I received an Advance Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All or part of this review may be used elsewhere without my express permission so long as “Writer’s Block Party” or “Lisa Taylor” is given credit with a link back to this post.
Back Cover Blurb:
This new trilogy will capture the hearts of readers who adore Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series. Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone, when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in “the golden hills of the west” (California). Along the way she meets Jack a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company—there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.
Well, it’s nine o’clock PM, and I had a whole list of things to do today. But I woke up a bit earlier than I planned, so I thought, “hey, let’s read a few chapters of my next review book.” Let’s just say not much of that list got accomplished. I read Dust Girl from beginning to end.
What captivated me from the beginning wasn’t necessarily the action. There was a good bit of background information at the beginning. It didn’t jump straight into chase scenes or baffling puzzles. But with writing this good, it didn’t matter. The descriptions used were fresh, unique and totally interesting. The obviously detailed research that went into this book is impressive. I have never read a book set during the Dust Bowl years of the Midwest, and I have to say that Sarah Zettel did an excellent job. While the setting was not always colorful and beautiful, it was new and fascinating and surprisingly edgy.
I’ll admit, the story was a bit strange. It was an odd mix of fantasy, historical fiction, and at times even some type of weird, pulp fiction horror. I never knew what was going to happen next. I do think sometimes the mystery was taken too far…there were a couple things that happened which I don’t fully understand. BUT this is the first of a trilogy, and so I’m hoping those things will be elaborated on as we go through the series. I was really drawn into the book by the strange and interesting plot, but I can see how, for people who prefer more traditional stories, it may be a bit jarring.
Callie was a great character. A little tentative at first, it didn’t take much for her to grow into a strong and decisive personality. My favorite character, though, was Jack, the boy she breaks out of jail during a dust storm when being locked in the cell almost kills him. They make a good duo…she HAS the magical power, but doesn’t know how to use it and doesn’t want to accept it. He has no power (that we know of), but he knows all the fae legends and rules of faery world, and so they are both able to help each other through the story. Not to mention he’s adorable. He screws up sometimes, but he has the perfect amount of confidence without taking issue to Callie being in charge. Another nice touch was their ever-present, if background, knowledge that they’ll both be discriminated against for their heritage–she being half black and he being a Jew.
So really really interesting book. I’ll admit that much of what held me glued to this book was the fascinating new setting and the exceptional writing. In the sequel it will have to go a step beyond that and find even more “newness” to keep readers just as fascinated. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.