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Dust [Kindle Edition]

Joan Frances Turner
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

After she was buried, Jessie awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Jessie's gang is the Fly-by-Nights. She loves the ancient, skeletal Florian and his memories of time gone by. She's in love with Joe, a maggot-infested corpse. They fight, hunt, dance together as one-something humans can never understand. There are dark places humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into the zombie gangs.

But now, Jessie and the Fly-by-Nights have seen new creatures in the woods-things not human and not zombie. A strange new illness has flamed up out of nowhere, causing the undeads to become more alive and the living to exist on the brink of death. As bits and pieces of the truth fall around Jessie, like the flesh off her bones, she'll have to choose between looking away or staring down the madness-and hanging onto everything she has come to know as life . . .

Product Description

About the Author

Joan Frances Turner was born in Rhode Island and grew up in the Calumet region of northwest Indiana. A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, she lives near the Indiana Dunes with her family and a garden fill of tiger lilies. Dust is her first novel and she is writing the follow up Frail. Follow her on twitter @violetinbloom

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 622 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0441019285
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HDK4YW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #479,943 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE
Nine years ago, Jessie was in a fatal car crash and reanimated as a zombie. Zombies have always hunted the living and their numbers have swelled by the time of Jessie's death. She discovers that rather than being mindless killers intent on flesh, they retain their memories and band together in gangs to protect themselves against the few remaining humans and other zombies.

Jessie's in the Fly-by-Nights. Her boyfriend, Joe, wants to protect her from their bullying leader, Teresa, but who ultimately lacks the courage to do so. Times are tough for the gang. With the dead outnumbering the living, food is getting scarce and when Jessie loses her arm in a hunt, her ability to fight is severely hampered. Worse, a new sickness is beginning to cutting through the dead. It affects their ability to eat, leaving them weak and more vulnerable to attacks from other zombies. When the disease hits the Fly-by-Nights, Jessie finds that everything she holds dear is at risk, even her own life ...

Joan Frances Turner has created a clever and thoughtful take on zombie mythology in a horror novel with strong themes of life, friendship and regret.

Jessie has a strong first person voice. Resurrected aged of 15, it's only in death that she comes of age, finding love, learning the value of friendship and questioning her leaders. This works particularly well in her relationship with Joe, who takes her under his wing and shows her the ropes and while they love each other, she slowly becomes aware of his weaknesses and particularly his cowardice when put under threat. I also enjoyed her relationship with Fabian, a zombie who was alive during the American Civil War and who serves as something of a mentor to her, keeping alive zombie traditions and history.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great twist on the zombie survival! 13 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love zombie moves and books, something about the undead really freaks me out, so when Dust was recommended to me I had to check it out, as the role reversal, the main character being the zombie, was too strange not to investigate. The approach to zombie dialogue is unique, and the complexity of how they react to each other surprised me as I went in expecting very little in the way of any intelligence. At first I was slightly put off by the idea, but was there any other way to really go about it?

The books plot takes some time to kick off, but surprisingly the initial first few chapters were both my favorite but also my slowest chapters to read through as for me the story takes a very unique twist which I could never have anticipated in a hundred years, not to say that it was bad, but so jarringly unexpected for me it hurt my score hence the four stars, otherwise this one could have taken five very easily, at the very least I highly suggest picking it up, and I would certainly read more in the Zombie PoV area.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Decent read 4 Nov. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting take on the zombie genre. Zombies have feelings and can remember their past? It works quite well actually. Worth a read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  54 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars - An intriguing zombie premise that does an excellent job with the gore 9 Oct. 2010
By Mrs. Baumann - Published on
Plot Summary: Killed in a car accident as a young teen, Jessie woke up in her coffin under six feet of earth and clawed her way out to live as a zombie. She met up with a gang of semi-reclusive zombies who haunt the woods of Calumet County, Indiana, and she's been with them ever since. Jessie eschews eating humans - who live in barricaded townships against the zombie menace - and she lives off deer, possum, duck, and any other animal she can hunt. Despite her supernatural strength, Jessie's body will slowly decompose, bloat, become infested with bugs, and then dry up. Despite this grim future, Jessie's survival instinct is strong, and she has a lot of affection for some of the zombies in her gang. When strange-smelling creatures, halfway between dead and alive, begin to infiltrate the forest, Jessie suspects that some of her fellow zombies have caught a new disease, and she tries to piece it all together. What she can't imagine is that she's intimately involved with this new threat to zombies and humans alike, and it will change society forever.

