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The Dawnhounds

(Against the Quiet #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  48 reviews
A ship rolls through the fog, its doomed crew fallen victim to an engineered plague. Yat Jyn-Hok—disgraced cop, former thief, long lost love to a flame-haired street girl—stumbles across its deadly trail, but powerful men will do anything to keep it secret.

They kill Yat.

It doesn’t stick.

An ancient intelligence reanimates her, and sends her out to enact its monstrous desig
Paperback, First Edition, 259 pages
Published November 8th 2019 by Little Hook Press
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Sascha Stronach Yeah, I did all the formatting myself and something about the file really upsets Kindle readers. I've torn my hair out trying to resolve the errors fo…moreYeah, I did all the formatting myself and something about the file really upsets Kindle readers. I've torn my hair out trying to resolve the errors for almost a year now. I'm currently trying to sell to a publisher and it's right near the top of the list for Things That Need A Professional To Fix. (less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  178 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Allison Hurd
Don't read if you want to go into this without expectations! Rating will be posted when SFFBC has had time to comment.

The prologue on this was brilliant. I loved the biotech, the setting, the unexpected gut punch of the was really engrossing.

Unfortunately, this is the only chapter that was polished to this extent. The rest needs a serious editing.

Most of my review is going to be about this editing, because the story was so confused that I'm not sure I can say with confidence what was
The Dawnhounds was better than any of the Hugo-nominated fiction I read this year.

What am I going to do about it?

While I consider my courses, I leave you with these highlights:

Read for the 2020 Sir Julius Vogel Award nominations.
Oct 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi-club-read
I have read a few other reviews where the reader was confused for 60-70% of the book, I finished and I am still confused. Due to the real life thing I probably never spend as much immersion reading time as I should, for any book and perhaps this one suffers more than most with a limited attention span but...

I still don't have a good idea what the Blanks were, what the whole point of the prologue was, who Sibbi is, what the point of the spores was, the threads, the gods and on and on. I was able
I forgot to write a review! And of course I have forgotten everything by now.

I was pretty excited at first since I found out about this novel as well as the fact that the author included some elements from his experience living in Southeast Asia.

Bottom line : Cool botany magic/tech, confusing narrative and plot. YMMV.
Kristin B. Bodreau
Meandering, repetitive, baffling and disjointed. A lot of good ideas but not one of them well executed or properly explored. Getting two stars only for the merit of the ideas and the interesting, if often confusing, characters.
Melanie Harding-Shaw
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A world that is equal parts wondrous and horrific, and always exquisitely detailed. Prose that drifts into the kaleidoscopic. This novel feels like a weird dream that makes just enough sense. The characters feel complex and brokenly hopeful. It has bio-tech, magic, pirates, gods, and the remnants of a world we half-recognise. It does exactly what it promises—it starts with a shipwreck and ends with a kiss.
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Dawnhounds has great LGBT representation, a cool setting, appealing characters.

Unfortunately, from very early on, a sense of confusion set in, like I'd skipped reading sections of the book, or forgotten something important. This feeling was overwhelming in the last third of the book, so I'm pretty confident it isn't just impending memory problems. The climax seemed to come out of nowhere: huge explosions with not enough build-up. Straightforward prose works against its weirdness.

I risk writing
Octavia Cade
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-zealand, fantasy
I seem to be on a roll of fungal reads lately! And I've enjoyed them all, which is encouraging. Weird botany will just never be unappealing to me. To be honest, for most of these types of stories, it's the setting and the creepy mushrooms that interest me more than the characters. (Well, what can you expect from a botanist.) But The Dawnhounds bucks that trend a little, because the characters are a big part of what makes this such an interesting read. Yat, in particular, is extremely likeable - ...more
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
Never have tree houses been so boring. A really good idea that wasn't explored well. ...more
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An extremely pointed reframing of conventional sci-fi tropes. Both very readable, and very rewarding.
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a post-apocalypse biopunk fantasy from New Zealand. I read is as a part of monthly reading for October 2020 at SFF Hot from Printers: New Releases group. I got the book after it won the 2020 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel (NZ SFF award) and it was made available for download for all WorldCon members.

