Thursday 7 October 2021

Book Review + Favourite Quotes (Blog Tour) | Dust & Grim by Chuck Wendig

Publication Date: 5th October 2021 (US) / 28th October 2021 (UK) by Little, Brown
Format: Netgalley ARC
Target Audience: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy, Horror   

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Thirteen-year-old Molly doesn’t know how she got the short end of the stickbeing raised by her neglectful fatherwhile Dustin, the older brother she’s never met, got their mother and the keys to the family estate. But now the siblings are both orphaned, she’s come home for her inheritance, and if Dustin won’t welcome her into the family business, then she’ll happily take her half in cash. There’s just one problem: the family business is a mortuary for monsters, and Molly’s not sure she’s ready to deal with mysterious doors, talking wolves, a rogue devourer of magic, and a secret cemetery. It’s going to take all of Dustin’s stuffy supernatural knowledge and Molly’s most heroic cosplay (plus a little help from non-human friends) for the siblings to figure it out and save the day...if only they can get along for five minutes.


My Thoughts

"Monstrousness isn't because of who you are, but because of the choices you make".

I haven't read any of Chuck Wendig's work before (surprising seeing as he has 160 distinct works on Goodreads!!) but his name is definitely recognisable for me so when I saw he was coming out with a horror middle grade debut, I had to join the blog tour! 

Dust & Grim follows Molly Grim who is determined to get her share of the family business from her older brother after their parents deaths in order to go to costuming school. What she doesn't realise is that the so called family business isn't just a simple funerary service and she may have just unleashed a monster determined to destroy it and them. 

I'm a huge fan of middle grade mysteries and horror-esque reads and a book about two siblings running a monster mortuary immediately grasped my attention. I was a little worried that the contents might read a little young for me but this one definitely falls on the older side of the scale for middle grade. The writing is fun and modern but still has a maturity about it, owing to Wendig's extensive experience. I loved how fast paced it was as well, this may have added to some lack of development in a few areas but I was so engaged with the plot itself and what was going to happen next that I can forgive it for that.    

Molly Grim as our main character and introduction to this supernatural business was super snarky, inquisitive and stubborn. Whilst she's very mature for her age and believes she can be completely independent ultimately she's missed out on having a real family and underneath all her sarcasm she just wanted to have a relationship with her brother. Dustin (the titular dust) is shouldering being in charge of the family business and attempting to keep it running as steadily as his mother did. I don't feel like we really got to know his character as much as we did Molly's though, he opened up a bit towards the end but I wished the characterisation had been a bit more equal. It was fun seeing how much they butted heads though but were slowly realising that they made a great team.          

I was drawn in by the plot itself from the beginning. We're thrown straight into the story, Molly showing up and inserting herself into her brother's life in order to uncover any secrets that will lead to the inheritance. It's a really fun concept, a funeral business for monsters and supernatural creatures. Wendig fleshes it out well and at no point did I believe that this idea wasn't viable! The conflict was exciting and was a great way for Molly and Dustin to unite in order to figure out how to defeat it. I really enjoyed being introduced to 'The Watchers' too, different magical beings that aid in keeping everything in the supernatural world running smoothly including vampires, fae and the nonmaterial like Florg! 

I think the reason why my rating is a 3.5 lies with wanting to know more about the actual funeral process and to learn more about the different creatures. We get glimpses into it and the groundwork is all laid out but the focus shifted to stopping the "rogue devourer" by the middle of the book. The monster mortuary was what pulled me in and I thought that's what it was going to centre on rather then just being the setting. Chuck Wendig also really likes a pop culture reference, this book is jam packed full of them. Whilst they'll probably work for a younger reader, I did find there was a bit too many of them. I also found it odd that there were recognisable mentions such as Star Wars but a lot of them particularly to do with Molly's cosplay only existed in the world of this book. Sometimes I just didn't know what I was supposed to be getting out of them. 

Overall, this is an entertaining and hilarious monster adventure. Full of sarcastic one liners and plenty of interesting otherworldly characters, I had heaps of fun going along for the ride. Readers will love the humour and horror elements. I really hope Chuck Wendig has plans to turn this into a series as there is so much potential for further shenanigans with Molly and Dustin as well as getting to further explore the family business. I would definitely pick up a sequel as well as being more inclined to pick up Wendig's other books from now on.    


Favourite Quotes

"It's hard not knowing where you belong... It's maybe one of life's -or unlife's- most important quests." 
• " The ways are the ways, away and away, who cares about old or new. We just do what we do and have fun doing it."
"And even the smallest crack was a vulnerability - like how a huge stone wall could be pulled apart by the shoots and runners of unruly, reaching plants."
• "It was a simple Victorian parlor, curiously less flashy than the rest of the house. As if death preferred vanilla." 
"It's not always about money. Money is just the means to an end - it's not the reason to do the thing."
• "Heroes didn't run. Heroes got up when they were knocked down. Heroes stood up in the path of evil." 
"We don't need you to compete in the Blame Game Olympics. Congrats, you both tie for the gold!"
• "That's weird"
"Welcome to the supernatural funeral industry."         


About the Author

Chuck Wendig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, Zer0es/Invasive, Wanderers, and the upcoming Book of Accidents (July 2021). He’s also worked in a variety of other formats, including comics, games, film, and television. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his books about writing. He lives in Pennsyltucky with his family. 

Author Links:

I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes included in this review are subject to change. Massive thank you to Little, Brown  for providing me with a review copy. A huge thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for letting me take part in the blog tour as well. 


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