Friday, October 29, 2010

YA Spotlight and Contest: DUST CITY!

Today is a very special day on the blog, guys. Today I'm doing something I once vowed NEVER to do - I am reviewing a book. But it's not just any book - it's DUST CITY, by Robert Paul Weston. (Rob is the mind-blowingly crazy-brilliant author of MG novel ZORGAMAZOO, which won the Silver Birch Award... And which rhymes. Yup. I said he was brilliant, didn't I?)

And what's more, I have one brand-spanking-new, signed copy of DUST CITY to give away!

I am very excited to be able to spotlight this book today. Not only is it a thought-provoking read, but it does something I love, which is take a very modern story and put it in an extremely dark fairy tale setting. It pays homage to the original tone of the stories of the Brothers Grimm, to great effect. Here's the publisher blurb:

"Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

His son, that's who.

Ever since his father's arrest for the murder of Little Red Riding Hood, young Henry Whelp has kept a low profile in a Home for Wayward Wolves, until a murder at the Home leads Henry to believe his father may have been framed.

Now, with the help of his kleptomaniac roommate, Jack, and a daring she-wolf named Fiona, Henry will have to venture deep into the heart of Dust City: a rundown, gritty metropolis where fairydust is craved by everyone - and controlled by a dangerous mob of Water Nixies and their crime boss leader, Skinner.

Can Henry solve the mystery of his family's sinister past? Or, like his father before him, is he destined for life as a big bad wolf?"

 How awesome is that?

There are a lot of things I like about this book. It deals with a number of issues that are very relevant to teens today: drug abuse, gang violence, identity crises, and more. These ain't your momma's fairytales, folks. And while Henry grapples with these issues, he does so in a world in which nothing is black-and-white. In Dust City, there is a whooole lot of grey, right up to the end. Just like in life.

Additionally, the characters in Dust City are very well-drawn. Henry does good things, and bad things; smart things, and really, really dumb things. He makes mistakes, just like every other teenaged boy out there, and every other character in this book is like that. And I loved them for it. When I found myself thinking, No, Henry, don't do it! It's a set-up! I knew I was onto a winner. Not many authors can make me care about their characters enough to think at them. And meeting each new character and figuring out which traditional fairytale they were from, and then finding out that I was right as I got to know the character more, was like getting little presents throughout the narrative. Awesome.

And also - and this is kind of shallow, but... You have to feel the cover of this book. It's textured. It feels... I`m not going to tell you how it feels, but I`ll tell you that I love it; it is so, so appropriate for this book. You have to go to your nearest bookstore and stroke it.* (The bookstore people will understand; they've probably beat you to it, actually. You know you want to.)

Don't you want to read this book right now? Well. You could go out immediately and buy it. You could immediately order it for your Kindle. Or you could win a signed copy right here, right now. In fact, I think you should go ahead and buy a copy anyway, because you're going to want to have a copy to read and re-read while your nice autographed copy rests pristinely on the shelf.** It's that good.

How can you win a signed copy of this book, you ask?

It's easy. Just:

1) Be a follower of this blog.
2) Leave a comment on this post, telling me the name of your favorite fairytale.

The contest will run until MIDNIGHT on the night of MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST. I will put the names of every person who enters into a hat, and randomly draw the winner. The winner will be announced on my Wednesday Wisdom post on November 3rd. (In case you're wondering, my favorite fairytale is Hansel and Gretel.)

Good luck! And... GO!

*Yes, I do that. Bookstore people love me.
**Yes, I do that, too.


  1. Ooh, this book does sound very interesting. You can sign me up to win. And I do believe I've been following for a while, I'll go double check ...

  2. That does sound like a great book! I'm already a follower! And I like the fairytales that don't have to do with the princesses.

  3. Not entering to win, but it sounds like a unique premise.

  4. I've tried to win this one before, so maybe this is my lucky chance! And I think my favorite fairytale is Hansel & was wicked and sweet at the same time!

    I'm a follower, and thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Sounds like an unbelievable read. I would love to win a signed copy. I will stop by the bookstore today for a feel. lol

    My favorite fairytale... hmmm... that's a hard one. I think Snow White.... Evil queens, dwarfs and a poison apple.


