Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dust Consumes Me

Expected Publication:  June 26th, 2012
Dust Girl (The American Fairy Trilogy #1)
Random House Children's Books
ISBN-13: 9780375869389

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.


   Callie Leroux has grown up in Kansas, during the height of the Great Depression AND the Dust Bowl.  Her Father disappeared before she was born, but promised to come back for them.  So her Mother refuses to leave for the city and a better life.  Callie has gotten the dust pneumonia, which will eventually kill her if her situation doesn't change.  Also, she's forced to hide the fact that she's the product of a white Mother and a black Father in a time when it's considered nigh unto a sin to be biracial.  Something else is different about Callie that she only learns after a mysteriously supernatural dust storm carries away her Mother - Callie is half-fairy and royalty on top of that.  With the help of Jack Hollander, a young man heading toward California to become a journalist, Callie heads out of town to find her parents.  But not everyone she meets is a friend or trying to help her on her quest.  All the fairies she meets have their own agendas, including the ones that claim to be family.  Can Callie and Jack survive the hunger, racial prejudices and magic that work against them?  Will they make it to California and reach their dreams?  Callie is a great heroine - strong, with a distinctive voice and very sympathetic.  Zettel never overplays the biracial aspect but does a wonderful job of emphasizing all of the prejudices in America at that time working against Callie.  Another thing that I enjoyed was the idea that the Seelie Court (the Shining Ones) were white and the Unseelie Court (the Midnight People) were black.  This put a new spin on the same old fairy mythology that is usually overused in the same ways.  My only real complaint would be the ever-changing reality of who the villain was.  Sometimes that's a good thing, but it turned a little schizophrenic in this case.  This novel was about two young people trying to find themselves and their places in a changing America.  Fantastitcal overtones were there, but not as present as in most fairy books.  This was probably the best book dealing with fairies that I've ever read - and I have read A LOT of them.  I would highly recommend this one to people who aren't even fans of books dealing with fairies, because at its heart it really is a character centric book. 

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is June 26th, 2012.*

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