Pirates — scurvy foul creatures with a greed for gold and a thirst for blood. An innocent girl born into war-torn Ireland, who views the world with caution, who finally finds love, and who then has everything violently ripped away. A teen in Pennsylvania, biding her time, and hiding her secret. And a curse. Oh, and some dog care tips. If this all sounds like an unusual combination, you are dead on, and this is what makes the young adult novel The Dust of 100 Dogs (Flux) by A.S. King a fresh and original hit.
King’s main character Saffron, is a brilliant teen born into a needy family that see’s Saffron’s brilliance as the ticket to a bright future. But what they don’t know is that Saffron is actually the soul of Emer, an Irish girl who had turned to pirating many centuries ago, and who was cursed to embody the souls of 100 dogs before she finally found herself human again. Along with teen angst, Saffron must tamp down the savage instincts of her pirating past, and wait just a bit longer until she is 18 and has the money and the freedom to pursue the treasure buried on a Caribbean isle long ago.
The author does an amazing job of grabbing the reader by the throat, and pulling you through this epic adventure. As we travel with Emer’s soul through her past lives, there is heartbreak and triumph, blood and gore, history and humor. Because of some disturbing scenes, I would restrict this read to older teens and adults. It’s a fantastic novel, but there is a rape and one seriously disturbed villain, so be advised.
That said, I now say grab this book and read it. Share it with others. Channel your inner pirate. Yo-ho!