cover image The Dawnhounds

The Dawnhounds

Sascha Stronach. Saga, $17.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-982187-05-7

Stronach debuts and launches the Against the Quiet series with an inventive, meandering fantasy that delivers plenty of atmosphere but little clarity. In the city of Hainak, constable Yat Jyn-Hok is reassigned from day to night shift as punishment for being caught having a dalliance with another woman. While on a patrol, she finds a rotten corpse in the water and calls for backup. Instead, two mysterious officers emerge from the shadows and shoot her. Yat dies—and then mysteriously comes back to life with magical powers. Unsure of how or why she was resurrected and worried that someone might finish the job of killing her, Yat goes on the run. Luckily, Sibbi Tiryazan, an ancient witch turned ship captain, is eager to recruit Yat to her pirate crew. With dark forces wreaking havoc in the city, Yat fights alongside Sibbi’s gang to save her home, forging a delightfully queer found family along the way. Stronach’s worldbuilding is dense and wonderfully weird, but readers should prepare to be left with more questions than answers. Meanwhile, the long buildup, expansive cast, and perplexing magic system make this slow-going. It’s an ambitious tale that doesn’t quite pull through. Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary. (June)