Review: Dust by Devon Ashley
Author: Devon Ashley
Series: Of Dust and Darkness # 1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Coming Soon
I’ve received a copy of this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb from Goodreads
4. The number of times my delicate wings have been broken and clamped behind my back.
68. The number inked upon my skin, marking me the sixty-eighth pixie to be stolen.
87. The number of days I’ve been wrongfully imprisoned.
88. The first day the faeries will regret stealing me.
Healthy. Cheery. Vivacious. All traits Rosalie has before becoming enslaved by the faeries to make an endless supply of pixie dust. Now that Rosalie has been traumatized by slave labor, extreme desolate conditions and multiple deaths, this hardened pixie is anything but. When this rebellious teenager attempts an escape, she’s isolated in cramped quarters until she learns her place. Just as she begins to let go of all that hope, she finds an unlikely friend in Jack, the faerie assigned to guard her. Interspecies dating is forbidden in the fae world, so their growing attraction is unacceptable. And even if Jack can find a way to free her, they know the prison is the only place they can truly be together
A good blurb is captivating but sometimes can give a wrong impression. The blurb of Dust pulls the reader in two different directions. The escalating numbers make it seem like the book is ready for a dark showdown of revenge. It makes the book seem dark and gritty and I was sort of expecting the book to maintain that dark tone…but it doesn’t. It doesn’t because the second half of the book is a love story just like the blurb mentions. The blurb is very true to the book. It’s dark and a love story. I was still expecting more dark themes because of the numbers though. It’s the word “Regret” that is drilled into me.
Character-wise, Rosalie was a fantastic main character. She is independent, a nature-loving girl, strong-willed and defiant. She doesn’t accept the circumstance of her kidnapping and attempts to be brave in the face of that. Rosalie does have moments of weakness but that just make her character more realistic and stronger because she is dealing with harsh situations. Juniper, the eldest of the slaves, roots Rosalie in maintaining her strength and her desire to live. Jack, her captive guardian, is a strong male lead. He comes off a bit snobbish but he has a decent heart and no stomach for torture. The relationship that builds between them builds over time and seems genuine. He treats her with respect after witnessing the breaking wings incident and shows he is a decent guy. Not just by taking care of her but looking for a legal way out for her. None of the villains are complex but the reason why could be that all the bad guys appear to be henchmen. No one has really claimed responsibility for the slave camp. Looking forward to seeing who is the antagonist of the series.
Being the first book in the series, there are questions that need to be answer such as what is the real reason faeries are kidnapping pixies and making them slaves? Jack says there is a belief about the superiority of fairies over pixies and that could be a factor as to why this is happening. The book focuses more on character development more than the background of the story so that could be a reason why the kidnapping are not explained or why the segregation of pixies and faeries is not either. It looks like there is some politics involve in the kidnappings but we will see just how deep they go. Hopefully the previous questions are answered in the second book and this one as well: Why did Rosalie’s Hollow (village) raised children as a communal effort instead of family effort? The other Hollows don’t raised their children like that.
I keep coming back to “88. The first day the faeries will regret kidnapping me.” I thought this phrase would define the book because it is just filled with anger and determination. It means there is punishment heading towards the faeries and there isn’t. Not in this novel at least. The illusion of a counter-attack is invested in that phrase and the dark themes as well. I’m almost wishing that phrase would disappear from the blurb because it makes the blurb (and the book) appears less menacing. Dust is more about the injustice done to Rosalie which is the 87 days phrase. 87 days and the love story make the book more tragic but hopeful. 88 days is revenge time. Amazing how one phrase can elicit a different tone for the entire book. Try it.
Having heard the playlist first, I found running themes that match the scenes in the book and the lyrics. “Missing” by Evanescence fits it so well, especially the part about Rosalie wondering if anyone is looking her (and in some way knowing that the answer is no). “Part of Me” by Katy Perry is another perfect fit for Rosalie because she is so resilient and so determine to survive. “We Found Love” by Rihanna and “Falls to Pieces” by Avril Lavigne are great songs that describe the blossoming romance between Rosalie and Jack.
Overall, it was a pretty mellow read. It reads like a diary because of the how the chapters are labeled. There is an emphasis on character development instead of world-building but it is a trilogy. There can’t be much world-building when the main character is stuck in prison though.
67th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, First in a Series, Self-Published