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Keeper of the Dawn

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  244 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Sometimes failure is just the beginning

All Lai has ever wanted is to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her, in service to their beloved goddess. That’s before the unthinkable happens, and Lai fails the trials she has trained for her entire life. She makes the only choice she believes she can: she runs away.

From her isolated desert homeland, Lai r
Paperback, 205 pages
Published April 18th 2017 by Book Smugglers Publishing
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Asteropê In the future RE: giveaways and issues with them, use the GR Contact Us form:
They even have "giveaway" on the…more
In the future RE: giveaways and issues with them, use the GR Contact Us form:
They even have "giveaway" on their drop-down.

There was a giveaway that had the wrong blurb once. I noticed it and used the form and they fixed it and thanked me.

I believe once a giveaway is created, (only they?) can edit and tweak it.
In a case like this, they might tweak the wording or leave it as is and hope people are intelligent enough to see that 5 copies are being offered and that means 1 per person.

As for your comment, I do think the working wasn't so clear. Though it's silly to think anyone would have leg to stand on to sue. I mean, really. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  244 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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The first official title in the Novella Initiative! Cover by Reiko Murakami! <3
Claudie Arseneault
May 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: asexual, fantasy, lgbt
DISCLAIMER: I was given an ARC of this story in exchange for a honest review.

Content warnings for death, violence, fatphobia (in the use of tropes, see below), antisemitism (same trope as fatphobia, see below) and acephobia (in the way it presents asexuality, see below)

This isn't a bad book, but I found reading it endlessly frustrating because it sure as heck isn't a *good* one either. It doesn't help that this started with several things I really dislike:
- Everyone thinking the MC is special wi
Liz H {Redd's Reads}
This was a fantastic, quick read with beautifully written characters and a wonderful plot that examines how dreams and goals can be accomplished in a variety of ways. I also enjoyed the female/female romance that built in a gratifyingly natural way. It's a great beginning to the Books Smugglers Novella Initiate!

A more in-depth review will be available on Redd's Reads very soon.
I loved this fantasy novella! I picked it up mainly because I heard the protagonist was asexual (true), and I ended up with a novella that was beautiful in so many ways and really resonated with me.

Lai’s mother and grandmother before her have been priestesses, and Lai can’t imagine any other life for herself. In order to become a priestess, she must win through the trials, for only one girl can be selected by the gods as the next priestess. But what about after the trials? What will happen to th
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this in one sitting (12am to 2am), roughly four hours after receiving the ARC (830pm) and about five after learning about the novella (7ish pm).

There's a lot to enjoy - Gunn has built a unique world setting that I often wanted to hear more about. Split into three parts, we follow Lai days before the Trials and across four or so years as she seeks her purpose and how she can serve the Goddesses.

When the unthinkable occurs Lai faces a future she never anticipated nor is particularly inter
Bridget Mckinney
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Dianna Gunn’s Keeper of the Dawn combines a smartly plotted adventure with a sweetly written romance in a richly imagined fantasy world with plenty of space for more stories if the author chooses to return to it. Unfortunately, it’s all a bit much for a novella-length work. It’s a little overstuffed, and the sequence of events, while well-considered, has a tendency to read like a run-on sentence of “and then this happened and then this happened” and so on; all characters aside from the protagoni ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: novella
2.5 Stars. I was in the mood for a fantasy novella, and I picked this one up because I heard it features an asexual heroine with a F/F romance. Unfortunately, there was a couple of things that didn't work for me. I felt that the length of the novella was too short to allow sufficient world building to take place. At the same time, there was barely enough plot to justify the length of the novella.

The heroine, Lai, is one of the many female initiates of her faith, each battling to become the sole
Nicole Field
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it
There was a fantastic novel in here. Lots of amazing world building, some truly magnificent new mythology created, and the character of Lai was strong, independent and an absolute joy to watch wander through the world.

