Sunday, October 7, 2018


ALL THE DOGS ARE DANCING is an absolute triumph in terms of world building.  The post-apocalyptic North America that Burner and Aaron traverse has texture, beauty, foreboding, strange perils, deep history, and layers that give it a strange plausibility despite being fill with roaming lions, bands of human cannibals, werewolf fight clubs, and terrifying deadwalkers.

Burner has a great deal of charm as a protagonist and the planned future alpha of his pack--which makes a peaceful subsistence living  migrating back and forth across the re-wilded countryside and staying away from the cities which are largely dystopian nightmares.

The plot, however… well.  It starts off as a risky rescue mission but quickly becomes a disorganized zigzag across the country punctuated by torture, explosions, more torture, and more explosions.  While Burner and Aaron instigate a few situations they spend the latter half of the story largely being rescued by more influential individuals.  The author makes use of some pretty huge coincidences, a couple of info-dumps, and the story eventually just peters out without anything in the way of an obvious conclusion.

This story is also very much a “with romantic elements” rather than a romance, but the charms of the main characters are undeniable and they do get a happily-ever-at-least-for-a-while. but it’s kind of a bittersweet one compared to the life Burner was living in chapter one. I found the entire book wildly original and entertaining but hope that in her future endeavors the author decides to focus more on blending these aspects with a plot that properly resolves by the end.

That said the vampires-by-another-name in the story are a truly novel take on the vampire idea in their origins, attributes, and philosophies. Goguen has mastered the art of not over-explaining how the supernatural-esque elements of the novel work, and they stand apart for the cliches that are now so common.  That alone makes me inclined to see what else this author may have written and look for opportunities to return to this dark world.

Review copy courtesy of Netgalley, 2/5

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