New and Unique Fantasies: The Dawnhounds and Book of Night

15 Jun

The Dawnhounds
by Sacha Stronach

Sascha Stronach is a Maori author from Wellington, New Zealand, but has also spent time in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, which are reflected some in the immensely creative The DawnhoundsThe Dawnhounds is set in a post-apocalyptic world with previous technology that seems to mirror our own, but their modern technology revolves around biomechanical plant and fungus.  The story focuses on a former thief turned police officer, Yat, who has been banished to night shift due to her “delicate condition” of being bisexual.  One evening she is murdered under some shady circumstances but is brought back to life by a monkey god and aided by a pirate crew; it is then her adventures truly begin.  This might seem a lot going on, but I did not find the story difficult to follow and I still found Yat a sympathetic character despite the complex world building.  This is Stronach’s debut novel and if you are like me you will be glad to know this is the first in a series.

Book of Night
by Holly Black

Holly Black’s Book of Night features a world much like our own, save one significant detail magic, specifically shadow magic is real.  In her alternate reality people may have their shadows slightly augmented by adding horns, wings, and taking the shape of animals or shadows may be used for more devious purposes such as spying or controlling others.  The story focuses on Charlie Hall, nicknamed The Charlatan who was sucked into a life of thievery at an early age and is trying unsuccessfully to staying on the straight and narrow to help her younger sister have a better life.  Although I thought a central twist was fairly obvious, over all I enjoyed the creativity of Black’s dark fantasy world.  Black previously has been known for writing YA and Middle grade novels like the Folk of the Air Trilogy; hopefully we will see more innovative adult works from her in the future.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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