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.
(Summary from back of book)
I really don't know where to start with this one. It's a book unlike any I've ever read. It's strange, compelling, and confusing. And at times I wanted to throw it against the wall. I don't think it's a YA book. But it's not adult either. It's in its own class, I guess? I'm screwing myself up just trying to analyze it.
The Dust of 100 Dogs was like this enormous jigsaw puzzle. My strategy for solving puzzles is to find all the edge and corner pieces first and complete the entire outline first. Then you get the basic outline and layout and you can move on from there. Which totally applies to D100D. An enormous chunk of the book was just set-up.
Another interesting thing about the book was that it switched between three different narrators - Saffron, Emer, and Fred, which got sort of hectic. When I first started reading I was really mixed up about what was going on. Maybe I'm just dumb (actually, most probably I'm just dumb) but I couldn't figure out what was going on in the beginning. The prologue really threw me off and I didn't catch on that the story (at least Emer's) was going back in time for about 50 pages. Which I think is dumbness on my part. But still. The beginning would have been better if a little excitement or clarity was injected.
It all connected in my brain eventually though. And that's when it got good. The main story (leading up to the big climax which was actually partially told about in the prologue) is being told by Emer while at the same time Saffron is moving towards her own climax that has roots Saffron's story. It was all very cool. The puzzle outline that you got in the beginning began to make sense and everything began to fall into place.
My least favorite part of the book? Fred's poor dog. I flinched every time I read about that. I am a complete dog lover so reading about that tore my heart out. I almost considered skipping a few pages. It was just so vivid.
But THEN, you get the big twist at the end which I totally didn't see coming and the whole sad dog/perv guy stuff makes oh so much sense. I felt like slapping myself on the forehead. Because all the pieces were in plain sight, but I didn't make the connection until Saffron did. Which is a good thing because I guess it shows I was sucked in.
Towards the end when everything began spiralling in on itself I got completely caught up. And I think that that was because of the characters. Amy's character development was flawless. They all have their own little quirks and flaws and each has something different to add to the story. Emer especially stood out to me. She was the kind of character that you remember. For me, the mark of a bad book is too many characters with too few pages to tell their stories in but Amy packed it all in and packed it in well. I loved the characters.
I think the only part of this book that I'm able to complain about is the slow beginning and the dog beating. That's really it. Everything else is amazing.
But what's interesting about this book is that it's the kind of thing that you have to put aside and let marinate for a while. Directly after finishing, I wasn't as ecstatic as I am now. There's just so much going on, so much crowding your mind after you finish the book that it's almost impossible to form a coherent opinion.
So after a night of sleep and a few hours of thinking, it's safe to say that I loved this book. It was intelligent, clever, and compelling.
PS. Sorry that this is a totally craptastic review. But my mind's spinning around in circles right now and, honestly, I don't think that a review of a book like this is going to get any more coherent. Plus, I just wanted to get this up today. My apologies. :)