  6. Ishta,

    BTW the review was very well written. I enjoyed it. If the book is half as good as your review it is worth having.

  7. Sounds like a great book!!!! Thank you for the review, I'm like you and don't do them very often, but when in love must shared with the world!

  8. It must be an amazing book for someone who refuses to do a book review to do one. I have a 15 year old and this looks like something he could love.


  9. I loved this book!!! No need to enter me in the contest because I've read it, but good luck to everyone else!!

  10. hey, If you like Dust City you might like Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. It is sleeping beauty with a dark twist.

  11. gideon, thanks for the compliment! *blush*

    phyllis, I'll be sure to look for it. Did she base it on a Grimm tale, I wonder? There is one called Briar Rose or something like that, I believe.

    Keep those entries coming, guys!

  12. Only recently heard about this book and am so intrigued! I love fairy tale retellings! Thanks for the contest!

    Too hard to pick my favorite fairy tale now, but in my childhood, I loved Sleeping Beauty (but the Disney version, probably because there was a dragon...).

  13. wow, that's a very lovely book cover!

  14. YES! I really do want to read this book! I'm a follower and my fave fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast if you're talking Disney, and Cinderella if you're talking old timey fairy tales. :)

  15. I've been dying to read Dust City! We have it on an endcap at the store right now.

    Yolen's Briar Rose is based on Sleeping Beauty, but set against the Holocaust. It's very good.

    My favorite fairytale though is Grimm's The Wild Swans, which Juliet Marillier retold as an incredible historical fantasy called Daughter of the Forest. Although on second thought, The Wild Swans might tie with Robin McKinley's Deerskin, which is a million times better than the original Perrault tale Donkeyskin.

  16. I'd never heard of this book *hangs head in shame* . . . but it sounds amazing!

    My favorite fairytale has always been sleeping beauty. No good reason. Especially since Perrault's original version gives me the creeps! Definitely not Disney.

  17. Looking for your ghost story and found a true gem. Reading that blurb made me want that book and that is saying something believe me. I hope I win.

    I am a follower...I left a comment and know my favorite fairy tale. Jeepers, that is hard, I am going with Beauty and the Beast. I'm a romantic. Besides, I am sure most women marry a prince who turns into a beast.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  18. Ha! What a great story idea! Count me in! :D

    My favorite fairy tale??? Hmmmm, Cinderella.

  19. I'd love to read this book.
    My favorite Fairy Tale: That's a tough one. I used to read a twisted version of Cinderella around a campfire at an Env. Ed. Center I worked at, so I'll pick that one: Thunce upon a Rhyme...

  20. Wow this book sounds awesome! And the cover already wins me over. My favorite fairy tale is Hansel and Gretal!

  21. I've heard good things about this book--and it's NEVER shallow to stroke covers. Just sayin'. ;-)

  22. Thank you for your review Ishta. Now I finally have a reason to go back to the bookstore. My favorite fairy tale is Puss in Boots.

  23. Ishta - Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! LOL. Favorite fairy tale? Mmmmm, they always bothered me when I was little because it seemed they'd end just as they were supposed to begin.

    We had a record player when I was little and I loved listening to Peter and the Wolf. Have you ever done that?

  24. I sounds great. I'd love to win. My favorite is a retelling of a fairy tale--Ella Enchanted.

  25. What a wonderful review. :)
    I'm going to go with dark and scary sleeping beauty (though I also love the re-tell Ella Enchanted and my face Disney fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast)

    Thanks for having this terrific contest. :)

  26. great review. Sounds like a really interesting book.

    My fav fairytale would be Cinderella.

  27. This sounds like a really cool book. I came over from Casey's blog and signed up to follow.
    I've always loved East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

  28. This book sounds incredible! My favorite fairy tale is Sleeping Beauty. I get giddy at the thought of 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep! :)

  29. Oops! Here's my email address if I should win...

  30. Thanks, Ishta, for the very kind review + the contest. Much appreciated! RPW