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An Oath of Dogs
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An Oath of Dogs

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  339 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Kate Standish has been on Huginn less than a week and she s already pretty sure her new company murdered her boss. But extractions corporations dominate the communities of the forest world, and few are willing to threaten their meal tickets to look too closely at corporate misbehaviour. The little town of mill workers and farmers is more worried about the threat of eco-ter ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Angry Robot
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Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-read
An exciting page-turning murder mystery set on a forested moon, with overtones of magical realism. It seems kind of odd to describe a SF book as having a magical realism feel, but that is really the only way I can describe certain elements of this book.

It's a murder mystery set in the midst of a small settlement with a divided population based on forestry and subsistence farming. The resource extraction is all being financed by a giant corporation, with all the usual bottom line BigCorp concern
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting setup with a murder investigation on a forest moon colony with some really interesting world-building, but an ultimately unsatisfying story that leaves too much important stuff unexplained.

Kate Standish is a communications engineer who is recovering from a horrible accident which has left her with traumatic agoraphobia and the need for a service dog. Standish and Hattie (her service dog) have come to the moon colony of Huginn in the Yggdrasil system to work in an outlying forestry
Scott  Hitchcock
Apr 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective, mystery, sci-fi
The story, characters and world never engaged me. The action didn't provide any real tension. I did like the writer's style and I will give her credit for trying something different. I still might not have made it through had I not owned this from a Kindle one day sale.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Review originally written for my blog

I received this as an e-Arc from the publisher as I'm a big fan of Angry Robot and as soon as I saw the cover for this, I just had to read it. It's a sci-fi novel set on the planet Huginn which is earth-like but with very different native flora and fauna. Kate arrives to find her boss dead and so she slowly tries to figure out what happened as she learns more about the society which compromises mill workers and a group of religious people called Believers.

May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this science fiction mystery! I am a sucker for stories set on alien planets, especially when the flora and fauna are part of the story. Add in a questionably ethical mega-corporation, a religious sect that helped colonize the planet, mysterious and scary feral dogs and MURDER - and you've got yourself a good story. I liked that the perspective changed - seeing both out of biologist Peter Bajowski's eyes and that of newly-emigrated communications manager Kate Standish (who has a ...more
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aliens, sci-fi, reviewed
An Oath of Dogs is a wonderfully unusual sci-fi thriller that fuels your imagination. Kate Standish arrives on Hugin and discovers a town threatened by eco-terroism, killer sentient dogs and suspects her old boss has been murdered by the corporation she works for.

I loved the world building, the unusual biome filled with fungi and strange alien creatures and the dogs. The book had a good pace throughout to keep the pages turning as you discover more about the planet of Hugin, its inhabitants an
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
It's the twenty-third century, and Standish has found a new career in a new town. The new town is a moon, Huginn, and the new career consists of working as head of communication for a huge intergalactic corporation. Standish's predecessor, Duncan Chambers, was murdered. Who killed him, and why? Could it have anything to do with the 100-year-old diary Standish found hidden in his house, detailing the tribulations of Huginn's first colonists? And what about Chambers' former lover, Peter Bajowski, ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wendy Wagner's writing is infused with a kindness you really won't find anywhere else (well, maybe if you've seen the Wonder Woman film, you will). You can tell from her writing that she cares about the world and humanity's place in it. Her novel provides readers with a swell science fiction mystery, on a strange new world, along with a wonderful heroine to solve it--a heroine who has a therapy dog. This is another way Wagner's work sings. Her work has heart, and maybe that's what we need most r ...more
Maybe I am being harsh. The book is not terrible, and the prose is respectable. It is a murder mystery set on an Earth-like moon (in a galaxy far far away). The structure of the mystery was good and might have rated four stars. There were plenty of plausible suspects with multiple motives, even if, in the end, the butler did it as usual. The world building of an alien ecosystem is where things were not up to snuff. In order for science fiction or fantasy to justify the suspension of disbelief, t ...more
   An Oath of Dogs is one of those books I like to call ‘sci-fi lite’. This would be a great book to give to a reader wanting to try adult science fiction. This has just enough to feel like it fits in the SF category but so closely follows it’s characters that it’s a relatable. It follows two characters, a woman and man who get embroiled in a murder investigation that quickly spirals into something much bigger, with very intelligent dogs. Kate Standish, who goes by Standish, as she arrives
Garrett Calcaterra
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An Oath of Dogs drew me in right from the start with a hook reminiscent of a murder mystery, and in a large part, the novel is a murder mystery. It's so much more than just that, though. It's a far future sci-fi story set on another planet where the protagonist, Kate Standish, struggles with PTSD and working for a corporation that cares little for the land or the people living there. Kate has a service dog, Hattie, who runs amuck with the strange feral dogs on the planet, and this adds a nice su ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little bit Laura Ingalls Wilder, a little bit Jeff Vandermeer, a little bit Elmore Leonard; this is an exceptional story that despite some familiar trappings manages to be entirely original.

