Tags: YA, pirates, adventure, Ireland, Jamaica
Rating: 3 out of 5
Emer Morrisey has not had an easy childhood. Growing up in poor rural Ireland during the Cromwell invasion, Emer loses her family at a young age and is forced to live with her cruel uncle’s family. Her only friend is Seanie, a neighborhood boy. When her uncle forces her to marry an old Parisian, Emer escapes to the Caribbean, where she eventually ends up a successful pirate.
A series of coincidences brings Emer and Seanie back together again. Just as they plan to retire from piracy and spend the rest of their lives together, a hated figure from Emer’s past tears their plans apart. Emer is cursed to live a hundred lives as a dog before finally becoming a human again.
Now, in the late twentieth century, Emer has been reborn as Saffron Adams, a girl from a run-down, messed-up family in Pennsylvania. And she’s really determined to get back to Jamaica and reclaim the treasure that only she knows is buried there…
THE DUST OF 100 DOGS has a frightfully original concept that takes a while to get into, but once you do, look out! You will get caught up in Saffron and Emer’s story. I particularly liked reading about Emer’s life, the chapters of which are interspersed in between Saffron’s story and that of Fred Livingstone, a slightly crazy rich pervert who lives in a glass mansion in Jamaica. Sound a little random? Well, yes, but his story is tied in with Saffron’s, and I found it remarkable how A. S. King paralleled Emer and Saffron’s adventures, 300 years apart.
While the idea was great, I couldn’t really get into the way it was executed. Saffron fell flat for me, although this is sadly understandable, since she is more a vessel for Emer’s desires. Saffron’s family was depressingly run-down, flat, and unsympathetic, and the episodes that occurred during Emer’s childhood felt too prolonged for me. Issues such as homosexual urges and rape were brought up in an uncomfortable and incomplete manner that begged explanation…which we don’t get.
I’m ambivalent as to how I feel about THE DUST OF 100 DOGS, but nevertheless it is still a highly original and adventurous book that many will enjoy.
Lisa McMann (Wake)
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5
Cover discussion: 5 out of 5 - ...but can we just say that I LOVE this cover?? Who knew how much three primary colors could express? The simple almost-symbolism of it marks this as one of my favorite covers ever.