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Guns of the Dawn

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,018 ratings  ·  441 reviews
The first casualty of war is truth . . .

First, Denland's revolutionaries assassinated their king, launching a wave of bloodshed after generations of peace. Next they clashed with Lascanne, their royalist neighbour, pitching war-machines against warlocks in a fiercely fought conflict.

Genteel Emily Marshwic watched as the hostilities stole her family's young men. But then c
Paperback, 658 pages
Published February 12th 2015 by Tor UK/Panmacmillan (first published February 1st 2015)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  3,018 ratings  ·  441 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I killed my first man today


Yes, the cover is what pulled me in but the blurb sounded good so I went for it. The beginning started out good and then it switched to telling the story of how it all began. I thought it was a little bland during those parts.

Emily and her family are upstanding citizens in their town. Their father owned a printing shop until he (lets just say, died.) They have a large home and Emily lives there with her sisters, Alice & Mary, Mary's husband, Tubal and their baby
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Guns of the Dawn, originally published in 2015, was my favorite fantasy of 2016 … and I read a lot of fantasy. But I'll admit to a huge soft spot for anything that reminds me of Jane Austen, though this book is a lot more hard-hitting than hers.

Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

The story begins in media res, as gentlewoman Emily Marchwic fights her first battle in muggy, oppressive swamplands, as a new conscript in the Lascanne army. There’s a brief, inconclusive battle with their
Mayim de Vries
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Imagine Elizabeth Bennet who goes to war with a musket in her hand. The Austenesque milieu (and dry wit) meshed with the gloomy heroism of Napoleonic wars will give you Guns of the Dawn.

Words of adequate praise escape me when I’m trying to write a review of what has, without a shred of doubt, been one of the best reads this year. But before I start, two things that will immediately let you know whether this beautiful and smart book is for you.

Firstly, it is a fantasy-lite; surely you will find
Luna. ✨
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it

Buddy read with this champ.

Okay, so I'm going to start this review by saying this book is a hidden treasure. Seriously, if you haven't read it I suggest you do, if that gorgeous cover isn't enough to get you to purchase this book then you deserve a punch in the face. The book is set in a fantasy world in the late 19th century, if your a hardcore fantasy fan and only like EPIC fantasy or grimdark this book will not be for you, it is a low fantasy with only a tiny bit of magic. We follow our ma
Kitty G Books
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-sff-faves
Honestly, I am shocked how much I enjoyed this. I have never read a book which is focused as much on warfare and death, tragedy and sorrow, and come away from it with a smile and a love of the book. This is the first one I can say I've read, cried over, and enjoyed throughout.

I will note, I audiobooked this, and Emma Newman is the narrator (one of my all-time favourite authors and narrators) and also that this was my first Tchaikovsky book (I am glad he has a long back catalogue now as I intend
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Lascanne is a country at war.

The neighboring country of Denland has assassinated their own king. With a parliament in power, the battle for the land of Lascanne has ravaged both countries & their resources. So much so that a draft conscripting women sends gentlewoman Emily Marshwic directly to the front lines to fight for Lascanne's last hope of maintaining its sovereignty.

This novel is a mash-up of Military Fantasy & Classic Romance. But don't let the mention of romance
Scott  Hitchcock
What a phenomenally entertaining and well written story. I think this series favorably compares best to Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham. Both are just amazingly smooth story writers who build their world and characters through subtlety and amazing prose. This is my first book by AT it will not be my last.

If you're an action junky you're probably going to complain that the start is slow. AT builds the characters like Abraham and Sullivan first so you've fallen for them. Then puts them in co
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved Children of Time so much but this book not so much. Now I just need to work out why. The writing was just as good and there was an interesting story there but somehow things just missed the mark for me.

