Last year one of my most anticipated reads was Dust by Kara Swanson, and it didn’t disappoint! The characters and prose definitely stood out to me the most, but I enjoyed all of the elements.
I’m far from the book’s target audience but still loved the story, and I think that’s the mark of good writing.
The characters definitely made the story for me. All of the characters felt incredibly lifelike, and while I didn’t connect much with Claire, I still really appreciated her as a dynamic and interesting character. Peter has to be my all-around favourite character.
I loved the prose, in part because of how silent it was. The prose never distracted from the story, but rather added to it in a way that flowed incredibly smoothly. As a writer, I’m actually hoping to go back and analyze a few sections to examine why the prose works so well.
I have to admit that the plot could have been more front-and-center in a few places. Especially during the second act, it felt a little wandering. Dust is a primarily character driven story, though, so it still held my attention even when the plot lagged. There weren’t any points where I felt bored or wanted to put the book down.
The majority of Dust is set in London, England. A few iconic locations show up (Kensington Gardens and Big Ben most notably), but overall the setting plays a fairly quiet role in the story.
Dust really packed a thematic punch, without being preachy or obnoxious. Themes about truth and belonging really stood out to me, but there’s a lot that can be unpacked in this story.
Dust is overall an extremely clean book. There are a few fights that end with cuts and broken limbs, but no on-screen deaths. There’s no vulgarity or sexual content either, so this book would be pretty safe for pre-teens and up.
Have you read Dust? If so, what did you think of it? I would love to hear your thoughts on it!