Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

Dust Girl
by Sarah Zettel
Series: The American Fairy Trilogy #1
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: June 26, 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone, when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west" (California).
Along the way she meets Jack a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company—there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.(synopsis from Goodreads)
Dust Girl is the first novel in the American Fairy Trilogy by Sarah Zettel. It takes place in Slow Run Kansas during the time of the great Dust Bowl. Zettel offers us an interesting tale of dark and light fairies, danger and discovery. Fans of folk lore, history and fairies will delight in this tale.

We meet protagonist Callie LeRoux at her home, a grand hotel in Slow Run. The town is all but deserted due to the dry conditions. Sand and dust have affected her health but her mother refuses to leave. Callie’s father, a man she has never met promised he’d return. When a horrific dust storm occurs and Callie’s mother goes missing, a mysterious man appears. He tells Callie she must head west to California to find her parents. The tale and the journey offer Callie insight about herself, her parents and her destiny. The journey is difficult as Callie must determine who to trust and who to run from. Filled with twists, murder and strange creatures this tale was entertaining.

Callie is unique in more ways than one. She is of mixed color at a time when society had strict rules regarding race.(although the cover in no way reflects this) In a lot of ways Callie has had to be an adult, since her mother has obvious issues. Callie quickly learns that she is only half-human and watching her discover her powers was fun. She is tough, smart and surprisingly level-headed, despite all that is occurring. I loved some of her kick-butt action scenes. Jack is street-wise and sensitive. He cares for Callie and tries to help her. He knows the streets and every con imaginable. He is also welled versed in lore and is able to offer Callie clues about the parties involved and her role in it.  At one point I disliked his actions, but he did redeemed himself. The Fae bring us an odd mix of colorful characters. There are two groups The Seelie and the Unseelie. Both want Callie in their court and ultimately she will need to decide.

The world building was fascinating. Zettel swept us back in time and I felt like I was there. Her depiction of the period was breathtaking and I could taste the dust. Callie is the center of a prophecy and both Fae kingdoms are vying for her. This created a lot of twists, turns and heart-palpitating moments.  Mixed into this fantasy, Zettel touches on the topic of prejudice. She focuses on race as well as social classes. A scene towards the end is steeped in religion and I had to reread to understand exactly what happened. This was the only bump in an otherwise evenly paced tale.  At this time there is no romance, and I am curious to see what happens next.

I would recommend Dust Girl to fans of historical fantasy. While I didn’t completely flip over this book, Zettel offered a unique world with imaginative characters and I look forward to reading book two.

I want to thank Random House and netGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this novel 3 cups out of 5.

Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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At June 14, 2012 at 1:28 AM , Anonymous Christy @ Love of Books said...

I have this one coming up. I'm not exactly excited about it, but I'm hoping I'll like it.

At June 14, 2012 at 6:45 AM , Blogger Silverlight said...

I'm not a fan of historical books, so I'm kind of on the fence with this one. Thanks for the honest review!

At June 14, 2012 at 9:21 AM , Blogger Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf said...

I'm on the fence about this one too. It doesn't sound like one I'll be sad to miss out on...

At June 14, 2012 at 10:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow ! This sounds fantastic. I've seen it around but never checked it out.The concept seems pretty interesting and I have a feeling I'll enjoy it.
It's always great when the world building is well done.
Great review, kimba :)

At June 14, 2012 at 3:21 PM , Blogger Blodeuedd said...

I always wanted to try a book by her..or was it just this Anyway, I am not sure though, I am torn

At June 14, 2012 at 7:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prejudice and fantasy haven't crossed paths in my mind before, I'm not sure what to expect from this book! Keeping an eye out for this one, great review!


At June 14, 2012 at 9:14 PM , Blogger Madigan McGillicuddy said...

I'm reading this now... it's a quick read! Interesting.

At June 14, 2012 at 11:18 PM , Blogger Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I have thiscoming up soon and I am really looking forward to it. I think this period in American history is fascinating, I am excited that the world building is excellent. Wondering about that religious bump!

At June 15, 2012 at 5:32 AM , Blogger kelseymichelex said...

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At June 15, 2012 at 5:34 AM , Blogger Enchantedbooks said...

I have this on my TBR list thankyou for doing a review on it :)

At June 15, 2012 at 4:40 PM , Blogger Emma B. said...

I was ex items to read this one, and your review has made me doubly so. Thank you for the honest review!

At June 15, 2012 at 4:41 PM , Blogger Emma B. said...

*excited*. Sorry. Auto correct.

At June 15, 2012 at 8:57 PM , Blogger Jennifer Messerschmidt said...

aww no romance?! I need romance lol I love fae stories and this one sounds really unique. Curious about Callie and what happened to her parents.

At June 17, 2012 at 7:26 PM , Blogger The Literary Darling said...

I have read some not so good reviews about this I'm not really looking forward to reading it now. Hopefully it's not all that bad! Great review :)

At June 17, 2012 at 7:35 PM , Blogger Chapter by Chapter said...

I'm still on the fence about historical fiction. I pretty much go with what's being recommended in the blogosphere lol Too bad there isn't any romance. I'm a sucker for romance, but I do enjoy reading books about faeries and the seelie/unseelie courts. Great review :D

At June 17, 2012 at 9:10 PM , Blogger Michelle @ Book Briefs said...

you what is super strange? I love history, but I have yet to find a historical YA that I have loved as much as reading about actual history. But I do really like faerie books so maybe I will give this one a try, but it's not top of my tbr list.

Thanks for the great review Kimba! :)

At June 17, 2012 at 9:57 PM , Blogger Dani Chapman said...

This does sound interesting! I may just have to give it a try.
Thanks for the great review!

At June 18, 2012 at 12:43 AM , Blogger Bookbabe92 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At June 18, 2012 at 12:45 AM , Blogger Bookbabe92 said...

I have wanted this book for ages now but not sure how I'll go with no romance.

A great review!

At June 18, 2012 at 12:48 AM , Blogger Sharon ObsessionwithBooks said...

I'm a bit iffy about this one now, I have been eager to get hold of it but I am not a historical fan at all and the lack of romance would drive me batty (I need my romance ;)

A wonderful review Kimba!


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