But there are also some negatives that I want to address The story consists of several distinctive threads Emer s pirate journey, Saffron s treasure hunt, Emer s dog lives While all these threads are interesting independently, they never completely come together in my opinion and therefore make this book quite a bizarre mix of not fully connected ideas For instance, the 100 dogs aspect of the book can be taken out of the story altogether Simply because Emer s experiences as dogs never come into play and feel like an afterthought We spend a lot of time in the sick mind of Frenchman reincarnate Fred Livingston But does this knowledge of his twisted thoughts add anything to the story I don t think so.
In my opinion, The Dust of 100 Dogs could have been a truly great story if it were a little bit focused However this book caught my attention enough to wish to check out what A.
S King writes next.
originally posted at Small ReviewThis is not the book I signed up forI was expecting a high seas adventure with pirates, epic love, reincarnation, a unique curse, and exciting treasure hunts Instead I got a fractured story that never went anywhere and had gratuitous rape, sex, animal abuse, and violence Based on the description, I really wanted to read this book I still do Unfortunately, that isn t the book A S King wrote.
The plot that went nowhereI felt like an abused donkey with a carrot hung in front of my face and, like the donkey, I never got that carrot I slogged through boring and hugely depressing scenes as first Emer and then Saffron who is Emer reincarnated, sort of recount their tortured existences Emer starved in Ireland during the 1600s and Saffron lived through the 1970s 90s with her alcoholic, trashy, do nothing parents and drug addicted brother I read through chapters and chapters of this and, looking back, they served very little purpose Saffron s scenes were especially superfluous, providing neither character growth nor plot advancement To say the conclusion of her storyline and the book was anticlimactic is an understatement.
Emer s story was at least somewhat satisfying Like the blurb, I thought it was a great idea There was epic love, unrequited love, pirating, battles, and treasure Except, this was told than shown, and the telling was far too brief More time is spent in dreary, depressing Ireland with a young and starving Emer than on the high seas treasure seeking I didn t care so much for Emer as I did for the idea of a woman in her position She was like a legend than an actual character Her romance was equally hollow with her barely there and almost entirely unknown love interest like a Disney prince back in the day, Seanie spoke about five lines.
The curse was something I was very much looking forward to exploring, but it too failed to deliver I wanted to know about the curse, but at the very least I wanted to see how her time spent as 100 dogs affected her character The answer, apparently, is that it didn t affect her Saffron shows absolutely no growth or, really, any effects of having once been a dog How do you go 300 years and over 100 lifetimes without ever growing as a character The point of these lifetimes seemed to serve only to allow Saffron to be reincarnated 300 years later, which could have been accomplished without the unexplored curse I was disappointed.
Poor characterizationAll of the characters fell flat for me and felt like caricatures The bad characters lacked any depth or nuance and are instead simply straight up vile people really, if you want to make me hate your character, by all means make him a perverted, rapist, animal abuser I ll hate him for sure, but I also might hate you a little for introducing me to him.
The good characters were almost as annoying, with few redeeming qualities themselves None of the characters grew or changed throughout the book at all This made their experiences seem pointless to read about.
Except, Emer and Saffron were not the same person at all I m unclear as to how the reincarnation worked exactly Saffron was Emer, but she also wasn t She shared Emer s memories and knowledge, but she did and thought things Emer wouldn t have, to her detriment Is this poor and inconsistent characterization Is this a convoluted plot point I don t know, but that alone isn t a good sign.
Shock and aweAs stated above, there are copious amounts of gratuitous violence, abuse, rape, and sex both hetero and homosexual This is a YA book, but in name only Abuse against dogs is written about repeatedly, and with little to no relevance to the plot I have never read animal abuse that even comes close to this in both frequency and detail.
Emer is raped, and the act is described in detail Again, this has only the barest relevance to the plot, and the graphic nature of the act is unnecessary to get the point across She also crudely refers to sex in an off hand manner that also serves no purpose None of these acts help build character development, with the sex mentions coming across as especially irrelevant and shocking for the sake of being edgy.
There are a few attempts at making a point, but each time the message comes across like an afterthought or a throwaway concession to try to half heartedly justify the violent scenes It is one thing to show scenes like this if there is a purpose, but there wasn t any here It was just rambling violence that continually digressed from the barebones story.