After I read the first chapter I realized that I wouldn't be eating any food while reading Dust. My roast beef sandwich just wasn't palatable after reading about these maggot-ridden zombies who shamble around spitting out black "coffin liquor" while losing body parts in the woods. I give author Joan Frances Turner an A for her vivid, stomach-churning descriptions, because when I'm reading a book about zombies, I want to be grossed out. It's par for the course.

Dust has an interesting premise. The zombies in Ms. Turner's vision retain enough of their humanity to socialize, communicate, and enjoy their undead life, but their hunger instincts eliminate any compassion they might feel for the humans and animals they eat. Zombies can live for centuries, and they communicate via a sort of telepathy, since lips, throats and tongues start to decay soon after death. I can't say I've encountered this kind of zombie before, and I was able to suspend my disbelief for the most part and revel in their disgusting nature. They didn't win my heart, which is kind of a shame since they are "humanized" zombies, but I was rooting for them by the end. The humans themselves didn't elicit any of my sympathy, strangely enough.

The plot unfolds with a series of small, seemingly unconnected events, and by the end there's a full-on plague that practically wipes out life on Earth. I thought it was over several times, but there were more and more pages to read, so I was impressed at how it kept twisting and turning toward its conclusion. Unfortunately the pacing is a little hampered by dreams, flashbacks, and existential passages that made for slow reading at times, but it did build up into something that was exciting to read.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Write injuries in dust, benefits in marble." Ben Franklin 22 April 2011
By michael a. draper - Published on
"My right arm fell off today.Lucky for me, I'm left handed." So begins the story of Jessie Anne Porter. She was killed when she was a teenager and her father crashed into a pickup truck.

Jessie remembers having to crawl to the surface of her grave. Somehow she had become a zombie. She wasn't bothered by her stink but was consumed with hunger and drawn to the scent of a rabbit in the cemetery.

Jessie joins a group of zombies, the Fly-by-Nights. Unlike traditional zombies, the mutated beings had human traits. Florian was ancient and philosophical, Teresa is the pack leader and is territorial and demonstrates jealousy of Jessie.

When Jessie meets Joe, she describes him "The...right side of his face was smashed in..crushed cheekbone...maggots seethed from every pore."

It demands certain discipline for the uniniated to read a zombie story. I was constantly grossed out as, at one point a large beetle emerged from one zombie who made the transition from a bloater to a breeder.

A new illness is discovered which causes the undead beings to grow new skin and muscles and become more lifelike. At the same time, humans or hoos become near death and often wish to be killed.

The story continues with groups attempting to gain power but this illness seems like an epidemic and the reader must learn the effect on both groups.

Jessie and Florian are unique characters and the novel gets a good mark for originality and the telling of a tale. I did think that the novel was too long in developing the main part of the story and could have been condensed.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (2.5) Cast Iron Stomach Required 21 Oct. 2010
By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) - Published on
Sometimes, when I give a book a middling rating, it means the book was middling throughout. This is not one of those times. I intensely disliked the first half of _Dust_, and it took me about a month to get through it. The second half, I loved, and read in one day.

_Dust_'s greatest strength -- and also its greatest drawback -- is that Joan Frances Turner writes description extremely well. She has the gift of evoking that one perfect image that puts you right there in the character's mind: a dimly remembered strawberry, or a lost connection described as:

"a light shining from a farmhouse window on some dark, empty highway, streaking brightly across your windshield as you drive past, and then fading. And then gone."

It becomes a drawback when Turner conjures up, with the same skill, the imagery of human decomposition. Readers with cast iron stomachs may not mind, but many others will feel physically ill throughout much of _Dust_. It was a little too much for me, I confess.

Turner's undead, who prefer not to be called zombies, are sentient and have an entire culture of their own. They communicate via radio waves when their mouths and throats can no longer form words. They have their own life cycle, starting when they tunnel up from the grave, continuing through the stages of decomposition, then culminating in a second death. It's easy to feel pity for the undead, who retain their mental and emotional capacities but whose bodies are rotting and whose loved ones feel nothing but revulsion if they meet again. Yet this thinking is something of a trap, it turns out; many of the undead are content with their lot and don't want their old lives back, and one human goes to appalling extremes in an attempt to "fix" someone who doesn't want to be fixed.

