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Guns of the Dawn

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,945 ratings  ·  280 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 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,945 ratings  ·  280 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
Lady Luna. ✨

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
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
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Daniel Abraham or Michael J Sullivan fans
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
Shelves: 5000-books
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Buddy Read with the lovely Courtney over at FBR.
Twerking To Beethoven
I'm giving up on this one. Really not my cup of tea, way too slow. DNF.
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
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
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
Easily one of his best. Top 3 probably
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 stars.

This book is like the love child of Jane Austin and Bernard Cornwall's Sharpe novels. Imagine a world with the technology of late regency/very very early Victorian England. Now imagine that our heroine, genteel Emily Marshwic, goes to fight with Wellington's troops in a marshy corner of the Peninsular Wars and you're about there. Add a dash of magic in the form of warlocks and you have this book.

It's a brilliant book; I loved the story and I loved our main character - Emily is a young la
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
read this one fairly fast (long but easy read) and overall I would rate it as ok but not great the way the Kinden series was; like in the Aethernet serial novel Spiderlight to which this one compares in some ways, the author wants to turn the corresponding tropes (here "good English/Royalists/orderly, bad French/revolutionaries/disrupting society) upside down and while the smooth prose makes reading the novel painless, the lack of sophistication - basically the whole book is a one note show - an ...more
Peter Newman
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-things
This is one of the best books I've read this year, perhaps ever. Sharpe with a female protagonist, swamps, and warlocks. Go read it!
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
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A 4.5 stars really.

Such a good book. I did not expect to be so entranced with the story and the characters. Emily is certainly one of the heroines of fantasy. I do not find another way to define her.
I enjoyed all the journey although I found the book weak, almost rushed, in two plot points (the capture and the end). I thought the story deserved a little more content.

The magic system is almost incidental. I would love to learn more about the people in that world. I am hoping there will be more
Karina Webster
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars - I really enjoyed this book! & it’s one i’ll read again and again. It will also stay in my mind for a while too.

This is going to be long, i’m not sorry. I’ll start with what I loved. (Which is pretty much everything!) This is my first Tchaikovsky and is not my usual fantasy pick. I like my fantasy feudal. Technology (including any sort of gun/grenade/canon) is normally a huge turn off for me when I’m looking to escape reality. Guns of the Dawn, obviously, contains guns. Lots and lot
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
'Guns of the Dawn' is a grim dark fantasy. It has mages, two nations at war, some mythical creatures, kings, heroes, but it is nothing typical. It has all of the above mentioned things, but its not about them. Its not about a nation and their victory, it is about the victory about common people. And their victory is freedom. Freedom from lies and false promises of their leaders and their armies. Freedom to live as any person like without the fear of impending doom.
This book follows Emily Marshw
Feb 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
The problem with this book is that it follows a certain path all too well. Without revealing much, the books has cliched characters lined up to bore even the most enthusiastic readers. There is the old but faithful handiman/War veteran/ Fatherly figure, the married older sister who is taking care of the house. The know it all middle sister and of course the spoilt and pretty younger sister who thinks everything is about her (Basically Sansa stark)

The book starts well with a war scene and even t
This book surprised me in more ways than one. I will start out with a confession - I think I confused this book with another Tchaikovsky book when I was picking titles for my book club this year. I definitely thought this was a sci-fi novel. It most definitely isn't.

It's fantasy - and pretty low fantasy at that. It's set in a secondary world, but one that's completely believable and not much on the fantastical world-building scale. There is magic, but it plays a relatively minor role, starring i
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some books just check all of your boxes, and Guns of the Dawn certainly checked all of mine.

Guns of the Dawn follows Emily Marshwic, a young noblewoman whose family has recently fallen on hard times. In fact, the whole kingdom of Lascanne has fallen on hard times: after revolutionaries overthrow neighbouring Denland's king and threaten Lascanne's monarchy as well, the two former allies become embroiled in a long, bitter, sluggish war. This war swallows up most of the men in Emily's generation, t
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: MMM Book Club 948 221 Nov 22, 2020 07:57PM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Guns of the Dawn [April 2019] 23 32 Apr 13, 2019 02:00PM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Guns of the Dawn [October 2017] 311 102 Dec 13, 2017 10:32AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky 79 54 Oct 08, 2017 04:52AM  

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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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