Summary: When Robert’s younger brother Matthew disappears while on a walk to town, his whole family is overcome with worry and grief. There’s no trace of him, but a stranger named Abram’s appearance in town shifts the community’s focus quite suddenly from the missing child to growing a successful crop of wheat in spite of the drought they’ve been having. Robert seems to be one of the few who notices this abrupt change. Feeling Abram’s pull himself, Robert struggles to figure out what is really going on while trying to hold on to his thoughts, imagination and the memory of Matthew. As things start unravelling, the truth is stranger than the wildest stories he has ever read in the past.
Number of Pages: 168
Age Range: 12-14
Review: As I wrote in my Tumblr post today, Dust by Arthur Slade starts out in the style of W.O. Mitchell but then turns into Ray Bradbury., which explains the dedication and other articles I’ve read where Slade talks about his book.
I just read Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell yesterday, and I admit, it took me awhile to get into Slade mode. I had thought the two books would be more similar than they actually were, but I should have known from the previous two Slade books I’ve read during my Marathon of Books that a twist was practically guaranteed.
And I enjoyed it. Author Kevin Sylvester is right, Slade has tons of talent. Abram is worthy, mysterious villain and Robert’s ability to see through his lies is quite intriguing. In a way, it’s steampunk on the prairie. If a farmer boy in the middle of Saskatchewan can have a steampunk adventure, because it seems like an unlikely combination. Maybe I don’t have my steampunk terms down just yet. I do know Robert is the only one who can rescue the town if he has enough free will left over to do so.
I was both happy and saddened by the ending, as well as completely surprised. I have questions about shady details of course, but overall I enjoyed what Slade’s story had to offer. If you read it, it won’t be what you expect, it’ll be better.
Slade, you’ve been marked. I may have been somewhat blissfully unaware of your writing before my Marathon of Books, but now that I am, I’ll keep looking for your new ones. Because when it comes down to your writing, there’s something about it that I just can’t stay away from.
“Robert shrugged. He had to admit to himself that he enjoyed hearing the swear words – they were real, weighty. Old and Powerful. They grabbed your attention. Of course, there was Someone’s attention wouldn’t want to attract. ‘God might zap you with lighting,’ Robert warned.” – Robert from Dust by Arthur Slade, page 80