Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Dust of 100 Dogs

The Dust of 100 Dogs is a fantasy book about one young Irish girl, but from a few different points of view. It's almost like three stories in one book, yet they're all about the same person. Emer was a young woman who ended up to be a pirate. She runs into some bad luck and is murdered, but cursed before she is murdered to live for 100 lives as a little bitch. Well, the curse works - she is reincarnated 100 times with her full memory into different dogs. She is then reincarnated into Saffron, a baby born into a large IrishAmerican family in the United States. Throughout the book, we get glimpses of Emer's story along with "dog tips", which gives us a view of some of her lives as dogs, as well as her contemporary life as Saffron.

Saffron lives with a frustrating family. She kind of loves them, yet at the same time she is completely disgusted with them and their weaknesses. She has all of Emer's memories and all of the 100 dog life memories that color her world view.

One of the things I enjoyed (in a twisted way) was how Saffron managed to completely control her feelings and hide her frustration and anger at her family while at the same time picturing abusing them in creative piratical ways. This happens throughout the book.

Although this is young adult, I think it's better for older teens and young twenty-ish people. There are some violent themes in this book, although at first it seems mild. The violence and twisted behaviour of characters gets continuously more violent and perverse as the stories progress. There is a rape scene, although it is not graphic, and doesn't go on and on. There are scenes where Cromwell's army invades Ireland's villages and they are graphic and could be disturbing to some. They were sad, there's murder or women and children as well as the fighting of the men. This kind of stuff really happened - the author definitely does not shy away from mentioning, but she doesn't exaggerate anything, doesn't go to extremes describing. There are some swear words, but none that I haven't heard come out of many teen's mouths, so I don't think there will be much to be shocked about.

Emer suffers a lot of losses throughout her life, and uses her piracy to vent her rage. She comes out strong, if hardened. Saffron, because of her lives as a dog, has learned a little compassion, but she is in for some surprises. She tries to go recover some buried treasure that she left behind when she died as Emer. Things don't go quite as planned.

This is not your basic young adult feel-good book, although I enjoyed reading it very much. Horrific things go on in Emer's life, in some of the dogs' lives and Saffron herself has to endure some family angst, but by the end of the book I was left feeling that things might work out for Saffron/Emer. The writing in the book was great, I liked A.S. King's way of telling this story. The dialogue between characters was also good. I especially loved the dialogue between one character and ...well... himself. He argued with himself, quite a bit. Gave himself quite a hard time. Kind of drove himself crazy.

I recommend this book, but be prepared to read about some horrific things that happen such as Cromwells methods of invading, the lives of a few of the dogs, some of the things that Emer does.

Reading Challenges :

Young Adult Reading Challenge
Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge


  1. Wow, this book sounds really... odd. I think the premise is very interesting, and it's great the author was able to make you BELIEVE that Emer/Saffron was really a dog. It sounds like a very original story!

  2. Yikes - this is young adult?! I looove the cover though.

  3. Sounds like a very interesting book-probably one I'll have to look for. LOL! I enjoy the unusual ones. Thanks for the review!