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“Military fantasy needs a heroine like Emily Marshwic.”

Emily Marshwic is the heroine I’ve been waiting to read in a military fantasy novel. Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Guns of the Dawn is a book that my closest friends have been bothering me to read for quite a while, and when I finally cracked open the pages and fell headlong into the blood-soaked mud with a protagonist straight out of a Jane Austen era, I knew I was reading something special.

Far from the war torn misty swamps, we begin the tale with a genteel family holding down their estate while their country begins to rally troops, fighting back against the threat from a neighboring kingdom. Emily Marshwic and her sisters send the men in their family off to war, praying for a quick end to the conflict and their loved ones’ safe return. But as the months drag on, and there are no more men to send to fight… Emily herself must exchange her skirts for a uniform and a musket.

The story unfolds without unnecessary rush but kept me glued to the pages. Even with her determination and grit, the swampy hell of the frontlines is far beyond anything any soldier can be prepared for until they’ve seen it and lived it.

Standing proud at the front of a dynamic cast of characters, Emily charges through the pages of the story and pulls the reader along, breathless, until the very end. The story has its fair share of twists and turns, and the layers continue to unravel more and more of the war’s cold truth.

Tchaikovsky brilliantly succeeds in writing a female character who firmly deserves her place as the protagonist of a military fantasy, while still maintaining the nuances of her gender. She’s not simply a cardboard cutout character with a weapon. There were a couple of scenes in the story that felt a bit convenient and I was left wanting to see a bit more intentionality in them.

The side characters in this book are an absolute joy to a character-driven reader. If you like your secondary cast just as interesting and distinct as your protagonist, then this story will deliver in spades! Tchaikovsky can write a satisfying variety of relationships and personality styles, while still maintaining a layered plotline to support them.

Guns of the Dawn deserves the accolades it is often given. The nuances of Emily’s relationships, both with those around her and with herself, truly makes this story one of a kind in its subgenre, and one that I hope we will continue to see more of in the future.

 

 

Guns of the Dawn

Guns of the Dawn

Guns of the Dawn

Guns of the Dawn

Guns of the Dawn

Guns of the Dawn

Guns of the Dawn

Guns of the Dawn

ToriTecken

Tori is a wife, a stay-at-home mom, and a storyteller. Published for the first time at the age of 14, she now writes in a variety of fantasy subgenres with an emphasis on dark epic fantasy. Tori also runs the Youtube channel ToriTalks, where she reads, reviews, and hosts discussions with readers and authors.

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