Bottom lineI wish I had never read this book and it was only the hope of Emer s story improving that kept me reading until the end I feel deceived by the false advertising and disappointed that I never got to read the book I was hoping this would be In my library I do still recommend books I didn t like to my patrons because their tastes may be different, but I can t comfortably recommend this book to a YA patron Their parents would kill me.
originally posted at Small Review Let me just say that I love the idea of this book A girl who has suffered poverty, famine, loss, and abuse in 17th century Ireland winds up finding herself in the role of scourge of the seven seas and just when she thinks that she has it all made, she ends up dead and cursed to live out one hundred lifetimes as a dog Sounds like a really terrific and original idea, right Well, it is It s just not executed very well This story feels rushed, bland, and forgettable So I say five stars for the amazing idea, but two stars for the carrying out of that idea I still think that A.
S King is a tremendously talented writer, and this book is by no means excruciatingly bad But I would probably read Please Ignore Vera Dietz before this one, just so you know how good she can be.
We catch up with this feisty girl in the 1980 s, where she s a now a teenager named Saffron, born into a lower middle class family in the U.
S Some of the most entertaining and enjoyable parts of this book are found in the opening scenes, where Saffron is a wee mite of a preschooler with all the memories and experiences of a bloodthirsty pirate tucked away in her head With all of the knowledge of a ruthless adult, plus one hundred canines, Saffron excels at school Her parents greatest wish is that she will go to college and raise the status and wealth of her family, but she has no desire to follow that path She remembers one night a few centuries ago when she lost the love of her life, and left behind a hoard of treasures Now she s determined to go back and reclaim what she lost.
At just over two hundred pages, I think that this book is too short I needed time to know these characters and fill in all of the gaps in this story Some elements I feel could have been trimmed to make way for explanation and character building For example, Saffron s very inconsequential and brief relationship with a neighborhood boy who turns out to be a jerk Why not cut that and include something about Emer s lost love I also didn t really feel like the one hundred dog lifetimes element was developed or linked to the story enough The little doggie care tips do not feel connected to the story in any clear way although I can see how a few of them are vaguely connected , and mainly just seem unnecessary I love the whole idea, but I would have liked to see Saffron learn, grow, and mature from those one hundred canine lives It really didn t seem like she did.
Many of the important story driving scenes seem shoved in, and even nonsensical For example, when Emer is revealed as a woman among a wounded group of sailors recovering from a battle with pirates, the Captain, unsure of what to do with her can t strand her, can t keep her aboard , decides to give her an entire ship and some of his few remaining crewmen and set her up as the Captain with no strings attached.
Seriously Or when Emer decides to volunteer to go to Tortuga as a sort of mail order bride, but then is completely aghast to discover that the men there want to sleep with her What did you think was going to happen Perfect Musical PairingThe Black Eyed Peas I Gotta FeelingThis book is a bit like a pop song It s catchy and flashy and so much fun on the front end But then you get it stuck in your head and go on a listening marathon, about halfway through which you realize that this song is actually not fun or exciting It s extremely repetitive and the lyrics are complete shit.
The Dust of Dogs could have been a much better book Should have been, but the gimmicks probably do the trick to sell it, so why would anyone care about doing something Sigh That s not a resigned sigh I still expect waaay It s not the worst book ever, it s readable and reasonably entertaining, but my mind wouldn t shut off while reading it.
If I were A.
S King s editor or best buddy proof reader and doesn t get dog poop flung at her for voicing her honest opinions The selling talking points are the teenaged girl pirate story, reincarnation as a dog, Ireland, evil nuns erm that s probably only me , her last name is MORRISEY um, me again , Oliver Cromwell my freakish twin aha , the 1970s, and so on I didn t misread the 1970s part I keep reading reviews that say contemporary and I didn t think that teens today would consider the 1970s contemporary Myself, now thirty one years old, was only born at the tail end of the tail end of the decade It seemed like oooh faraway to me when I was a teenager All stuff that doesn t fit in well together because of the way that it is written Saffron s inner pirate voice comes and goes like a bad accent Emer is BEAUTIFUL ugh, not that again in that meaningless way that some authors like to trot out There s some fairy tale hero stuff thrown in as REASONS and FATE that doesn t work well because of the way it is thrown in myths have their own logic You can t lean on them, you gotta build em yourself I knew I was in trouble almost from the get go, actually, because of the way that first person Saffron voice throws out the information in the Kevin Arnold Wonder Years voiceover IMPORTANT deliverance Don t tell me why it is important, or that it will be important and then it isn t important Just have a real voice that doesn t come and go for gimmickys sake, for christ s sake Ugh Emer Morrissey turns pirate when she s not allowed to be with her boyfriend Okay, there s a threatened marriage to an odious Frenchman, too, to sweeten the loot chest Lots of other dudes want her cause she s soooo beautiful and she kills one of them this is brushed over So she s cursed by a guy who loved that guy to live for three hundred years as a dog This part is skipped over again and then revisited as tips for training a puppy I m currently so called training my chihuahua feist mutt Seamus The judgemental tone of her tips hurt my feelings sniff sniff It d have been interesting to investigate what impact this pretty enormous chunk of her life time had on her other than random dog tips It s like the pirate y thoughts that come and go It s pretty much just there for added in flavor Like if your friends started talking like a pirate during Talk like a Pirate day It d be as believablely pirateish as that would be Then there is the living with the new human family again as a girl Wouldn t this have had SOME change on her Real change, I mean, not residuals like dandruff or mange or scurvy Where is the inner turmoil of being Emer, and Saffron and the dogs Each 100 of them Dogs are not all alike Are there new souls What about just experiences Memories aren t everything, and the rest of the lives are not waiting room times She makes decisions, so it cannot be waiting room And teenage love doesn t last forever, either, especially a love that didn t get the chance to really go anywhere I guess that is why this is a ya book nothing against ya There are some ya love stories that are not brick wall like this , just the gimmicky marketing laziness again Shouldn t she have missed a really hot yorkie or shetland sheep dog And I m the best puppy trainer in the whole wide world.