I don't want to say too much about the plot, other than that I liked the characters quite a lot (apart from the Dewey ex machina, which felt unearned) and the pacing was great.

One thought: If the moon Huginn (thought) changes based on what people think, what in the world happens on Muninn (memory). Are peop
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: angry-robot, grown-up
Oh man, that was compelling as hell. Definitely has some Horror logic, in that creepy stuff happens just because that happening would make your skin crawl, but yikes. Murder Horror mystery I read the first page of (where a man is dying), went "welp, that's the ride I'm on" and then kept reading without ceasing.

The timeline intermingling with quotes from diaries and scholarly works was just really masterfully done.
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the smell of rain, damp earth, and forests in this story. Take time to make friends if you want a place to feel like home. And find yourself a good dog.
Geonn Cannon
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really fantastic worldbuilding, but a bit bogged down in the last third or so.
Spencer Ellsworth
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great cozy mystery on an alien planet. It has all the things I love about a well-drawn alien place--weird creatures, weird trees, a weird mystery among the humans and their dogs who keep going feral--and an increasing ratchet of tension, up and up and up, as we close with the ending.

I loved the setting and loved Hattie, a take-no-guff character who refuses to admit she is out of her depth as she is increasingly out of her depth.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An uplifting mix of horrifying colonist disaster, xenobiology and a good old murder mystery wrapped up in great writing, characters and a glorious cover.
T.J. Berry
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An Oath of Dogs is a fun science fiction murder mystery steeped in the danger of an alien world. Wendy does a great job of making Huginn feel unfamiliar and threatening, while at the same time homey and mundane. Juxtaposing a murder investigation onto this complex and scary world amplifies the power of each. I even found myself silently rooting for characters to be more careful among the local flora and fauna. I was going, "No, don't touch that! Look out!" Which is always a sign that I'm totally ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 2017
An Oath of Dogs begins with a murder, which is the best way to start any story. The victim is Duncan Chambers, Communications Director on the colonized moon of Huginn. The motivation is clearly that he Knows Too Much about something or other. The murderer is...well, that would be telling.

As a reader, we have this privileged information that Our Heroes do not. Kate Standish comes to Huginn expecting to work for Duncan but instead has to assume his role, made all the more difficult since she's exp
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Fairly solid debut novel.
Spoilers ahead:
Two things brought me to buying this book- it's cover art and the fact that it's sci-fi written by a woman. There's a lot to say about it- I think first and foremost I gotta compliment the author on her attempt to pursue so many different social issues. I loved the concepts that were explored such as gender, sexuality, religion.
I'm a huge proponent for diversity in stories (again a huge rarity in sci-fi) but a lot of it seemed forced and inorganic. Examp
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I was looking for a standalone book to read and picked An Oath of Dogs up when it was on sale, so I probably shouldn't complain when I found it to be readable but nothing that especially makes me want to seek out any more of this author's work. I am, however, quite hard to please at the moment so all my current reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt...

