Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Dust Girls (review)
Faerie lore purists will probably hate Dust Girl for the same reason I love it. This novel takes the ancient faerie stories, seelie and unseelie courts, and bastardizes it as only Americans can. It's unique and compelling, weaving in American history and some of our own legends.
Callie LeRoux has spent her whole life living in the small town of Slow Run. Her mother operates an old empty hotel. Their town is a dying community, stuck in the middle of the Kansas dust bowl. To make matters worse, her mother has gone slightly crazy waiting for the return of her father, a travelling black musician who promised to return someday.
When her mother disappears during a huge duster, brought on by Callie's piano playing, faeries descend on Slow Run. She befriends a young hobo, the charming and outspoken Jack. With Jack's help, Callie figures out she's not fully human. She's not quite white, not quite black, not human and not completely fae. She doesn't know what she is.
I love how they made the Seelie and Unseelie court fit into the American culture. The Seelie, or the bright ones, are glowing white beauties operating Hollywood. The Unseelies are black fae, using jazz music and wishes to preform their magic. The mythology blends seamlessly with American history.
I found myself wondering if the inspiration for this version of faerie came from an old American legend. I'm not sure if everyone has heard the story about the birth of blues where a musician meets the devil at the crossroads and sells his soul to become the best guitar player. There is this almost mythical history of blues and jazz that ties in nicely to this novel.
Near the end the story drags a little bit, but overall this is a great book. The innovation alone makes it worth reading.