Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Inspection: The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

Plot Sketch: Emer is a curious little girl in seventeenth century Ireland. Oliver Cromwell is threatening to invade, so she keeps watch from her tower. When he finally does invade, on her birthday, she runs to hide in a tunnel where she and her brother were to meet. She knows her whole family is dead from the fighting, and so she hides until her uncle comes to get her. She stays with her uncle and decides not to speak. She meets a boy who does not speak either, a boy named Seanie. The story is told in the 17th century where Emer becomes a pirate, is cursed to live 100 lives as a dog, and then is reborn a human in the 1970s where the story picks back up in the 1990s. Sound confusing? It is.

Verdict: No Love. I found the way this book was written to be completely annoying. It felt like I had to keep track of three different storylines and ages and times, but depicting the same character. I found the number of times the "f word" was used appalling for a YA book, and did not enjoy the part where it says that humans overcomplicate sexuality with a footnote showing how many animal species are natural homosexuals*. Be prepared for a rape scene too if you choose to read it, a rape scene wherein the main character decides that even though she's already killed one person to save her virginity, it's not worth defending anymore. I felt annoyed through the whole book and only kept reading to find out what happened to Seanie. Honestly, at page 300, I was like, "Oh, I'll just put this down and finish it another time." Then I realized that I only had 20-ish pages left and went ahead and finished. Usually if I like a book I can't wait to finish reading it. This does not come highly recommended from me.

The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
The Caribbean

What is the main character's name?
Emer Morrissey or Saffron Adams, you pick - same girl, sort of.

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
No. I actually think I loathe her.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
a few days. I was not motivated by the storyline.

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?
Repeatedly got stuck over a lack of caring about the characters

Is this a good read for Monster?
I wouldn't recommend it to him.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
There are so many levels of wrong... 1) Take out all of the swearing. 2) Make the parts of the book more contiguous - it seemed like there was no reason for there to even be "parts." 3) make Saffron and Emer more parallel characters 4) take out the passages about the dogs. 5) Write Emer's story seperate from Saffron's

What was I Heart Monster's favorite line?
I don't remember saying at any particular point, "Ha, I like that line."

How many chapters were in the book?
36, 8 of which were Dog Fact sections, seperated into Part I, Part II, and Part III, but I cannot tell you why they were seperated into parts. No me gusta.


Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Flux
Publish Date: January 13, 2009
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0738714267

Acquire It:


A.S. King has a pretty cool website.
Also check out

*I do not take issue with homosexuality, but I also do not think that humans overcomplicate their sexuality. I do not care what your sexual preference is. I won't judge you either way and view it as an irrelevant piece of demographic information - I will love you for you or hate you for you and your homo- or hetero- sexuality has nothing to do with it, promise! I only bring it up so that parents can be educated as to what is in this book, and point out that I do not agree with a point that is made in it.

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