It may be that I am not really interested in battles and fighting in general. Guns of the Dawn (and there's a clue there in the title) contains a lot of both. I actively disliked Emily, the main character, so that did not help either! For a supposedly sensible woman she was very easily swa
Jan 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
A solid 3.5 stars- I think my biggest gripe with this is that I would have loved it had it been about a third shorter. That said... it was a surprisingly readable flintlock fantasy that lives up to the pitch of "if Lizzy Bennett went to war." Think Napoleonic Wars where ye fantasie England's daughters are drafted, and our main character, Emily, finds herself in a war that isn't really about what she thought it was. I really liked the way the book ended, which made me like the story as a whole be ...more
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am baffled, I mean genuinely and deeply baffled, that this book was published two years ago. That a book this good, (and I want you to know I typed the word good with extreme fervour just now, you shouldn't read it as just good but as GOOD), a book this elegant and passionate and exciting and, ugh, just so damn good could have been published two years ago with a barely a whisper. I don't know who to feel worse for, this book for being criminally underread, or the people who've never heard of i ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Buddy read with my Chum Sarah who's choice it was to read this book. It was our first time reading any Tchaikovsky and was pleasantly surprised at his writing skills. He weaves a great world building/ character development skill that has you immersed in the story and feeling a lot of the tension and horror of battle.

After reading the first chapter I was looking forward to settling down with the book. But that chapter was a teaser. Chapter two takes you back a year and leads you toward our hero
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This book has a lot going for it. It’s a ton of fun, with expert pacing that takes the reader on an immersive adventure. It’s fantasy, but with very little magic and more of a focus on the realities of war and politics, which is perfect for me since unless an author uses magic in an unusually awesome way, I enjoy fantasy more for getting to play in an invented world than for actual fantastical elements. This one also feels in many ways like a modern soldier’s-eye-view war story, in a genre that ...more
I absolutely loved this book. I found the warfare so well described, the friends Emily makes, so heart warming. I did worry once Emily had been enlisted that my interest would wane but it increased instead. I slowed down my reading so that I could enjoy every page. I love that we were kept on tenterhooks until the very last page. Emily Marschwick was a wonderful, intelligent, brave and determined woman. Fabulous stuff. As soon as I finished this, I added it to my favourites shelf which I have no ...more
Milda Page Runner
Some interesting paralels with the war in Ukraine. When the current mobilisation happened (in Russia) I couldn't help but think: are they going to draft women next? Let's hope it won't get that crazy.
This is historical fantasy about the woman drafted to military to fight for her king. Magic is low key: there are warlocks empowered by the king's blood to use the fire magic, but for the most part they are in the background. Story centers on the main character's growth, changes to her perseption wh
Oct 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-reads, audiobook
A beautiful book. And a look at what war and affect has on people.
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Even though I'm a great Adrian Tchaikovsky fan, I nearly didn't pick up this book, because I'm not a great fan of Jane Austen, no fan of military novels, and no fan of flintlock fantasy. But then I saw that the audiobook is narrated by Emma Newman and I had to give it a try.

And what can I say? The book takes the perfect clichéd Jane Austen characters (three sisters, the heroine is the independent one, the little sister is the more shallow and pretty one, the older the motherly type) and puts the
Emma Newman
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I stayed up until the small hours to finish this as I couldn't put it down. It is... just let me say that you need to buy this book immediately. I loved it so much I can't actually write a coherent review. It made me laugh, cry and think about giving up writing for fear I'd never be able to write anything as good as this. Magnificent. ...more
Sarah  Aubert
Mar 28, 2022 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars.

Another hit for Tchaikovsky! Blending a low fantasy setting with an Austenesque set of social mores, we follow the young Emily Marshwick, an upper class lady who is conscripted into the army. Through Emily's eyes Tchaikovsky is able to provide rich insight into a country in peril. Through her trials we understand the resilience of human spirit and the true price of war. As in Children of Time, Tchaikovsky's strength lies in how he depicts relationships (both between people and between
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4.5 stars - I really enjoyed this one and would highly recommend.

