Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Early Review - The Dust Girl (American Fairy Trilogy, Book 1) by Sarah Zettel (3/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Size: 304 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 26, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0375869389
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the America Fairy Trilogy
Source: ARC through NetGalley.com
Rating: 3/5 stars

I got an eGalley of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. I was really excited to read this book, I love fairy tales and was curious to read about a fairy tale in a 1930’s American setting. The book ended up being very underwhelming; the story was simple, not all that engaging, and just overall mediocre.

Callie lives with her mother in Kansas and spends most of the time fighting against the continuous drought and frequent dust-storms that have made her sick. When her mother disappears in a sandstorm Callie is left to fend for herself and discovers that she is not exactly human. She will have to journey to California with a hobo boy named Jack if she is ever going to save her mother.

I will be blunt...I didn’t like this book much...I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t all that engaged in it either. I thought everything about it was a bit washed out (like the cover). The landscape and setting were kind of blah, Callie and Jack were kind of boring, and the journey they take was similar. That being said is wasn’t poorly written, I just didn’t find it to be an exciting read.

Callie kind of goes with the flow for most of the book; she accepts the fact that she’s half fairy pretty readily. She has occasional moments of strength, but for the most part she was like every other YA heroine you’ve ever read about. She fancies Jack and is determined to find her mom. She makes many of the same mistakes (trusting strangers who say they know her) over and over again.

Jack was okay too, but nothing special. He is kind of your bad boy thief type and goes along with the adventure to get a good story. He also makes a lot of mistakes and never comes off as a real strong or noble hero.

The setting was an interesting one for a fairy tale, it is a creative idea. It didn’t really work for me though. The 1930’s dust bowl as a backdrop of a fairy tale? Sounds kind of neat. But the scenes were never really described in a way that made them come alive for me; everything just seemed washed out.

I also enjoyed how Callie used music to call magic. Unfortunately the magic system wasn’t well defined and the rules to how Callie could use her magic were inconsistent. I like my magic with some consistency (I know probably sounds a bit silly).

My favorite part of the book was when they went to the Fairyland amusement park. I loved the irony in this part of the story and how different parts of fairy tales were blended in with something like an amusement park. If the whole story had been more like the end, this could have been a great read.

Overall it was an okay read. It is a quick read and is decently written. Everything about the story was mediocre; although the 1930’s is an interesting setting. I personally wouldn’t recommend reading this book if you like fairy tales; there wasn’t as much fairy tale to this story as there was adventuring through the 1930’s. So if you are interested in American Historical Fantasy this might interest you, unfortunately there isn’t a lot to the story...it’s pretty simple. I won’t be reading any more of this series.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- Debut Author Reading Challenge

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