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Dust (Of Dust and Darkness, #1)

4. The number of times my delicate wings have been broken and clamped behind my back.
68. The number inked upon my skin, marking me the sixty-eighth pixie to be stolen.
87. The number of days I’ve been wrongfully imprisoned.
88. The first day the faeries will regret stealing me.

Healthy. Cheery. Vivacious. All traits Rosalie has before becoming enslaved by the faeries to make an endless supply of pixie dust. Now that Rosalie has been traumatized by slave labor, extreme desolate conditions and multiple deaths, this hardened pixie is anything but. When this rebellious teenager attempts an escape, she’s isolated in cramped quarters until she learns her place. Just as she begins to let go of all that hope, she finds an unlikely friend in Jack, the faerie assigned to guard her. Interspecies dating is forbidden in the fae world, so their growing attraction is unacceptable. And even if Jack can find a way to free her, they know the prison is the only place they can truly be together.

Clean YA Fantasy.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars

Looky! Looky! Santa/Daddy decided I’d been good last year and got me exactly what I asked for! It was such a great read that I finished it on Christmas day.

This story was an engaging, fascinating tale and Ms. Ashley certainly isn’t afraid of making her characters endure hell. Though this was a wonderful book and I enjoyed it immensely, as noted by the five sparkling stars, there was one thing I had a problem with.

The plot:

In a world of faeries, pixies, and spriggans, young Rosalie is different from the other young pixlings. She prefers the presence of nature to that of her hyper-active roommate and the quiet of the trees to the chatter of her friends. Then one day she is abducted and made into a slave for the faeries along with dozens of other pixies to make an endless supply of pixie dust. There she witnesses and suffers terrible conditions and brutal treatment of her and her kind while trying to stay alive and maintain her sanity. Then, after the death of a close friend, Rosalie snaps and attempts an escape. She fails and is thrown in prison where a boyish young faerie is assigned to break her, but ends up falling in love with her instead.

Now, here’s my problem—this story is labeled “romance” and, once that element got going, it was incredibly sweet, touching, and heart-melting. However, there are 336 pages in this book and we get to page 171 before we actually meet Jack, our love interest. I’ve contemplated this problem, wondering if the author could have cut down on the beginning portion, the part where Rosalie is imprisoned and working as a slave, and came to the conclusion that a good deal of it was necessary to the development of the plot. Yet I think about a hundred pages of the “hardship” sequence could have done with snipping or been condensed or perhaps the “romance” sequence been lengthened. As it is, it felt a bit lopsided.

The characters:

Okay, so I seriously considered taking down my star rating by one, but I enjoyed this book way too much to do that. Rosalie is compassionate, kind, and yet has enough steel in her to keep from buckling under the horrible conditions she and the others are subjected to. Her relationship with Jack was my kind of love story—sweet with heaps of difficulty for good measure. It was interesting to see her begin to question the social convention of her pixie hollow and even wonder if some parts of faerie family structure were better.

Jack was adorable. In the beginning, he’s a bit of a spoiled brat and more than a little mad at Rosalie because he thinks she’s a criminal and blames her for having to watch her instead of running around with his friends. But as time goes on and Jack realizes that Rosalie was kidnapped and forced into bondage for no reason, he becomes more empathetic and even protective. He cares for her wounds and begins to make plans to free her, even though that will probably mean never seeing her again.

There were several other characters we are introduced to in the first 171 pages of the book—Poppy, Rosalie’s roommate; Holly, the matriarch of the captive pixies; Willow, the sardonic, kind of mean pixie who is softer on the inside, but with an understandably prickly exterior; and Finley, the sadistic, narcissistic faerie who assigns Jack to Rosalie in the first place. The supporting cast was diverse and interesting and each served their purpose in the story. But I must admit, I got kind of impatient for the romance element to get going and didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to them.

In conclusion, I am very much looking forward to the next installment of the Of Dust and Darkness series and I recommend it to fans of clean, sweet, YA romance who don’t mind a 171-page wait for the romance to start. I do think it’s worth a try!

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