One nitpick - you can tell this was written by a man - every woman that has read this book has probably wondered what the hell all those women did about getting their period - and in a swamp no less.
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Im not sure why this didnt excite me as much as I was hoping. It had the elements, cool world building, great action/battle scenes and decent characterisation. There was very limited magic which is interesting for a fantasy novel. Emily was charming as the protagonist and provided a great portrayal of a female in the military. I think the dense story telling and the depth was at times too much. I also feel like the pacing was off at stages. The battle scenes were amazing but the dramatic general ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Buddy Read with the lovely Courtney over at FBR.
Nov 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! Emily Marshwic's journey was riveting and heartbreaking. Going from a gentlewoman to becoming a soldier on the battlefield was an extreme makeover. From the losses, coping mechanisms and survival instincts that takes over when you must do things you never though yourself capable of, this was both a joy to read but also emotionally draining.

The gradual realization and change in Emily throughout the story were some of the best character development I’ve read for some
Sherwood Smith
Sep 19, 2016 added it
Shelves: fantasy
I saw this book referred to in a few places as Jane Austen meets the French Revolution.

Okay, I can kind of see the Jane Austen part in that I imagine the author putting down, say, Pride and Prejudice and musing: what if, in 1803 when Napoleon was poised to send a flotilla over to conquer England, George III had put out a call to draft one woman per household, to bolster the kingdom’s flagging numbers of soldiers out in the field?

Elizabeth Bennet, though very well brought up, was exactly the sort
3.5 stars

I'm in a group that does a monthly challenge. For April the challenge was to read the books I’ve been saving for a rainy day, with the intent being that I find something I love. This was one of the books I read for the challenge.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It had been high on my list of books I wanted to read for a long time, but after reading it I'm somewhat disappointed. Going into this I had read quite a few reviews from friends and most of them really loved it. I thought
Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany)
3.5 stars

Guns of the Dawn is an interesting project that is fairly well-executed, even if it's not my favorite subgenre of fantasy. It's military fantasy that reads like historical fiction, with a bit of magic in the background. It follows a genteel woman who ends up drafted into the military, fighting a deadly war. (there's also kind of a romance subplot, but it's very lowkey and nothing to write home about in my opinion)

And that is basically the book- how this woman ends up drafted into the m
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
4.5 Stars!

Imagine Elizabeth Bennet (yes, the one written by Jane Austen) is called to war...find this idea exciting? Then this is the book for you.

This is not your usual fantasy. Yes, there's some magic and a few warlocks but overall the supernatural is not the focus of the story and only plays a minor role. It may as well be historical fiction, with the history part totally made up. It's also a slow book, with gorgeous, elegant and witty prose. A bit in the style of Jane Austen, but still very
Twerking To Beethoven
I'm giving up on this one. Really not my cup of tea, way too slow. DNF. ...more
Aug 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, tchaikovsky
This book is well up with the best fantasy stories I’ve ever read. An involving, page turning plot and excellent characters. Didn’t want it to end (even though I did see the dramatic ending coming a little ahead of time!).

I like to label books with genres so I think this is in the ‘Flintlock Fantasy’ category, a few of which I’ve read but this is the best. At least this gives you an idea of the approximate era in which the action takes place. A story of a war between two previously friendly nati
Easily one of his best. Top 3 probably
A stand-alone, flintlock fantasy with a lead female character. Those qualities drew me to this book. The first chapter was so gripping I promptly allocated my money again to Amazon (for the 234th this year) and nominating it in no less two groups here in Goodreads (and won, yay).

I don't regret the decision despite the three stars. Not all books I buy and buddy-read have to be four or five stars, and the discussions are usually becoming more interesting. I have read already some dissenting opini
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ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY was born in Lincolnshire and studied zoology and psychology at Reading, before practising law in Leeds. He is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor and is trained in stage-fighting. His literary influences include Gene Wolfe, Mervyn Peake, China Miéville, Mary Gently, Steven Erikson, Naomi Novak, Scott Lynch and Alan Campbell.

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