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Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,309 ratings  ·  641 reviews
When her sister Patty died, Jenna blamed herself. When Jenna died, she blamed herself for that, too. Unfortunately Jenna died too soon. Living or dead, every soul is promised a certain amount of time, and when Jenna passed she found a heavy debt of time in her record. Unwilling to simply steal that time from the living, Jenna earns every day she leeches with volunteer work ...more
Paperback, 182 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by Tor
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,309 ratings  ·  641 reviews

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Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
(3? 3.5?) One of the strangest book I've read in a while. I was intrigued by the world/magic system but the overall story lacked a little for me to give it a better rating.

I'll continue to read more of her books because they keep surprising me!
placeholder review until closer to pub date (<--- or maybe not, b/c i am so disappointing!), but for now:

dammit, i wish i liked urban fantasy.

i've tried a few times, but nothing has clicked for me yet. there's a quote in this book: Magic is real. Once magic is real, nothing is entirely out of the question, which unintentionally sums up my resistance. if "nothing is entirely out of the question," all tension is compromised - anything can be just magically fixed, which lowers the stakes a bit.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

3.5 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day is a beautifully-told but slightly illogical novella about ghosts who can’t ― or won’t ― yet pass on, some of the surprising powers ghosts have over humans, and the fearful powers that human witches have over the ghosts. But on a deeper level it’s about those who are unseen and homeless, and about the power of love and of finding inner peace.

In 1972, Jenna dies in Mill Hollow, Kentucky as a young woman. Distraught o
3.5ish stars

Another (too) short but sweet tale set in a unique, urban fantasy setting from a wonderful storyteller.

I think Seanan McGuire's greatest strength is her imagination and it's apparent in the worlds she creates. This novella is further evidence of that. In less than 200 pages she builds an interesting world of ghosts and witches with unique sets of abilities inhabiting Manhattan.

Unfortunately that's also this book's greatest weakness. In less than 200 pages she's busy building her wo
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
So. A ghost who suicided is forced to work as an operator at a suicide help hotline. Sounds like a neat setup for a joke, right?

Partially. The thing is, this UF is a ghost story where the ghost is just trying to get by, dealing in the coin that only she and her ghostly friends can spend... Time. Time and Ghosts. I guess Alan Moore has it right that we become creatures of the fourth dimension after we die! :) Or something. :)

But even though this is a pretty cool UF setup and I love the idea, we'v
Elise (TheBookishActress)
The world is full of stories, and no matter how much time we spend in it—alive or dead—there’s never time to learn them all. They just go by so quickly.

Seanan McGuire has a talent for finding hope in the darkest of places; in this case, death. Behind its mystery front story, this novella is a study in the family you find and in finding hope in death. Dusk or Dawn or Dark or Day is a compelling mystery about the disappearance of ghosts in New York, but honestly, what stands out here is the ne
Robin (Bridge Four)
Read with my lovely Wednesday UF read group at


3.5 Dark Start Stars

I normally don’t give warnings for books but I feel like this one might need one.

Warning: This book touches on death and suicide. If these are trigger points for you then maybe skip it. But if you are up for a darker read than most of Seanen McGuire’s other works then give it a try.

The beginning of this is pretty dark. Jenna has just lost her sister to suicide only to right after get caught in a storm and die too. --Not really a
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

This book isn’t your typical ghost story. While it includes a significant number of urban fantasy elements, there is also a darkly profound, rather despairing thread running beneath its surface. Thematically it is also on the weightier side, dealing with topics like suicide, survivor guilt, and emotional trauma. Fans of Seanan McGuire are still going to love her engaging storytelling style and loveable characters, but if
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-books
I only discovered after I finished this book that the author also writes as Mira Grant and that I have already enjoyed one of her books, Feed. I meant to follow up on her other books but forgot. I will now!

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day is an entertaining little book about ghosts and witches, both of which are depicted in rather different ways than the norm. The main character, Jenna, is a ghost who works on a suicide help line and keeps cats. Definitely not your usual ghost.

There is some interesti
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
You can always trust Seanan McGuire to give you a great story. I loved the dedication in this one, and I think this novella was further evidence of Seanan's ability to weave a story, no matter the length, into a masterpiece.
Dannii Elle
Every bit as bizarre in narrative and unique in concept as McGuire's Wayward Children series, but lacking the whimsy I so loved in the latter.
Maria Dimitrova
Usually I love Seanan McGuire's book. She's an amazing author and her writing is incredible. This book, however, was the exception to the rule. It's not a bad book, it just leaves you drained. That feeling is the reason why it took me so long to both read it and then put my thoughts in any semblance of order.

This is a dark book, one that deals with suicide and how much it taxes the people closest to the person that took that way out of life. Maybe that wasn't the point of the book, because the
Apr 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-read, novella
A interesting ghost story, but I had a bit of trouble connecting and feeling engaged with the characters. The pacing also felt a bit too end loaded for me. I liked the premise for the main conflict, although once the action started to resolve it, everything was over pretty quickly.

Overall, I liked the ideas in the story more than how they were actually executed.
Viv JM
I thought this was a reasonably entertaining tale of ghosts and witches, with a bittersweet edge to it. Like others though, I found it seemed a bit too short for the story it was trying to tell, so that it had an underdeveloped feel somehow. Good, but not amazing.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First thoughts: lovely and touching. Witches and ghosts, loss, responsibility and sadness.

