Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston [Review]

3.5 out of 5 Robots!

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release: September 30, 2010
Hardcover: 304 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? His son, that's who.

Ever since his father's 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 fairydust 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?
. (Courtesy of the Publisher)
Shannon's Thoughts:
Dust City is one of those books where I enjoyed the concept more than the actual story.  Don’t get me wrong, it is very well written.  And clever.  It has a great Chandler-esqe feel to it.  I can envision the black and white streets of Dust City and practically hear Skinner chomping on a cigar and saying “Yeah, see?”.  And I LOVED that about Dust City.  Weston takes well known fairy tale characters and tropes, turns them upside down and spits them back out into a lush noir landscape with a hardboiled plot.   

Henry plays the wolf Sam Spade as he tries to solve the mystery.  He just keeps descending further and further into the seedy underbelly of Dust addicts and crime bosses.  Again, I LOVED that aspect.  But if this book didn’t have such a strong noir influence, I don’t know if the story would have held up as well.  There is a bit of a disconnect between the reader and Henry, even though he is narrating in First Person. The supporting characters tend to have a lot more flavor.  Especially Detective (Snow) White and Jack, Henry’s thief of a roommate (of beanstalk fame).  Those characters are a lot of fun.  But Henry is a bit dull and with a slower moving plot, sometimes you just want to get on with it already! Luckily it is a fairly short book so you don’t have to wait too long. 

Dust City deserves a look, especially if you are a fan of Noir Fiction or enjoy fairy tales with a twist because it is an original concept and well executed.  With such a richly imagined landscape, this would make an excellent graphic novel.  Maybe the author will take me up on that idea someday.  But if Dust City sounds at all interesting, I do recommend giving it a read.

1 comment :

  1. I don't think I've ever read any noir fiction, this sounds interesting, especially the use of fairy tale characters. I don't think I've heard of this one before. Great review, I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out as well as you had hoped.



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