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Dust City

Dust City - Robert Paul Weston The Good
The drugs. Like the pixie dust in Holly Black’s The Modern Faerie Tales and the porridge in Jasper Fforde’s The Fourth Bear, faerie dust is a drug. And not a nice, happy drug like pot either. Dust is basically crack. Because of its addictive nature but temporary effects, Dust is in high demand and used by almost all the sad, damaged citizens in Weston’s world. The most powerful part of the story is Chapter 23, “The Hands,” in which an elderly woman who has lost both her hands from the wrist down uses copious amounts of Dust on a daily basis just so she can have the use of magical, phantom fingers. I always like these dark twists on sweet children’s story themes, and Dust City was not an exception.
The mystery. Often when reading YA books which promise a mystery, the outcomes and villains are practically handed to you at the beginning of the story. This was not the case with Dust City. While I did suspect a happy ending, I had absolutely no idea what the solution to the problems presented in the first few chapters would be. At one point I thought I knew what was happening, but I was completely wrong. The ending was much darker than I anticipated, but in a good way. Love surprises!
Gram. The absolute best character throughout the entire book is the elven grandma, Gram. She has such a small role, but all the best lines. Weston, why was she not a bigger part of this? WHY?!?
The Bad
Detective White. Throughout the story, Weston attempts to add in faery tale elements and characters we are all familiar with. Snow White is one of these characters, incorporated in the form of a cold hearted detective. Unfortunately, this aspect of the book feels shallow and thrown together haphazardly. Detective White has no depth or interesting lines, and really every time she appeared I read as quickly as possible to get it over with and move on. This could have been a really interesting addition to the story, but Weston dropped the ball.
The Romance. The romance that develops for the main character felt forced. The interactions didn’t always make sense and were, like Detective White, shallow, a little cliche, and overall not very well done. The book would have been much better if this entire side story was eliminated and the characters remained good friends rather than romantically involved.
Favorite Quote
“Oh, my! What big teeth you have!” She giggles and kicks her slippered feet.
The old elf claps her tiny hands. “I always wanted to say that!”