I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ocean of Dust by Graeme Ing
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
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Fourteen-year old Lissa is snatched from her home and finds herself a slave on a trading ship traveling on a waterless ocean of nothing but gray dust. A feisty, curious and intelligent girl, her desire to explore the ship earns her the hatred of the cruel first officer, Farq.
Fascinated by the ocean of dust, Lissa becomes embroiled in its mysteries, sensing things that the crew cannot, while cryptic whispers in her head are leading her toward a destiny linked to the dust itself. Only one man aboard can help her make sense of her new talent, but can she trust him? All is not as it seems, and she must unravel the clues before it’s too late.
When a sinister plot casts her adrift on the barren ocean, her best friend is left in the hands of the treacherous crew. Everything hinges upon her courage, quick wits, and her ability to master her new talent.
Ocean of Dust is a tale that follows a young girl in another world named Lissa. She is kidnapped and forced to work as a galley girl aboard a ship sailing across an ocean made of dust. She is mistreated and disrespected most of the time, but she eventually realizes she has a magical connection to the ocean.
Lissa has an insatiable curiosity and often puts her nose where it doesn’t belong, bringing her no end of trouble. She does learn some secrets that threaten the crew, but she doesn’t act on them quick enough to make any difference. While the book tells us she has a perfect moral compass, she seems to lack wisdom or prudence. Thus, much of the violence and troubles she encounters were her own doing.
Speaking of violence, this book has no shortage of it. In fact, I would say it is over-the-top and completely overdone. Having Lissa endure round after round of beatings leads little to the story.
The plot was entertaining, though the action is mostly contained to the ship. There were quite a few slow parts that could have been removed with little impact on the story. However, I felt myself wanting to know what came next so the “page turner” factor is well there.
The world building was quite imaginative and interesting. I have certainly never read a story about an ocean made of dust, filled with magical creatures. We don’t learn a whole lot about the various peoples of the world, or the lands, but what we do learn is enough to push the story forward.
The characters were also well developed and intriguing, though several were absolutely despicable. Unfortunately not all met an appropriate reckoning, but at least some justice was dealt out. Lissa grows well and learns to use her abilities to ultimately rescue the crew on several occasions.
I listened to the audiobook and felt the narrator did a good job. She had a good naive voice appropriate for Lissa, and did a fine job with the other voices as well.
Overall, this is an entertaining and imaginative story that follows the growth of Lissa and the ship’s crew, but one that is dark and brutal with some unnecessary violence and some slow pacing. It is, however, a memorable experience that is worth trying.
… she spotted a brown conical shape lodged on a fallen stump between a pair of trees. Dozens of bugs with red striped abdomens swarmed above it – War-blits. She couldn’t keep up the pace for much longer, and her lungs felt ready to burst. Her hastily formed plan might be her only chance to escape the feline snapping at her heels. She sucked in air and urged her aching body forward. Up close, the bugs were as large as her thumb, with wicked, black stingers on their rear-ends.
Now she was caught between a swarm of spiteful bugs and an animal about to bite her in half. It was now or never. Screaming for courage, she launched herself at the War-blit mound, praying her timing was right. She clenched every muscle, waiting for the stings to stab all over her body. The furious buzzing engulfed her as she flew through the air and over the mound.
Her shoulders hit the ground on the other side, and she tumbled over and over, smashing into a tree. Something stabbed her leg. Agony ripped through her body. Then a sharp pain on her right arm. She flailed her limbs in all directions trying to keep the bugs from her face.
The feline had landed atop the stump and crushed the mound. The air turned black as a cloud of War-blits sprayed from a hole in the stump, buzzing angrily and covering the creature like a cloak.