Review: Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Dust by Joan Frances TurnerIn a world where the walking undead are a fact of life, Jessie is a zombie. With all of her memories and conscious thoughts, there’s more going on beneath her deteriorating scalp than a hoo like you or I could begin to guess.

In Dust we get to experience zombie matters from the eyes of the source, as it were, and what a strange experience it is. The undead are not romanticized in this novel, so you might not want to eat before or during your reading session. Nausea may ensue. But, hey, what else would you expect when your protagonist can’t eat anything but raw, fresh flesh?

During the first few chapters, it was odd to experience the constant comparison in my mind of how Jessie was experiencing things to how things would appear to a human: for instance, communication. Zombies can communicate with their grunts and growls, so it’s almost like I was watching a foreign movie with the subtitles on. The freaked out humans in the story have no idea that those noises are words, but I did, which was interesting. They might be slow, but they can also plan movement and mentally do everything a human can. Scary, right? Well, not really as scary when you know what they’re thinking and saying, but definitely horrific. Dust is always going to end up horrifying you in the best possible way.

I also really liked the protagonist’s voice -– from matter-of-fact statements of how things are, to stream-of-consciousness paragraphs when she’s experiencing hunger or pain, I was always eager to hear what she had to say. I grew to care about what she cared about, namely the other undead in her gang. I thought it would be impossible for me to care when a zombie died -– Turner proved me wrong.

The plot is fascinating with an interesting origin story for the undead, and an unexpected post-apocalyptic turn of events. One thing I will say about the end is that it feels oddly stilted and abrupt compared to the wonderful flow of the rest of the novel, but then there is not always a perfect way to end a story.

Buy, Borrow, or Pass?

Buy. Dust is a great book to have on your shelf, especially if you’re a zombie enthusiast. Horror fans will enjoy it, too.

Tia Bowman

Dust by Joan Frances Turner
# Hardcover: 384 pages
# Publisher: Ace Hardcover; 1 edition (September 7, 2010)
# ISBN-10: 0441019285
# ISBN-13: 978-0441019281

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