07 September 2010

Book Review: Dust

Title: Dust
Author: Joan Frances Turner
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Release Date: 7 September 2010
Date Finished: 31 August 2010

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge42 Challenge, Women UnBound, YA Reading ChallengeHogwarts Reading Challenge,

The Short and Sweet of It
Jessie is one of the undead, a zombie, living out her days with her gang in the woods, hunting and fighting. But a new disease is spreading through the undead and the living that may wipe out both. While this sounds all apocalyptic and exciting, the truth of the matter is that the novel dragged on for much longer than necessary.

A Bit of a Ramble
I must admit that I am not a zombie junkie; apparently I prefer my undead to be all sexy and blood thirsty rather than all decomposing and blood thirsty. At first I thought the zombie angle would be interesting, something new and exciting, but after a few descriptions of flesh hanging off bone and bloated gaseous bodies, I was just disgusted. And there is a lot of vomiting; I'm talking swimming pools full. Actually a solid portion of the novel is concerned with that which is like totally gross (said in best valley girl accent).

The dirty, the disgusting, doesn't necessarily phase me when it is naturally integrated into a thought-provoking and entertaining story. With Dust, however, it's really all I remember - various descriptions of torn flesh, vicious fights, etc. The plot itself, revolving around a disease that morphs both the undead and the living into something entirely new, kept me interested for a good portion of the book, but after a while, I just wanted the story to be over. At 374 pages, Dust really drags out the action, primarily by including all of those yucky descriptions I mentioned earlier.

I'm not really sure what was going on with theme, the moral of the story so to speak. At one point while reading, I decided the entire story was a warning of karmic retribution for our gluttonous lifestyles. The characters in Dust are emphatically and obsessively concerned with food. The undead are rather food-focused to begin with, chowing down on animals and even humans from time to time, and then after the disease begins everyone becomes ravenous, eating everything in sight and completely unable to satiate their hunger. And then the only way these disease-ridden undead can finally and utterly die is through starvation as they find themselves incapable of keeping anything down. The heavy food focus had my meandering reading brain deciding that Turner was condemning us for eating too much.

While Dust falls pretty squarely in the realm of YA, the language is pretty mature with swear words flying around (including the ever infamous f-word). Those who mistakenly believe their young adult's innocent ears have never been assaulted by these words will most definitely not want to recommend Dust. No sex though, not even sexiness. Zombies remember. There's just nothing sexy about missing limbs and crushed in skulls.

Obviously I wasn't a fan. I did, however, read the whole book, and I don't totally regret the time spent on it, so I did give the book an Accept rating. And of course, just because I didn't enjoy this does not mean someone else wouldn't love it. Actually, the two reviews I have listed below both liked the book. Perhaps this just isn't my cup of tea. If you would like me to send you my ARC of Dust, let me know in the comments and be sure to leave your email!

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

The Fiction Enthusiast; The Unread Reader; Dust's Website;


  1. I'd love the chance to read the ARC of Dust, thanks.

  2. Yuck. I've read everything by Stephen King, but he usually has a little more going on in his books but decaying flesh. It seems like maybe vomit and rot was the focus here (or felt like it), and I have no interest in that.

  3. I am always on the lookout for zombie books to recommend to my husband, as he's quite a a big fan. Not so sure if he'd like this one though.

  4. I agree that decomposing and blood thirsty is not necessarily as appealing as sexy and blood thirsty! ...and pools full of vomit and rotting flesh. But nice cover!

  5. I'm still looking for that Hunger Games post you accidentally posted and removed. :D

  6. Not quite sure what the deal is with swear words in YA books. Especially the f-word? This wouldn't go near my niece and nephew if I can help it!

  7. Great review - I thought pretty much the exact same thing! All that ickyness - yuck :)

  8. I don't think I would really enjoy this one, but my son might! Thanks for the very honest review. I read Amy's review on this one too today, and see that you both agree!

  9. Wow, after reading your review, I'm a bit surprised you gave it an "Accept" rating. Sounds awful, frankly, though I love the cover (which admittedly doesn't seem to have anything to do with the story)!

  10. Brooke - I'll definitely put you in the drawing!

    Sandy - I enjoy Stephen King, but his books are so much more complex and thought-provoking and...well, well-written.

    Stephanie - Do you want to be entered into the drawing? I wasn't sure...

    Jill - The cover is definitely gorgeous; although I have the ARC so mine doesn't look like that. :) Perhaps I just got too used to YA romance....

    Amanda - Hahaha! Total accident. I think that's scheduled for Friday. I loved it.

    Coffee - I was rather surprised by the f-word being in there. I don't care so much, but it was definitely shocking.

    Amy - Hey a joint review without even knowing it! :)

    Zibilee - Do you want to be entered in the giveaway? I wasn't sure.

    Avis - I think I gave it an Accept rating because I still read the whole book, still wanted to finish it, so it wasn't all bad. Books that make me skim or not finish at all get the Avoid. :)

  11. This doesn't appeal to me AT ALL!

  12. Yuck! That's not what I was expecting given the cover!

  13. Ah, thanks for clarifying your rating system for me -- I understand now!

  14. Jenners - Definitely wasn't my kind of read.

    Jill - I know right?!?! That cover is gorgeous, and I get the whole "decaying leaf" thing, but it still just doesn't work for the actual story.

    Avis - :) I save Avoid for the ones I really, really, really don't like.

  15. Bloated gaseous bodies ... swimming pools of vomit ... ah, the images I'll be taking to bed with me tonight. Thanks! :-P

  16. Stephanie - Heehee! You are quite welcome.


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