Cross posted from my blog E M ReadsWow, this is soooo good 5 really big stars I can t even begin to describe all the facets of Dust It has 3 maybe 4 different plot lines that converge beautifully It s action packed and totally captivating The book literally held my brain hostage for two days When I wasn t reading it I was thinking about reading it not a necessarily a good thing when you re working your 8 to 5 Doing a typical synopsis would take hours and I just don t have the time to do it this second cause I m supposed to be working a conference in San Francisco don t tell my boss , but I do want to encourage everyone to buy and read Dust of 100 Dogs ASAP Savvy Dust is a story of growth, survival, love and importantly piracy Arrgggh P.
S If you disturbed by animal cruelty skip pages 232 233 Just read 234 and you ll get enough of the point P.
S I m slightly disappointed that this is not set up for a series A S King please write books preferably about Saffron and Emer.
There are a lot of things I could say about the writing and the structure of the book, and the alternating viewpoints, and the interestingness of it all, but what I really want to talk about is this I m kind of amazed at how dark this book is I mean, don t get me wrong, I sort of loved it, but my godthis is a dark book That description up there makes it sound sort of campy and quirky a fun pirate romp Not so much Emer was a pirate in the full sense of the word she stole and swahsbuckled with the best of them, sure, but importantly, she was bloodthirsty and had nothing to lose until suddenly, she had everything to lose In the course of her brief time as a pirate, she kills countless men and meditates on her piratical trademark should she carve her name into her victims backs Been done Maybe amputate limbs or keelhaul them Gets old Nope, Emer is an eye gouger In fact, the book opens with it.
What I m saying is, she s dark.
So when she s cursed to live 100 lives as a dog many of them brief and brutal , and is then reborn in the form of Saffron Adams, the darkness doesn t just go away Though she never acts on her darker desires, she routinely pictures herself scalping, skewering and otherwise inconveniencing people who make life difficult for her It s funny, but it s also scary, and above all, it s true to her character She s had 300 years to learn and grow and let go of some grudges, maybe but she s also had 300 years to stew and fixate, and you can t let something like that go Not to mention that being a teen in the 80s 90s and having your parents breathing down your neck about college, when in your heart you know you re a mothereffing pirate well, that would do things to a person There have to be times she questions her sanity, and there have to be times that she wants to be able to exercise the, um, freedom of a pirate in dealing with her enemies King realizes this and stays true to who Emer was, while allowing Saffron and 100 dogs to bring new own experiences to the mix And bloodthirsty pirate that she is, you kind of can t help but love her.
But the darkness doesn t just lie within Emer Saffron There is a pervasive dark streak throughout nearly ever aspect of the book, and no act of human cruelty is shied away from The things that are done to Emer, the things that she does to other people, the things that other people do to other people, and say and think and want they re often than not harsh and raw and selfish, and unflinching in it King doesn t tiptoe around the negatives and the brutal realities of piracy, history and human nature in general, and the steady stream of yes, dark humor throughout the book just plays counterpoint to all the really messed up things that are going on.
I d say it s a tale of obsession than anything, but for all that, it is equally a story about love Told through alternating timelines and viewpoints, as the reader you re stuck watching as things move inexorably towards each other, heading for a crash, and when you think it couldn t possibly end well for anyone involved, it somehow manages to be redemptive It s full of contradictions, a simple tale full of complexities, and as hard as it is to read, it s harder yet to put down By no means is it a story for everyone, and many many people will be turned off by the casual violence and general bleakness But the rest of us will fall in love with Emer Saffron, and cringe along through the good and the bad, right until the end.
