Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston YP FIC WESTON

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?  Unfortunately, everyone in Dust City is, which means Henry Whelp is one marked canid.  His dad is doing hard time for the double murder of Little Red Riding Hood and her Granny, and everyone assumes murder is just in his blood.  When there's a murder at the St. Remus for Wayward Youth, Henry is the first and only suspect. He hightails it away to the dark alleys of Dust City, a place where fairy dust is real and addictive.  He'll have to find the real killer, find out the truth about what happened to Little Red, and solve the mystery of the missing fairies before he gets the axe.  

Fresh off our Fractured Fairy Tales display, Dust City is a supremely clever mix of magic, gritty hard boiled mystery, and fairy tale.  Henry like most the inhabitants of dust city is an evolved animal.  Wolves, foxes, ravens, and all the animals of Dust City have evolved to walk upright, have hands,and  talk, but they're still second class citizens to hominids. everyone in Dust City uses synthesized fairy dust called Dust that can heal wounds and alter minds. So this is a story about drug addicted animals and murder!  If you've ever read the Non-Disneyfied version of fairy tales, you'd know they're filled with plenty of grisly murder, so a hardboiled fairy tale is actually a perfect fit. A big part of the fun is finding the cleverly re-imagined characters from famous fairy tales. Weston does a great job of laying down a thick level of atmosphere.  He brings the wholly improbable to life and grounds it in a grimy and corrupt city.  Like the teller of tales of old, this book has dark morals, a wicked sense of humor, and is a way to use the fantastic to look at everyday life.  It did take me a couple of chapters to get the hang of how the world worked, but I ended up being glad that Weston revealed things a bit of a time.  It made the story feel more 'real' somehow to not spell out how the animals and magic worked as one big info-dump in the first few pages.  Dust City feels like a real place filled with fascinating, dangerous, and offbeat characters.  Anyone that enjoys fairy tales or new twists on fairy tales will find a lot to love in Dust City.

You can find Dust City in our catalog here.

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