Dust City by Robert Paul Weston - 4/5 stars
In Dust City, Weston asked the question, 'what if Fairy Tales were real? What if those characters evolved? What would that look like?' The result is a civilisation divided into hominids (humans, elves, goblins and the like) and animalia (everything else from wolves and foxes, to ravens and frogs). The fairies have seemingly left the building and their once powerful, life-changing fairy dust is sold on the street and by huge pharmaceutical companies for everything that ails you. The more expensive, the longer the effects.
When Henry, son of the big bad wolf, finds a letter from his dad implying that he was framed for double homicide (Little Red Riding Hood and her gran) by being forced to take bad dust, Henry breaks out of juvi to find out the truth behind his father's crime and whether the fairies have really left.
Naturally he's joined by a cast of characters including a giant, a she-wolf Fiona and a hominid, Jack (yes, that Jack with beans and all). While the premise may sound a bit camp, the actual novel is a gritty urban tale where fairy dust is equivalent to something like cocaine. Henry infiltrates a gang of dust dealers to find out the truth about his father and his various errands around the city make it clear that this is no fairytale.
I really liked Dust City because it reads like a fairy tale mash-up for guys, sort of like Fables (only for a younger audience). The world that Weston has created feels fleshed out and real and while the conclusion of the novel is a bit disappointing (or at least it was for a lover of fairytale happy endings like me), I still really enjoyed getting there.
Recommended for fans of fractured fairy tales and gritty urban fantasy. You can read an excerpt of Dust City on the main website, here!
(reviewed from a library copy)