_Dust_ contains plenty of thought-provoking material, echoing several real-life controversies while (thankfully) not paralleling any one issue so closely that the book becomes a polemic. The thought-provoking elements, however, are drowned out during the first half of the book by the nauseating descriptions and by too much senseless violence. The heroine, Jessie, is in a gang, and she and her friends are constantly involved in bullying, gang hazing, intergang turf wars, and the like. I could, in a way, understand the frustrations that fueled the aggression, but I still had trouble liking the characters. The grossness hampered my experience, too, by causing me to read less closely than I should have been reading. Turner doesn't spoon-feed anything. Many of the character conflicts are implied between the lines, and the world-building is subtle. For example, it's clear that Turner's world is not quite the world we know, but we're not explicitly told when and where the divergence took place (by which I mean "when did humans become aware of zombies," not the event in the geological past). If you "step back" from the story because it's about to make you lose your lunch, you may miss something important in the process.

At about the halfway point, _Dust_ really sank its teeth in, pardon the bad pun. I don't want to spoil the plot twists, but I'll say that the gang warfare largely falls away in favor of science-gone-wrong and beautifully written musings on the nature of life and death, family and friendship. There's still plenty of unpleasant imagery; this is easier to take, though, once the plot starts moving more quickly and the characters become more fleshed-out, plus now the icky moments are interspersed with passages of lovely prose like the one quoted above. Jessie's plot arc is compelling, and so are the little glimpses Turner gives us of the world outside Jessie's immediate frame of reference. So much can be conveyed by a brief mention of a skyline looking wrong.

I closed _Dust_ with a feeling of satisfaction and an appreciation for Turner's craft. It would be inaccurate, though, to claim that I enjoyed the book all the way through, hence the rating. Dust is worth reading (especially the second half), but to get to the best parts you'll have to go through a lot of stomach-turning imagery. Your mileage may vary.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome but intriguing.... 22 Aug. 2010
By Deborah Wiley - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jessica Anne Porter is a zombie, although she finds that term offensive. She's literally falling apart in a world inhabited by other gangs just like the one she is in. However, things are starting to change in Jessie's world. Will she and her fellow Fly-By-Nighters learn to adapt and cope or is this the end of humanity, both living and undead?

DUST takes an intriguing approach to zombies, making them sentient beings who survive in small gangs. Humans, called the derogatory term of hoos, are the evil ones. Jessie finds herself caught in between worlds, between her new family and the world of the hoos she left nine years ago when the car crash killed her the first time. The conflict is well done as Joan Frances Turner puts a different perspective on zombie society as a whole. The concept of the music and the dances is particularly fascinating, although I'd have liked just a bit more explanation about it.

DUST is as gory as one would expect, perhaps even more so. I'm fairly immune to most horror novels but this one had me a bit queasy with some of the descriptions involving the bugs. The beginning is a bit slow, focusing more on the zombies with all their gruesome feedings. However, these aspects are necessary as it sets the stage for how much things are about to change. Once the story really kicks in, DUST is hard to put down!

Joan Frances Turner does a marvelous job at creating multidimensional characters. Be forewarned- there are no real good or bad guys in DUST. Instead, there are characters who make choices, sometimes well intentioned, that can cause quite a few unintended consequences. It's hard not to like Jessie, though, for her sheer determination to keep going even when it flies in the face of all logic.

DUST is a phenomenal entry into the zombie literature! Joan Frances Turner creates a world that is both frightening and grisly while creating characters that pull the reader into the storyline. Enjoyable for fans of zombie books who want something just a bit different.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dark, intense, depressing and excellent 5 Aug. 2010
By I Teach Typing - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I ordered a pre-release of Dust hoping for some fun to hold me over until The Living Dead: The Beginning is released. Instead of the typical ultraviolent zombie bloodbath that I was expecting, Dust delivered an intense, disturbingly realistic post-apocalyptic world, told by a sympathetic hero, who happens to be dead. If you are tempted to dismiss this book off-the-top as a copycat "through the eyes of the undead" rip off of Anne Rice's famous stories or Breathers: A Zombie's Lament don't worry this book is a VERY different beast. The world is totally bleak and scary and the characters are trying stay "alive" (... errr undead... errr sentient) instead of puttering around in the world of the living. Probably the closest book I have read to this is I Am Legend (not the movie). Both books paint a similar depressing horror world but this one offers 24 hour high-speed full-color zombie hell instead of the slower pace, safe in the daylight world of I am Legend.

While this is not a really gory book by modern zombie standards (dismemberment is rare) it is not for the faint of heart. The heroine is falling apart (literally) and she deals with the undead who are putrefying and are chronically infested with bugs. Some sections will leave you applauding for the excellent grossness and going to get a can of Raid.

While I love this book it is not without flaws. The descriptions of the zombies communicating telepathically with musical overtones and the group dancing is really distracting and pulled me away from the flow of the text in a couple places.

Even with the weaknesses this book is exceptionally hard to put down and a truly excellent nightmarish adventure.
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