Unfortunately, all of this was rushed into the shape of a novella. I too often found that I was just getting used to the shape of one part of the story, the new characters or parts of the world that had been introduced, and then suddenly we were months or a year beyond that point
This story was a failure from practically the first page, and I would not recommend it.

Read the full review on my blog.
Polenth Blake
Lai has trained all her life to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her. When she fails the test, she runs away and finds her people aren't the only ones with that religion.

This is a novella of unfortunate implications. That's going to take some explaining, so I'll start with the simpler stuff. I'm also not talking about much which isn't in the book description, but I'd note the official description covers most of the plot.

One thing I did like is the two cultures with the
A (Is For Awkward)
This was a long novella, not quite a novel, from my amazon recommendations, and I am both happy I read it and sadly frustrated with it as well. It is a fantasy, more YA but NA leaning than anything, with certain quirks and YA fantasy tropes thrown in (like the school feel at the beginning in a setting that didn't quite fit that). It was also theoretically a romance, but honestly I had problems with that more so than the overall plot.

The basic premise, involving a young woman who spent her life
Katherine Locke
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I almost wish this was a novel and I hope we get more about Lai and Tara in the future! A quick, light fantasy read about a girl piecing together her future. A sweet f/f romance with an ace girl protagonist. The label isn't used but it's pretty clear and that's lovely. Extra star for that.

The pacing was off and the writing was occasionally clunky, which distracted me at points.

But overall, I enjoyed this and look forward to more books from the author.
Feb 27, 2021 added it
I have had Keeper of The Dawn on my TBR for years but I had never been in the mood for it. When I was looking for a shorter read, I finally thought it was the right time to read it. I was really disappointed though as the book did not live up to my expectations.

One of the major problems that I had with the book was the writing. I did convert the file to my kindle so I think that this might be why I had problems. The writing was minimal, so I did find that I was skimming a lot. The draw to the st
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
Beautiful cover and nice idea, however quite rushed and a little too simple with the narrative at times - this felt like it was aimed at middle grade... and there's nothing wrong with that, but not what I was expecting when I read about it. Little to no affinity for the characters because it was a lot of telling, rather than the reader getting to know any of the cast. The sexuality within the book is easily the strongest element to it (and earns a star for that alone), however it didn't have eno ...more
J.R. Koop
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one. Picked it up for a quick read and very quickly found myself wishing there was more !! The fact that the LGBTQIA+ rep was seamless definitely warmed my heart. I'll be watching for more from this author. ...more
[review content notes: mentions fat bias, queermisia, misogyny, violence]

This was a hard one to rate, since while I loved the romance, I was not a fan of most of the rest. However, the sweetest, most respectful, wonderful romance between the heroine and the girlfriend she finds in a different land was gratifying to read. They talked through boundaries and what they wanted in their relationship. The main character, who is asexual, says she does not want to have sex. Her allosexual (non-asexual) g
Emily Hobson
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
A quick little read, only 200 pages, so can't say too much without giving away the whole book... But I do want to discuss some plot points so......THIS HAS SPOILERS PPPPPL.

This book was alright. It was very short but the time frame that our main character, Lai, goes through is over FOUR YEARS.... four years.... in 200 pages. She goes from going through a trial to become the high priestess to homeless to a traveler, to a merchant, back to a traveler and wait for it... BACK TO TRAINING to b
J.S. Fields
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lesbian
A brief but ultimately entertaining tale about following your own path, even if it wasn't where you thought your life would go.

