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Dust Kindle Edition
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|Length: 458 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
I adore the three main characters - the princess, assassin and thief - they are so well-developed that they bring to the table their own personal layered history which enhances the believability of the story.
War, greed, death, pride, seduction, betrayal and treason intertwine with powerful magic, courage, destiny, loyalty and love which ultimately provides the reader with a gripping adventure, complex characters and a fantasy world you are going to want to visit time and time again.
I thought the pacing in this book was really excellent. There are jumps between the past and present, but the chapters fit together seamlessly and give information from the past that is now, or will soon be, relevant in the present. Alondra has a lot to discover about her parents and their past, and about the way the world used to be. There is so much more at stake in this book than just Alondra's freedom, and she has to make so many hard choices. Even though the jumps in time might be a little disorienting to some people, I think they really tell the story in a way that going from point A to point B just would not do. The meandering path adds so much depth to the plot and the world.
Alondra is probably one of my favorite heroines that I've read about recently. She starts out as kind of a spoiled brat, bored with her life and upset that she's being forced to marry Seamus, an assassin prince from a neighboring kingdom. But as she learns secrets and gets to know Seamus better, she matures in to a strong young woman, capable of leading the country she's set to inherit.
And then there is Seamus, who is totally swoon-worthy. I fell in love with Seamus pretty much from the beginning, and I kind of wanted to slap Alondra every time she didn't want to give him a chance. Sure, he seems cold and apathetic, but he's go secrets of his own that could destroy him and Demoria. One of my favorite things about Seamus is that he treats Alondra with respect, and knows that he cannot force her to love him. He wants to at least be friends, since neither of them has any choice regarding their marriage, but he allows Alondra to love him on her own terms. He's really a sweetheart underneath everything, when he allows himself to actually care and show emotion.
Sarah's world-building is some of the best I've seen in YA Fantasy. There's a little bit of telling how the world is, because that's just how fantasy goes, but most of the world building is done through Alondra discovering more about Anara and Kooram and all of the other countries. Even though she's the princess of Kooram, she's led a very sheltered life and doesn't know much about her world. So when she's forced to save it, we get to see Anara through the eyes of someone who is also learning about a world that she's lived in her entire life.
I would 100% recommend Dust to any fans of fantasy, especially if you're looking for a YA fantasy. I think the really great thing about this book is that it can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike, so I'd really recommend it to any age group. Maybe not too young, since there are some situations that may not be appropriate for a middle-grade reader (there are a couple of scary/gory parts!), but there's nothing too bad or anything. I adore Sarah and her books, and this one is no different. A 5/5 for sure, and I can't wait to see what Sarah has up her sleeve next!
By Sarah Daltry
Upon starting Dust by Sarah Daltry, my first thoughts were somewhere along the lines of, "Oh great, another teenage girl who's going to save the world." But there are some books that just speak for themselves and put the reader in her place when it comes to prejudging without proper evidence in either direction, and this is definitely one of those.
So yeah! Oh great, indeed, another teenage girl who's put in charge of saving the world! When we meet Alondra, it's with stark, disorienting time jumps from past to present, from insolent, immature princess into commanding, brave, courageous leader of her people, and it's told in a way that made me sit up and take notice. The thing about YA novels that makes them so good is how relatable they are, but the thing that makes them even better is when they're inspiring, when they show you exactly what's inside all of us, even if we're only fourteen, or sixteen, or eighteen, like Alondra is when her world comes crumbling down around her, pretty literally.
And so a story is told, full of love and loss, discovery and betrayal and redemption and all of the age-old intriciacies that build an engaging tale fit for a reader of any age. Alondra learns that her parents are people too, a lesson that takes many years for children to figure out, that "evil" can take many shapes (and can capture you easily), and that light and love and compassion can come in unexpected forms and from unexpected places, no matter how much you fight against it. She's on a mission to find not only her own freedom and her own path, but to save her kingdom and her family and their traditions, and to restore the world that she's been set to inherit since birth, whether she wants it or not. It means sacrifices of the most brutal kind and decisions that are too heavy for anyone, much less a girl who is learning about love, family, and magic, and their places in the universe, for the very first time.
Fantasy has never been exactly my strong suit, but this novel pulled me in fairly quickly. There's a lot of information to take in-- we're learning about magic and history and alliances at the same time as Alondra is, and it can be overwhelming sometimes, but the writing style flows energetically in a way that invites you to keep reading more, to keep letting it pull you in until you can fit the pieces together with our heroine. It isn't the sort of book you can necessarily read without paying attention though-- the kingdom of Anara requires the entirety of your attention, which can be intimidating, but that's also sort of the appeal-- it just isn't the kind of thing you'd want to read if you're looking for something mindless.
Overall, I found Dust to be full of interesting, rich, complex worlds and characters who demanded my attention and kept me coming back for more. There's something wonderful about an author who can build such a detailed web with her storytelling, and I really enjoyed this about Sarah Daltry's work. It's part mystery and part fantasy and wholly epic, and I was always eager to dive back in and pick up where I'd left off. The time jumps in the beginning took a little getting used to, but ultimately I feel they were the best way to tell a story that required backstory before we were fully prepared to join Alondra on her journey. I truly can't say enough good things about this book, and I would recommend it for anyone who likes fantasy and/or YA novels, for anyone of any age who is interested in the treacherous quest from youth to adulthood, and from rock bottom to finding a way to climb back up the mountain toward its summit where the whole world is just waiting on us for the taking.