Saturday, February 7, 2009

Book Review: DUST OF 100 DOGS

Poised at the Edge Book Review
A.S. King

The story begins with Emer Morrisey a swash-buckling; take no prisoners, pirate, dying on a Caribbean, with the love of her life only a few feet away. Before she breathes her last breath a mysterious pirate blows a dusty powder all over her, cursing her to the life of one hundred dogs. So she does. Over three hundred and sixty five years she lives the lives of a hundred dogs. With each of her lives she acquires all sorts of knowledge and memories. Including the memories of her pirate life, including the hidden treasure, which lies buried near where she and her beloved died.
Now, done with her lives as many dogs, Emer is reborn as a modern girl named Saffron Adams. Saffron, who is considered a genius, because all of her past life knowledge, has only one thing on her mind She wants to escape the confines of her uneducated demanding parents, and go find the treasure she buried on that Caribbean beach all those years ago. Her parents are very greedy about Saffron’s perceived genius. They want her to go medical school and support them forever.
Emer, with her bold fury, lives inside of Saffron, pushing her toward independence and escape. DUST OF 100 DOGS is a fascinating, highly original action novel that weaves brilliantly written historical passages with more standard modern teen ones. Written non-linearly we see Emer as an innocent child living Ireland during the merciless attacks of Oliver Cromwell. She sees her parents and brother murdered before being taken away by her sadistic uncle, who also hid during the attack. She so miserable living with her uncle’s family that she forgoes speaking for several years. Right after she meets her true love her uncle sells her to wealthy old man in Paris. Thus begins the hardships that end with Emer’s eventual transformation to pirate.
This adventure story is both engrossing and totally unpredictable. While the structure is fairly experimental, it totally works. A.S. King’s stunning debut is part history lesson, part dog training manual, part modern coming of age story. It dazzles with its risky originality and its shameless girl-power. Emer/Saffron is powerful, intelligent, willful protagonist that the sisterhood just has to love!

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