Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
Published: September 30th 2010
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 304
Series: N/A

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? His son, that's who. Ever since his fathers arrest for the murder of Little Red Riding Hood, teen wolf Henry Whelp has kept a low profile in a Home for Wayward Wolves . . . until a murder at the Home leads Henry to believe his father may have been framed. Now, with the help of his kleptomaniac roommate, Jack, and a daring she-wolf named Fiona, Henry will have to venture deep into the heart of Dust City: a rundown, gritty metropolis where fairy dust is craved by everyone and controlled by a dangerous mob of Water Nixies and their crime boss leader, Skinner. Can Henry solve the mystery of his family's sinister past? Or, like his father before him, is he destined for life as a big bad wolf?

Dust City was not my favorite fairy tale retelling, not by a long shot. I’d much rather had reread any of Alex Flinn’s books.  But, the book wasn’t horrible. It was simply okay.  There were a few scenes and chapters that I really enjoyed but they weren’t enough for me to really like this book.

In the world of Dust City, fairydust is a drug.  It can do anything, from a concussion to raising the dead.  Everyone uses it and it’s very addicting.  But the fairies aren’t the ones with the dust.  The fairies disappeared when Henry was a pup and now a corporation called Nimbus is distributing the dust.  Henry breaks out of his wayward house to try to find out why the fairies left, if his dad is innocent and where Nimbus gets their dust.  He meets a whole cast of characters, many of them with their own traditional fairy tale background. For example, Jack;  Jack and the Bean stock; Detective White, Snow White; Skinner, Midas; Cindy Bella, Cinderella; among others.

One of the major problems for me was picturing the animalia.  In Dust City, many species of animals have evolved to stand up right, were clothes and talk.  Also, these animals are the size of humans. That means there are wolves, frogs, ravens, and foxes walking around as big as you and me.  This was incredibly hard to picture.  I pictured Henry and Fiona as humans all of the time.

On the character side of things, I thought the main characters could have been better.  They were a little flat.  I like the side characters much more, even the ones who are supposed to be Henry’s nemesis.  My favorite characters where Detective White and Tom.

What I can say positively is that I never guessed the twists.  They always surprised me. Also I LOVED the setting.  A city hooked on dust, it’s like a city hooked on drugs and what can be more interesting? I especially liked the gritty scenes when Henry was delivering dust to addicts.  I thought that seeing how hooked the city was on dust brought the story to a deeper level. However, I felt these parts should have been part of a different book.  One that delved deeper into the city’s connection to dust, because while Dust City did have these scenes they were never mentioned again and they would have been and should have been dramatizing to Henry.

If you have nothing better to read, and you find Dust City on your library shelf, I would say give it a try.  While very cheesy throughout most of the book, there are scenes that will make you think and wonder if our society is following the same path.  Also Dust City is full of non-stop action with a little wolfy romance slipped it.

This book is part of my Off-The-Shelf book challenge.

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