Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A. S. King/THE DUST OF 100 DOGS

Arrr! It's a pirate book!

Just before Emer, a teenage pirate, falls dead next to her murdered lover, she is cursed to live 100 lives as a dog.

After her doggy penance, Emer is reincarnated as a girl named Saffron in the 1970's. Saffron bides her time until her 18th birthday, imagining painful pirate-worthy deaths for those who annoy her, and then takes off in search of the treasure Emer buried centuries earlier.

I love the freshness of this book, and the spunk of its main character, Emer/Saffron. The prose is clean and easy to gobble down. The story alternates between how Emer grows up to be a pirate and how Saffron grows up to be a treasure-hunter, and both storylines are absorbing.

The other thing I love about this book is how the characters in Emer's storyline mirror the characters in Saffron's. Both girls face similar villains and so come to similar face-offs.

I'll admit I was hoping for a bit more bang at the book's end, but that doesn't deter me from recommending this to anyone who doesn't mind a little pirate-style gore and violence.

5 comments:

moonrat said...

wow. what a positively wacky premise.

Jolie said...

BAH! Cheryl, you beat me to it! I was going to review this one. I just finished reading it a couple of weeks ago and was fascinated from beginning to end.

Moonie, it IS a wacky premise, and the narrative structure is more complex than I expected to find in a supposedly YA novel. (Then again, I'm not terribly well-read in YA.)

I too found the ending to be much quieter than I had expected, which is pretty much how Saffron feels about the whole affair, too. It's satisfying in its way, though.

Cheryl said...

Jolie, you should still post your review so we can get your take on it.

I feel like this book doesn't sit squarely in the YA genre. Even the author admits that she didn't see it as YA at first (in the interview in the back of the paperback). It works well on either side of the age divide.

Jolie said...

Yes, I will probably still post a review with a different focus.

I read that interview, too, and saw how the author didn't think of it as YA at first but later realized the label fits the book perfectly.

And I thought, whatever. I'm not sure there's any such thing as YA literature. There's YA marketing, but I'm skeptical of the label in any other context.

A.S. King said...

"And I thought, whatever. I'm not sure there's any such thing as YA literature. There's YA marketing, but I'm skeptical of the label in any other context."

Exactly. I totally agree. :)