The book has a very interesting premise: in prologue, some ship returns from an expedition to get some kind of pre-apoc tech, which took lives of a greater share of the crew. Just nex
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nz-sff
An interesting, SE-Asian biopunk setting, but the writing is rushed (and there are obvious proofing errors). And at the end I found I just didn't care. ...more
No rating for now - this book had some fabulous ideas and occasionally excellent writing, but suffered from poor editing on every level, making it confusing and frustrating to read. I read that the author was working on this book for a decade, and I can absolutely see that - the world and characters and story are clearly vividly alive in his head, but the book veers between offering the reader too much information or not enough.
Tabatha Wood
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and breathtaking; an epic queer cyberpunk pirate adventure full of hope and fire, resilience and ingenuity.
Alex Acks
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Absolutely dizzying prose and queer as hell.
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tfn, sff, 2019-pub
Well this was a slog. Trendy Mievillian Vandermerean biohorror sci-fi tech ad trendy "found family" tropes, and about 10 different plots*, none of them managed very smoothly or coherently. I'm still not quite sure what the heck was going on. The editing was weak, too, with lots of places where the narration dipped from past into present. Finally, the prose was annoying. About every third sentence was a cringeworthy simile that did not add vividness so much as provide an unwelcome insight into wh ...more
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Something is changing in the City of Hainak, made of biomass and fungus. What is an ailing, addict cop to do?

A quick and fun read, this book introduces us to a world and magic system that are confusing and vast - many things are left open for future exploration. I didn't connect to our main character (I have problem with addicts in narrative, as well as overbearing heroes), but side characters were interesting and got their moments to shine. Injustices of the world were many, and sometimes they
Alex Prijn
In short, this book never lives up to its potential.

I liked most of the characters, though the main character, Yat, seems to be a tad fluid, as in the author by the end of the book still didn't know what kind of a person she'd be.

The story is not fluid, at all. It does not flow, and this is definitely not helped by grammatical errors, spelling errors (even in character names) and nonsensical sentences. What does "like bad wine being poured out in an alley" even mean, like how different from a go
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer, fantasy, horror, 2020
Home and family. The status quo. The belief that a system can be good... You just have to ignore that little bit of rot in the corner...

And the pain of having the rose-tinted glasses ripped off.

Great book.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dawnhounds is a promising debut novel with strong series potential, but is one that should be caveated with some of the asterisks that often get attached to debuts.

First, the strengths of this story are such that I think they stand out easily. The narration has a very distinct tone and style that reminds me greatly of Discworld if it were serious. In fact, a lot of this book reminds me of some of the more serious elements of Discworld, but tinged with the in-vogue Southeast Asian inspired fantas
Mikael A. S.
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love weird mushroom tech, and I love queer romance. The Dawnhounds is not only a goon-made book, but also an exhilarating, weird ride through a rich world I can't wait to learn more about. It's very gay, it's very brutal and it's touching and moving. ...more
Tim Henwood
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Swashbuckling funguspunk with a healthy dose of found family. I love world-building and Stronach has built a beautiful, terrible place of old gods and bio-engineering - and filled it with vivid characters (<3 Sen).
An immersive, vividly imagined southeast-Asian-inspired fantasy world powered by mushroom-based tech. Also, pirates!
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mushrooms! Pirates! Broken individuals trying their best!
Xavier Marchena
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really good. A breath of fresh air, one may say.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An escape! The beautiful evocative writing takes the reader into a gritty magical world with endless possibilities. Often wry but somehow a tender tale.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The best urban fantasy that I have read in years. Solid plot, characters, and pacing.
Eeleen Lee
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recalls the New Weird movement of the 1990s and early 2000s, with the dense milieu, biopunk, urban setting and intricate worldbuilding.
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
An intricate tale of broken cities and broken hearts, of corrupt heroes and lost girls. Where gods and cops and priests and pirates pull the threads of power and greed and love between them until they snap. 

We meet Yat, a constable with the best of intentions and a cat that isn't hers. 
 Yat struggles through the day to day in a world where anyone who doesn't fit the proper mold is chipped away at until they do. 
 But there are much greater forces at work than the petty cruelties of human nature. 
Holly Cruise
Mar 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
My birthday/Christmas present from my mate Steve who always sends me something queer and sci-fi/fantasy each year.

I quite like the term 'biopunk' which I've seen used about this book. It actually manages to get closer to the cyberpunk spirit than a lot of cyberpunk these days, considering that it's main narrative through-line is that police will too easily jump into being an oppressive arm of the state, a tool of stagnant existing power and refuge for little dictators, while our heroes are rebel
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