Dust of 100 dogs by A.S. King: review



I don't have a top ten list this week, I don't know why, I got annoyed. But I just finished Dust of 100 dogs, so I thought I'd tell y'all my thoughts on that instead. 

The book:
Dust of 100 dogs is the story of Emer Morrisey, who was a famous teenaged pirate in the 17th Century. She was just about to escape pirate life, to become a farmer, or something, and be free. She buries her hard earned treasure and is then killed by a man who has the power of cursing her. She is cursed with the Dust of 100 dogs, which means she has to live 100 lives as a dog before she is reborn as a human, Saffron Adams, born in 1972. She then only needs to become 18, get a shovel and a plane ride to Jamaica.

What I thought
The story is told through the perspective of Saffron Adams, Emer Morrisey and Fred Livingstone, a man who lives in Jamaica, who Saffron runs into. The book is also sprinkled with little tips for being a dog. I would explain who he is, but spoilers. I’ll try spoiler free, we’ll get back to it. Saffron was born in the 1970s, but she has all the memories of Emer, and the things she has learned from being a dog for 300-odd years. This means she comes off as a child genius. She has four siblings, and is from a poor family, and because she’s a genius she is the one her parents pin all their hopes and dreams on. Saffron also has Emer inside her head, and Emer is a ferocious, terrifying pirate, so while Saffron is angry, or annoyed, at people Emer is picturing herself pulling their eyes out, or quartering them. It’s surprisingly dark, because obviously she is a pirate, and she has been alive for over 300 years. The story from Emer’s perspective tells the story of a young girl (10 years old-ish) growing up in Ireland in the mid 1600s, which basically means watching her family and her village being torn apart by Cromwell’s men (I’m going to read more British history by the way). She is taken in by her uncle, and is “sold off” to a Frenchman, so she’ll go off and marry him when she gets older. She’s fallen in love with an Irish boy in her home town, and when she’s sent off to France he follows her. However Emer runs off and becomes a sailor, then a pirate captain and starts terrorizing the Caribbean.

In the 20th century Saffron goes off to Jamaica to find her treasure, where she meets Fred Livingstone, who lives near the beach in Jamaica. He has some sort of shady business stuff going on and he has creepy voices in his head. He is also perving over the women in his hometown, including Saffron, although he isn’t actually doing anything, just arguing with himself. He is very odd, and he obviously has a role in the book, but again, I can’t explain him without ruining it. It’s a bit weird in the beginning, because I thought; who is this asshole? But it is interesting to see the world through his slightly crazy eyes and to see what Saffron is up to from someone else’s perspective.

I really loved it. I thought it was amazing. It has a lot to do with me loving pirates. I have always loved pirates. I don’t know why, but I always have. When I was a kid I read books by a Norwegian children’s author who wrote a book about pirates, and I was sold. I watch pirate movies, I read pirate books, I went sailing and had a moment of going; I should just be a pirate. I found out there was a privateer in my family, sometime in the 1700s I think, and I got really excited. I mean I like romantic pirates, I obviously know piracy is horrible, but I like campy, romantic Jack Sparrow pirates. So this book is perfect for me. Also it’s really, really dark, because Emer/Saffron is a seriously damaged human, and an awesome pirate. And I loved it.

Final thoughts:
I loved it and I will need more A.S. King books. Like, right now, please.