne give their all. They sacrifice and sacrifice and things end up with a draft of the women from each household, as all the men have already been taken.
We follow Emily, the middle daughter of a noble family which is now impoverished. A brother-in-law has gone, the only son drafted, food slowly disappearing, bandits appearing, no news from the front. And to make things even better, the man who drove her father to suicide many years ago is in charge of the town. But Emily is a fighter and she does what she can to keep her family together and functioning.
When Emily gets drafted, she is sent to the Front in the swamps. She learns about war, about the leaders of her country and in the process learns a lot about the Denlanders. What she learns shakes the foundations of everything she thought she knew and that knowledge will lead to make a decision that will affect both countries.
First, only ONE bug reference. Considering how much time we spend in a swamp, I was expecting a lot more.
If I had any doubts about Tchaikovsky’s writing ability [and after 12 books, you’d think I’d have made up my mind. Go figure], this put them to rest. This was really, really, really well written. There were a couple of instances near the beginning of the book where I just didn’t like ANY of the characters and I was wondering if I’d have to DNF the book. But what it did was make the characters deeper and fully fleshed out.
Tchaikovsky continues his little fight against authority. If someone is in authority, they’re lying bags of excrement and what is Right is actually Wrong. Having read Spiderlight, I saw the whole Denlander/Lascanne thing coming from a mile away. I really hope he doesn’t keep this up in future books because it’s getting a bit tiresome. Sometimes Right actually is Right. Just accept it.
Emily was a great character to follow. Her romance with Cristain was such a slow burn, it reminded me of an Austen romance. Then when she has feelings for a Warlock, instead of being a love triangle that I hated, I actually liked it. You could totally see this happening in a war. Nothing is clean cut or easy. It’s as messy as the mud the soldier wade through day after day. It made sense, it fit with the characters and it never felt forced or drama for drama’s sake.
The ending, with Emily having to make a decision about continuing the war against Denland or to put her heroic role away, was great. I didn’t know which way she was going to do, whether she would pull the trigger or not, until I read the sentence. Isn’t that exactly what we’re looking for as readers?
Great book, well written, lots of fun.