Emer Morrisey was about to run away and live a quiet life as a good Irish women when the love of her life was killed, and she along with him. However, this was not before she was cursed to live the life of 100 dogs as punishment for killing another man's lover. Over the next 300 years Emer lives the lives of various dogs with all her memories intact, before finally being born again as the human, Saffron Adams. Saffron is considered a genius by her parents, and she goes through most of her life waiting to turn eighteen. She dreams of leaving to Jamaica and finding the treasure Emer buried there before her untimely death. She also has violent daydreams that include inflicting horrible, violent actions on others.
Saffron wishes to be free. Free from her parents, free from her brother, and most of all free to get what rightfully belongs to her.
The Dust of 100 Dogs is a fairly violent and graphic novel. However, this doesn't not detract from the wholly original and intriguing story of both a female pirate and three hundred year old soul trapped in the body of a modern young girl. The most interesting storyline, for me, was Emer's first life. Emer was a child during the time when Oliver Cromwell invaded Ireland, and killed thousands of people. Essentially Cromwell commited genocide, and Emer is left without her father, mother, and brother. I won't write anymore since I don't want to spoil anything. I simply wish to say that this storyline was amazing, and I truly loved it.
The way that King interweaves all three storylines, yes there is another storyline besides Emer and Saffron's lives, are so well done that I was enthralled by the book. I had to finish it and talk about the story to someone else. I have noticed that quite a few other reviewers and readers become hung up on the rather bad language and some graphic events that occur in the novel. If you are a person who wishes not read a book with bad language and violent scenes this book may not be something you'd wish to read. If these kinds of scenarios are things that may not bother you then read this book. It is an excellent debut, and I for one look forward to reading more by A. S. King. Visit the author's website to watch a trailer for this book, read her blog and learn more about Dust of 100 Dogs.
Many reviewers have also commented on how this book might not necessarily belong in the Young Adult genre because of the very adult situations and bad language brought up. The author also states that when she wrote the book there wasn't a specific genre in mind. So in essence it was not originally written with a young adult audience in mind. However, I am a reader who thinks that just because a book has the label of Young Adult doesn't mean that it should be censored to fit a certain idea of what young adult readers should be reading. Every reader is different, and some YA readers can handle this kind of book.