Sunday, August 23, 2009

Review by Alex- The Dust of 100 Dogs

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
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.

First off, this book is definitely different. It's unique. It's also strange, compelling, interesting, at times confusing, weird, and a ton of other adjectives. I don't think there's one word to describe this book.

The book is told in 3 different perspectives: Emer, the famed young pirate who's tough as nails but didn't start off that way; Saffron, the modern day girl who's a reincarnation of Emer and 100 dogs; and Fred Livingston, a man insane.

The whole deal and narration with Fred Livingston confused me at first. It's a little, "who is this guy and what the heck is he doing here?". But eventually you figure out he must be there for some reason, and just go along with it.

Emer's story is one of a poor, orphaned child who's abused. She finds love and solace in a boy, Seanie. But when she turns 14, her uncle sends her off to be married to some rich, fat man and so Emer runs away. She finds herself on a boat, and through time, becomes a captain of a boat, and through more time, becomes a pirate. Emer's timeline is confusing, especially because it's rotated with Saffron's narration, but usually there are little clues to the times.

Saffron has been birthed into a poor family. They're what you would call white trash. Saffron has retained memories of Emer and of the 100 dogs she's lived as, so of course she knows things. Her family recognizes her intelligence and therefore place her as their salvation- the one to have the brilliant future and make them lots and lots of money. Saffron doesn't like this. Eventually, she leaves on her own to Jamaica to try to find Emer's buried treasure.

There, Saffron meets Fred Livingston, who also narrates. He talks to himself, doesn't go out much, is filthy rich, and owns a huge mansion of which he spies on girls. He becomes a little obsessed with Saffron. He's... creepy and strange. And you find out more of him at the very end.

There are also fun dog facts interspersed throughout the novel.

I've never been much of a pirate person, so a lot of this stuff is new to me. But Emer's adventures are fun and I loved every minute reading them. Saffron, being reminiscent of Emer, feels the urge to mutilate people she dislikes in her mind, which is both hilarious and horrifying. I didn't really see the point of having the dogs thrown into the whole mix of reincarnation, besides there being facts and so Saffron could be more modern day.

And apparently, there's lots of metaphors. Anyone want to explain them to me? I couldn't really understand any of them. I read the interview at the back and it said there were a lot of big meaning metaphors. I must have missed them. :/ I think I need English class to help me.

Overall, The Dust of 100 Dogs is a really fun read. It's unusual and interesting with a big twist at the end that actually kind of scared me. Great writing, unique characters, wonderful setting. It goes from old day Ireland, to old day France, to modern Jamaica, to tons of other places I can't recall. The Dust of 100 Dogs is like a pirate adventure, a coming of age story, a travel book, and a doggie help book all rolled into one.


  1. I've heard of this one. It sounds intriguing!

  2. This looks really interesting. The cover is really cool!

  3. I doubt that I'll ever pick this up but your review was really interesting!


  4. Sounds interesting.

    I gave you two an award


  5. I read this book too and I guess I missed a lot of the metaphors as well. I felt the same way about the dog stuff and Fred's perspective.

  6. I have this one waiting on my shelf to be read. I know it's a rather "different" read so I'm waiting to get into that groove to open it. ;)

  7. That definitely sounds like a unique premise. May have to check it out.


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