The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee

Waffles on the nice clean sheets.
Waffles on the nice clean sheets.

Why I Read It: I’m enamored with Lowachee‘s scifi books set in the Warchild Universe.

Where I Got It: Own it.

Who I Recommend This To: I think those who enjoy intense fantasies that have the clash of cultures at the center of them would like this book.

Publisher: Orbit (2010)

Length: 368 pages

Series: I really hope this is Book 1 of a series.

Sjennonirk of the Aniw comes from a simple, frozen world where words are used in a straightforward manner and she is a spiritwalker, respected by her people. After her Dog kills a violent Kabliw (outsider), Sjenn is taken from her homeland to the Ciracusan city of Nev Anyan, where General Farrell directs her to teach the Dog to his son, Captain Jarrett Fawle. The story switches back and forth between Sjenn’s point of view and that of Jarrett’s, capturing the two main cultures. Set in a gaslight world of seven deities and warring tribes and the ever pressing Sairlanders, Karin Lowachee transports the reader into the hearts and minds of two complicated characters.

It took me approximately 100 pages to truly get into this novel. At first, I was trying to read it in quick snatches of 3-7 pages, but that wasn’t really working. This tale demands your full attention as you as the reader are forced into these different cultures. Luckily, I had to sit through an hour long MRI of my ankle and became fully engaged in the story. As long as I could give the book it’s due of 20-50 pages at a time, I absolutely loved this novel. In shorter increments, I felt slightly out of place, like I was trying to engage in a foreign language briefly at the corner cafe.

With that said, this book took my respect for Lowachee’s works to a new level. Her ability to capture another culture and mindset and transport the reader into those hearts and minds is well demonstrated in this book. This book will be one of those that I return to again and again over the years, each time gaining some new insight from it. This book has the cultures of multiple tribes coming into play, three of which have spiritwalkers. Up until Jarrett shows his young spirit, his Dog, Sjenn does not believe he can be taught, as it is unheard of for a Kabliw to have a Dog. Jarrett’s father is unbending in his insistence that he be taught.

The book ends on an open note and I am very much hoping that Orbit (or another publisher) publish the rest of the series. I have a need for more Lowachee. Orbit, I’ll be sending you a memo. MORE LOWACHEE.

readandreviewbuttonWhat I Liked: The spiritwalker Dogs; Sjenn is strong without feeling a need to compete with the men; Jarrett is complex, angry, lost; after reading this, I felt like I had just spent a month in another culture.

What I Disliked: It did take me several chapters to get into it, but it was well worth the effort; PLEASE let there be more to the series.

This is part of the Read&Review Hop hosted by On Starships and Dragonwings. Make sure to check out the rest of the hop for more great reviews.

11 thoughts on “The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee”

  1. I hope for your sake that this is the start of a series. It’s so exciting to find a story that makes you want more. BTW, your cat’s face is so sincere.

  2. this sounds right up my alley. spiritwalkers, culture clashes, and the kind of writing where I feel like I am there!

    does the book end on a cliffhanger, or is it just open ended and could work as a stand alone?

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