The basic premise of An Oath of Dogs is that it's about commercial colonisation of a moon which is immensely different to our own and what h
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A tightly-written, enjoyable eco-thriller with well-rounded characters set in a logging town on a distant moon. The dramatic ending felt rushed as though on the fence about leaving way for a sequel.

I picked this up because I was interested in the author's work (Wagner is the managing/associate editor of the wonderful Lightspeed Magazine and nonfiction editor on the special Women Destroy Science Fiction! issue) and interested in the "sentient dogs". I did find the dogs to be the least interesting
An interesting science fiction with good characters, an interesting mystery, a really cool setting, and a really dumb twist.

The setting is fun– a recently uninhabited woodland moon with a current corporate presence for logging and a collection of neo-Mennonites trying to live off the land. Enter the main character, a communications tech with a recently-developed agoraphobia and her assistance dog. Other characters are pretty much just Peter, a biologist, and the narrator of a found journal. Kat
Miriam Rouziek Bergman
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I binge read this book in mostly one sitting (I made the mistake of starting it before bed and then finished it the next morning). I loved this book - I'm a huge fan of murder mysteries and science fiction, and I'm always excited about details in a book. Having one of the main characters as a biologist and including tiny details about the flora and fauna on an alien world mad it all the more interesting to me.

Set on a forest moon in a system named for Norse mythology, the story follows two chara
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Non spoiler review:

Not so much of a murder mystery (the rear cover actually tells you the primary/obvious suspect) but a reasonably entertaining story following a relatively new colony on a habitable moon.

Many aspects of the novel are beautifully done and inspected (the role of corporation/capitalism a la near future interplanetary colonization, interesting minutiae and interactions of ecology/biology within natural life systems that don't share amino bases, very inspiring prose and characteriz
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
A solid 3.5 stars SF story. I don't read tons of SF these days but I thought this sounded intriguing enough to pick up. I thought Wagner created an interesting world full of extraterrestrial flora and fauna, a small town filled with company logging personnel as well as a community of religious agrarians patterned after Mennonites. Throw in ecoterrorists and the opening of the book starting with a murder and watch the sparks fly.

The thing that really caught my attention were the pack of wild dog
Joey Nardinelli
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I only liked Peter when he was talking about biology, ngl. This is probs closer to a 3.5 since I really liked the setting and the work that was put into the world, I just could have done w/less from Peter's perspective (and also fewer sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and racist moments that were def only put in to set the scene and tone even though honestly it's in a future where we have wormholes to get to other solar systems and space stations and shit, you would fucking hope that shi ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good read. The story opens with a murder, told from the viewpoint of the victim. Then it switches to the POV of the main character, Kate Standish (just Standish, thanks), who has come with her therapy dog so she can live on the same planet as her best (only) friend. Standish is coming to be the "cable guy" for this company town, and the guy who would have been her boss is missing. We know he's dead, because we saw him get murdered in the open scene. Weird things happen in this frontier town, par ...more
Natalie Haigh
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
oh wow. that was..... enthralling. im a dog person so originally picked this up on recommendation from another book reader and the blurb as well. And the quote from Fran Wilde sealed it for me. i couldnt put it down, even with a fairly obvious murder mystery, it was the mystery of the dogs that kept me turning page after page. i had a solid inkling of the answer about 2/3 of the way thru the book but i desperately wanted to know the why and the how as well. the action really kicks into gear head ...more
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Eastside Sci-Fi &...: An Oath of Dogs by Wendy Wagner 1 2 Jul 21, 2018 04:02AM  
Wendy N. Wagner grew up in a town so tiny it didn’t even have a post office. With no television reception, she became a rabid reader, waiting impatiently for the bookmobile’s fortnightly visit to her tiny hometown. Today, her family struggles to find room for her expanding book collection in their Portland, Oregon, home. She buys books about history, weird animals, martial arts, gardening, and zom ...more
More about Wendy N. Wagner

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