Review: The Dust of 100 Dogs

May 3, 2011 at 11:12 pm (5 stars, review) (, , , , , , , , )

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

Pages: 320, paperback

ISBN: 9780738714264

Publisher: Flux

Date Released: February 1st, 2009

Genre: YA / fantasy / adventure / historical / pirates

Source: library

Premise:

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 intact.

Now she’s a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica. (Taken from Goodreads)

Buy it from: The Book Depository / Amazon

This is a book I truly loved. The writing was a masterpiece, and I was unable to put the book down. The words seemed to flow so well and since it was written in first person, it allowed a strong connection with the main character. The writing is often emotional and violent, but also beautiful and captivating.

The story itself was a gem. The basic plot consists of a poor Irish girl/pirate, who got cursed to live the lives of 100 dogs before turning back to a human. Did you read that? PIRATES. OH MY GOD. How can that not sound like a great read? Plus reincarnation? Wow, just wow.
The story switches between Emer/Saffron’s first life, her present life, her memories as dogs, and the point of view of a creepy, perverted bisexual man who constantly chastises himself for being interested in males.

This story encounters a lot of interesting themes. For example, sexuality. In one of Emer’s recounts as a dog, she told a story of a male dog who had sex with another male dog, and how this sort of stuff was normal for dogs. It didn’t matter about the sexuality, it just mattered about relieving the tension. She points out that if a creature as simple as the dog can be able to have sex with members of the same gender and be fine with it, then it would make sense for humans–who have proclaimed to be far above all other creatures–to embrace this sort of behavior. Fred Livingstone, he is bisexual, yet he feels ashamed about this, and this ties into the story of the gay dog.

What I hated was how rotten Emer (or rather, Saffrom) was towards her parents. She didn’t seem to realise that her parents–especially her mother–cared deeply for her and want the best for her. With her vast intellect, she could have done anything she wanted, an her parents were trying to help her embrace that. But there were so many instances where she thought these horribly malicious thought, like cutting her mother’s eyes out, or slicing her ear off for absolutely no reason. It just made me wonder if she learned nothing in her 100 lives as a dog. And it didn’t make her seem strong, just bitchy and ungrateful and unable to grow. It gave me very little reason to sympathize with her for the most part of the book.

He story as Emer was rather epic, how she survived an invasion on her hometown, while the rest were slaughtered like animals. She ended up trying to fend for her own while she reached the Caribbean, and from there, her journey to becoming this frightening pirate. It showed great character, and she built lots of relationships with the other characters. She really grew in those pages, in her first life.

This is a story that I really loved, and I recommend that everyone read it. It might not be suitable for the faint of heart: it rape scenes and animal cruelty, and some rather graphic imagery. So approach with caution.

Cover Art: 4
Plot: 4
Characters: 3
Writing: 5
Level of  5

Total Rating:  5/5

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4 Comments

  1. Merle said,

    I always took the thoughts of harming her mother/others to be more Emer’s immediate reaction than Saffron’s. I seem to remember it going away as Saffron grow more into herself and became a separate person from Emer. But that could have just been me.

    Fab review, loved this book as well. A.S. King’s other novel is incredible, too.

    • nlmars said,

      Yeah, but Emer = Saffron. Though, sometimes she does act like a separate person. Though, I don’t remember her actually becoming a separate person, but I read this book at the beginning of the year, and don’t remember all the minute details, apart from what I had written down.

      And I have A.S. King’s other novel on my TBR pile and I’m so excited to read it. I’ve heard nothing but awesomeness about it. 😀

  2. thereadingdate said,

    Wow this book sounds really different. I’m going to see if my library carries it because I’m curious to read this one. I liked Please Ignore Vera Dietz by this author – that one is a unique and thought provoking book as well.
    Thanks for the review!

    • nlmars said,

      I hope your library does carry it, and that you enjoy it!
      I have Please ignore Vera Dietz on my to-read pile. I should get around to reading it, especially considering how much I loved this book.

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