“Primordial Dust” Collecting Primordial Dust

“Primordial Dust” doesn’t live up to expectations.

Photo Courtesy of Ryan Deitchman

"Primordial Dust" by Sarah Daltry will stay on the shelf.

Addy Bennett, Editor of Features and Extras and Student Opinion

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I was pretty excited about this book before it arrived in the mail, but when I opened to the first page, I was thoroughly disappointed.

“The hills crest right below the moon and the tableau, in other circumstances, would be breathtaking. However, as I wade through corpses, I’m not focused on scenery.” That was the second and third sentence of the entire book and I already had a plethora of doubts. If I’m worried for where this is headed in the first paragraph, something’s usually wrong.

Wrong like you don’t wade through corpses. One can take poetic license, certainly, but at the same time, you can’t wade through corpses. They would have to be stacked at least waist high or be made of a liquid substance in order for you to wade through them.

Anyway, going beyond the word choice. It sounds cliché when someone writes “I’m plucking arrows from the dead. This is not a time for waste,” and already I sensed that this plot was going to be something I’d heard of a million times before. It may not be time for waste but where’s the spin on the classic ‘I don’t love the man I’m engaged to; I want to be with the dashing thief; there’s a war going on and I must lead my kingdom’s forces’? Why isn’t there something different about it? How is the author going to convince me to read this if it’s the same thing as so many other books?

Focusing in on characterization and development, I found that I didn’t much like Alondra, our royal heroine. Maybe we’re not supposed to; I’m not sure. Anyway, she’s bratty and spoiled, and Daltry tries too hard to make her into a ‘I don’t need no man and I am also better than everyone’ clichéd character. Later on in the book, she claims that she is compassionate, and others agree, but I in no way see how. There is no proof in the rest of the book. Having an aversion to killing or something along those lines does not translate to compassion. Speaking of which, she hunts all the time and yet has apparently never spilled blood, human or animal. Then why does she hunt? Does she just follow the rest of the hunters on her pure white horse? And why is she plucking arrows from the dead if she refuses to shoot an arrow?

Which brings me to the weaponry and time period. I am so confused about when this is set, like whether or not it is way in the future, or really anything relating to time. There’s no map; there’s no “this land is to the west” or anything like that. I don’t really know what the terrain of their land is like, I mean, there’s not a lot of detail. And I’m a detail-oriented person, so having no foundation in the world building really, really bothers me. We talk about people in some epic war that seems very ancient, but then, out of the blue on page 12, it mentions eye shadow, which wouldn’t have existed on the planet that I am in the middle of imagining. We hear about the swords and arrows they’re fighting with and on page 15, we get down to the really big stuff that destroys my vision. They say someone has a blaster. Like a gun type of blaster. Wait, what? I thought this was gonna be some boss world like Middle-Earth or something, where it was just medieval weaponry and whatever.

Seriously, Daltry? I was feeling that it was something I wouldn’t read anyway, but that really destroyed it. Later, it mentions Alondra wearing pants, which I’m fine with, so long as the author uses the ethic of responsibility to explain why that’s okay with the ancient? futuristic? society. So they have cafes? So they have swimsuits? What does this story look like? It just doesn’t make sense. Where is the detail in this world?

And then there’s the mysterious and handsome thief in the green hood. Oh, how I love him! Oh, he is so hot! Especially when he gives Alondra a passionate smooch on their first meeting! Oh, I just die for basic and dry characters like these!

Not.

He is her secret lover, and the reason (according to the back of the book) that she yearns for freedom from her terrible life of comfort and ease. I want everyone to marry for love, but maybe once in a while she could just suck it up for the nice guy that she secretly harbors interest for… Anyhow, she was rebellious before her path crossed with Mr. Sexy Thief in Green Hood. He wasn’t at all necessary to the plot, him and his deep, saaaaphire eyes. Oh, how tired I am of him! And spoiler alert! He’s the bad guy. Surprised?

Neither am I.

Now Seamus is the only character I kind of like in here. Kind of.

Seamus is Alondra’s betrothed, who also kisses her at random intervals. You know, because he totally has the right. Anyway, Seamus is your typical nice guy assassin. On the back of the book they describe him as “cold-hearted,” but later in the book Alondra literally describes him as maybe just being more than his livelihood. Shocking!

But he does have some solid fault in him. As he and Alondra walked to find safety in another kingdom, Seamus randomly strips his armor and shirt off to reveal his manly muscles (he’s soooooo hot!) and show Alondra his tattoo. In an explanation about his past, he claims that after making his very first human kill (aw, our baby boy is growing up!), he goes out that night to tattoo himself so that he may never forget what he’s done. He makes a pledge to never ever ever kill again or he will get another tattoo.

He doesn’t keep that.

Which was good. I liked that, like I said earlier, that he wasn’t completely perfect. He didn’t hold to his promises. He was also a bit devious in that he tricked Alondra into thinking their marriage was arranged by their parents, without his pushing them to. That’s about it, though.

Overall, I feel that Daltry wrote well but lacked conviction and an original story. I wasn’t interested in what happened next. I just read because I felt obligated. She used a lot of fancy wording to say things that were not only unnecessary, but kinda stupid. It was like Daltry was attempting insightful, but it just flopped. If you’re looking for a nice, typical fantasy book, go ahead and read this one, but if you’re searching for something emotional and life changing, I don’t suggest it.

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