Generally, I enjoyed this book. Lai is a relatable protagonist, although her voice is fairly young for an adult story. The worldbuilding was appropriate for a novella, although I think this story could easily have been expanded into a full length novel, if not two. The general flow of the book, from word choice to the internal monologues of the protagonist, fit well wit
Miss Ginny Tea
This could have been much better than it was. As it was, it had a VERY slow start with too much stuff going on (why the brother? why the father and his new and pregnant wife with a different religion?). It should have either been longer with more about Lai's training, or it should have been much shorter and tighter. I think it might have been awesome to start with Lai riding back to the temple to warn the priestesses and then filled in the backstory with some flashbacks. As it was, it was just k ...more
Cait Gordon
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: authors-i-ve-met
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I appreciate the first half of this book so much, there's history, build-up, Lai is pretty much a badass, but then it falls flat. Like, really flat.
(view spoiler)
Erin Guinevere
This was a lovely story. Short enough to read in between the longer things I'm currently reading but long enough to feel fleshed out. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if it weren't for some contradictory elements in characterization and worldbuilding, as well as grammatical and spelling errors, it would be four stars. Could have maybe done with a couple more rounds of editing.

Also, a lot of peoples' issues with this book seems to stem from them applying modern/social justice/egalitarian identity po
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I quite enjoyed this little novella. It was short, to the point, and relatively enjoyable. I'd give it 3.5 stars.

The thing with this novella was that it didn't really go anywhere I wasn't expecting it to. This was not totally a bad thing, but it made the characters fall flat. Although I didn't particularly dislike any of the characters, I wasn't invested in them. Furthermore, all the problems presented were solved after several time skips and this left Lai's victories feeling dull. I would have
Meagan R.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an immensely enjoyable read. Keeper of the Dawn is a simple, satisfying fantasy novella. The world is set up efficiently, and the story is populated with beautiful descriptions of the world and characters. Lai is successful as a multidimensional, driven, (A-spec!) protagonist. There were times where I would have wanted even more development to the story and relationships. The story moves quickly, and is effective as a narrative arc, but it also spans many years without comment. Explorat ...more
Terri Wilson
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am drawn to fantasy books for one main reason- strong female characters. I actually find it ironic that women have more control over their destinies in imaginary worlds. This book is a great example of that. Lai trained her whole life for one important chance to become a priestess. Unfortunately, the goddesses had a much different path for Lai to follow. Her inner strength pushes her to reach what seems like an impossible goal no matter how roadblocks she faces. I like this main character and ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jordan Lombard
Unfortunately, I had a lot of issues with this book. I won’t list them all. But the biggest one was that I never understood why Lai had to become a priestess. This was never explained. Then she decides, in the blink of an eye, to become a Keeper of the Dawn when that seems her only option to serve the gods. Why does she feel the need to serve them so much?

I loved the cover of this book! And the description had me intrigued. But, the description on the back pretty much tells everything that happe
Mekki MacAulay
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gunn's talents lie in conveying emotions, feelings, in words. She sees beauty in the terrors and trials of life and laments the horrors we put ourselves (our children) through. This book is deeply personal yet projected on a fantasy worldscape. Magic exists but isn't the focus. People are different and different some more, yet undeniably human. There is the tribe and the other. There are gods, of old, of strength and bravery, neither good nor evil. This work would translate well to a fantasy TV ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story worth reading, but needs some work

I loved this book. I loved the characters, I loved the lore, I want to learn so much more about the world. That being said, the writing is pretty clunky. There are a number of scenes that are a bit short and rushed, like they were inserted to fill gaps. Some are unnecessary, some should have been expanded. The dialogue can be a little bit wooden as well. However, the story catches you enough that you don't even notice it for the most part. I would recomm
Jamie Coudeville
Sometimes you read a book that you can't wait to be done with, other times you wish there was more. This book, for me, was the latter. I WISH THERE WAS MORE. I really loved the worldbuilding and the characters. I would've totally read multiple books set in this world. Finally some f/f ace rep. Finally, someone I can relate to. So yeah, my only complaint is that it wasn't longer. I will be keeping my eye on this author from now on.

Totally recommend this to everyone!
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Dianna L. Gunn has known she wanted to be a writer since she was eight years old. She wrote her first novel for Nanowrimo at the age of eleven years old, but quickly discovered that writing books is not an easy way to make a living. So she decided to broaden her horizons, seeking another career that still allowed her to work with words.

Her freelance writing career started when she became a marketi

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