Emer Morrisey, named after a female hero from an Irish tale, has almost lived up to her namesake But history and circumstance has separated her from her one true love and eventually forced her into a life of piracy Years later, this young and independent woman is ready to renounce her pirating ways, keeping only a small portion of her stolen riches, to be with her long lost love Tragically, they are bother killed, and Emer is cursed with the dust of one hundred dogs, forcing her to endure one hundred lifetimes as a canine Three hundred years later, she s an American teenager named Saffron Adams, and she remembers everything Now all she needs is a shovel and a way to Jamaica.
In all honesty, The Dust of 100 Dogs can be summed up on one word spectacular I am not kidding when I say this novel blew my mind There are several other tales of female pirates, such as To Catch a Pirate, but The Dust of 100 Dogs outshines them by far, and for several reasons The plot is a unique and compelling fusion of seventeenth century swashbuckling danger and romance, contemporary teen issues, and dog humor All parts were written exceptionally well, and it s difficult to say which I preferred because they were all so interesting Emer Saffron was such an original character in all her lives, no matter how young, she always seemed so determined and mature I really liked how she could keep her head amidst all the circumstances she encountered I also enjoyed trying to equate the characters from the contemporary portion of this story with their seventeenth century counterparts, if any King s writing is so powerful that at times, I felt I was in the story alongside Emer or Saffron she succeeded in creating a romantic and unforgettable tale of everlasting love with magic and mystery The Dust of 100 Dogs is sure to be a favorite as soon as it hits shelves among all readers, because this is a story that spans age and time.
I don t think it would be fair to compare The Dust of 100 Dogs to books like To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker and Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn, even though it was a sort of combination of those two, because this story is nearly infinitely better The Dust of 100 Dogs has earned a high spot on my favorites list and King is an author to watch.
reposted from It s still months away from release date, but I was lucky enough to read an early copy of this book I completely fell in love with it and agreed to blurb it The Dust of 100 Dogs is a non traditional pirate tale with a dangerously raw, mystical edge and a unique modern twist that will make you cringe, despair, despise and adore Deliciously fresh and starkly unforgettablefor at least the next three hundred years Lisa McMann, NYT bestselling author of WAKEWatch for this book around the end of January It s available for pre order now through your local independent bookstore indiebound.
org, or , etc I ordered five copies to give away to my local libraries I want to make sure this book is available to my homies.
The novel begins with the birth of Saffron Adams, the human reincarnation of Emer after she has endured several canine lifetimes Saffron is her own person, yet still has all of Emer s memories and knowledge As Saffron searches for the treasure Emer was able to bury before her death, the novel deftly switches from past to present as we learn of Emer s past and Saffron s future If all of this sounds bizarre and confusing, well, it is, but in a good way The novel maintains suspense and draws all of the storylines together to a satisfactory conclusion The one expectation that wasn t met for me is that we learn very little about Emer s dog lives instead, the chapters are interspersed with short vignettes about what Emer the dog learned about human nature from various owners in various time periods This is probably a smart move on the part of King as reading about the lives of 100 dogs, while intriguing, could become pretty tedious somewhere around the third Milkbone treat given, leg humped, or fire hydrant peed upon.
In reading other reviews, many readers were shocked by the brutality and the sexuality in the book which I actually found to be pretty tame Um, yeah, I think that it could be because it s a FREAKIN PIRATE book and not a Disney theme park ride Others seemed to be shocked to find such content in a young adult book, but I have no such worries I m sure teenagers have already figured out the sex thing, yeah And they ve probably done it from unsupervised watching of cable television and unmonitored Internet usage their parents make accessible And it s a hell of a lot better than reading three books of Bella lusting after sparkling Edward s cold, hard well, you know removes self from soapbox and drags it back to the corner So, yes, good book, definitely enjoyed it, and suffered no negative side effects other than a desire to walk around saying, Arrrggghhh, me matey to everyone I met for a week.
Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder and at Shelf Inflicted In The Late Seventeenth Century, Famed Teenage Pirate Emer Morrisey Was On The Cusp Of Escaping The Pirate Life With Her One True Love And Unfathomable Riches When She Was Slain And Cursed With The Dust Of One Hundred Dogs, Dooming Her To One Hundred Lives As A Dog Before Returning To A Human Body With Her Memories IntactNow She S A Contemporary American Teenager And All She Needs Is A Shovel And A Ride To Jamaica