The Compulsive Reader: The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

Emer Morrisey was a fierce pirate of the 17th century, feared by the Spanish ships she regularly plundered. But when she finally finds her true love, her life is cut short and she's cursed to live one hundred lifetimes as a dog. And so the centuries pass by, until she is born Saffron Adams, a human at last with all of her memories intact. She grows up incredibly smart, but always driven to take off the minute she turns eighteen and graduates so she can head to Jamaica and claim the loot she buried there before her death. But her family is maddeningly dependent on her, relying on Saffron's brains to lift them to a higher social and economic status. And when she does finally escape them, her memories and feelings blend with Emer's, and question is raised: is history fated to repeat itself?

The Dust of 100 Dogs is one of the most innovative and unexpected books in the YA genre. King realistically portrays the good and ugly sides of life for both Emer and Saffron, jumping back and forth between the two time periods. Emer's life was rough, and King doesn't withhold the gritty details of life for the Irish in the seventeenth century or the dangers a young woman alone in the world faced. Saffron's life isn't always pleasant either, despite living in the relative comfort of the twentieth century. Her family has high hopes for her and expects her to go to college, become a doctor, and support them financially. Saffron copes with her general frustration with life and people who irritate her by imagining torturing them in brutal ways. It's a bit of a morbid mannerism, but it is believable in her, and solidifies her character. The book is especially gripping towards the end as Saffron faces long-time enemies and grapples with her identity and her memories, and what they mean for her now, in the present. The ending, like the entire book, may be a tad bit unexpected, but it really is perfect. King is a talented, impeccable writer who manages to make the most unlikely of connections between her characters and reader—don't miss The Dust of 100 Dogs!

Cover Comments: Ah, this cover is so perfect! I love the color scheme, the title font, the skull, the girl...what's not to love?

Digital copy purchased--this one is cheap on Kindle!


Cade said...

I've been meaning to read this one since I read Please Ignore Vera Dietz a few months ago, but I can never find a copy when I go to the bookstore :'(

The Compulsive Reader said...

That's sad! You should ask them to order it! I know when I order something at my bookstore, they usually get in two or three copies because they assume other people want it. And they really might do that because of the award Please Ignore Vera Dietz won!

YA Bibliophile said...

I read this one when it first came out. It was just so different from everything else out there! Great review.