Forty years ago Jenna’s sister Patty, who moved away to New York committed suicide and Jenna was so distraught about her beloved sister that she tragically died soon after. And ever since she’s tried to atone for not seeing her sister’s pain, working at a suicide prevention hotline, and hoping that she can accumulate enough time and repay enough debt to one day see her sister again.

But when the ghosts of New York starts disappearing, evil preying upon them, Jenna is the only one who can help.

Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, stars-4-0
"The world is full of stories, and no matter how much time we spend in it — alive or dead — there’s never time to learn them all."

McGuire's writing style is again beautiful and haunting - and that first chapter!

She offers us a ghost story with a difference, full of detail and pathos. I loved discovering how she re-though the dynamics between humans, ghosts and witches. It is a fascinating and rich world. As for Jenna's journey of redemption, it stays with you. I just wish this was longer...
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
I love love loved the premise of this book, but unlike with Seanan McGuire's other books, I feel like this was too short for me to connect to the characters. I think I would have liked this more if it was a little longer so I could spend more time getting to know the characters instead of spending all my time trying to understand the world.
Julie Zantopoulos
Dec 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-it, read-in-2017
This was-strange. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. It’s definitely different than other books I’ve read by her but retained a bit of her dark whimsy.
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
So this book pretty much sealed the deal for me with Seanan McGuire. I know I've read the first two her her Incryptid series and enjoyed them, but after reading "Every Heart a Doorway" earlier this year and "Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day" now, I think I'm going to have to devour everything this woman writes - and that's a lot of books because doesn't she write as Mira Grant as well?

This book is just beautiful and similar to "Every Heart a Doorway," McGuire takes an urban fantasy theme and makes it
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Seanan loves her ghost stories.

Jenna lives a solitary life, working by day in a coffee shop and by night as a suicide hotline counselor. Her day job pays her bills and her night job earns her the minutes of life that will move her ghostly existence further towards her eternal rest. But then she receives a warning from a friend that all the other ghosts of New York have suddenly disappeared.

Jenna is a deeply sympathetic individual with a sad story, and a sadder existence, with a way of moving for
3.5 stars.

I read this novella just because of the title. I had no idea what this was about, but I trust novellas to be, if not always great, at least always interesting.
And it was, but I have to say that I thought this was going to be a horror book, and it's not creepy at all. It's a ghost story about grief, growing old and letting go.

The main character of this book is the ghost of a girl who died by suicide in 1972, and she's now a grown ghost who works at a suicide hotline. She also ke
Paul  Perry
4.5 stars

McGuire's short novel has one of the most remarkably powerful openings I've read. Even though it is the prologue, I don't want to spoil it for those that haven't read it.

Once into the novel proper she builds her world - a New York full of ghosts - with consummate skill. The she spans myth and fairy tale and realism brought to mind Charles de Lint, and there can be no greater praise. (Seriously. If you haven't read him I am not saying he's one of the greatest fantasy writers in the Engli
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: paranormal
This is a short story and I thought about abandoning it several times. Instead of giving the reader a good ghost story, McGuire spends most of the time explaining how her ghost world works. For all the explaining she did, I still couldn't grasp her ghost/time concept.
I never left, not in body, not in bone. Dusk or dark or dawn or day, I've been here the whole time.

one of the biggest releases of last year was seanan mcguire's every heart a doorway. everyone was reading it, everyone was talking about it, and it showed up on a bunch of 2016 favorites list. i read it, liked it enough, but it didn't impress me that much.

this novella, however. this was everything i was expecting her other book would've been for me.

the plot of this is pretty simple - the ghosts
Ashley Brooks
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
In this standalone novella, Jenna, our friendly NYC ghost, died well before her time after her sister Patty committed suicide. She now works at a suicide hotline where she "earns" her time back by helping the callers and in turn, helping them stay alive. She then bleeds time from herself to humans (or witches) which in turn makes them that much younger and her that much older. And then shit gets real, which is where I'll leave you.

Seanan McGuire is easily my favorite urban fantasy author. Her wr
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book but I didn’t really enjoy it. It just made me feel sad. It’s about loss, bereavement, legacy and finding our way home; about death and haunting and suicide; about dying before our time and being ready to move on. The ending was a good one and I’m glad it ended that way.
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was short and kinda sweet and very unique!

I loved how McGuire gave a spin to the entire Ghost story, how Ghosts are "made", how they keep living, how they can live... all that was so very different and special in a way and not in any way i ever read before, so thats fantastic!

I also love the witches elements in this. The magic is completely different but clearly understandable without the need to have pages on pages to explain the system.

The writing was FAN-fudging- TASTIC!

From start to fi
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A ghost keeping to herself and working at a suicide prevention hotline suddenly finds herself teaming up with a witch for a rescue mission.
Loved this story 🖤
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Aunque me ha gustado mucho, hay algunas partes que no me acaban de funcionar. Sin embargo, la ambientación es maravillosa y el estilo de McGuire aún más.
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Hi! I'm Seanan McGuire, author of the Toby Daye series (Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, Late Eclipses), as well as a lot of other things. I'm also Mira Grant (, author of Feed and Deadline.

Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and
“The world is full of stories, and no matter how much time we spend in it—alive or dead—there’s never time to learn them all. They just go by so quickly.” 9 likes
“Money comes and goes, but time only goes. Time” 1 likes
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