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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
From The Dust by Anastasia Bolinder is a story of bravery about a wingless fairy's fight to save two kingdoms. Called an imp her whole life, Alayna has always been different from the other fairies for her lack of wings. Though Alayna enjoys her life working in the stables and enjoying time with her friends, she daydreams about traveling outside of Dust. Everything changes when the queen summons her for a meeting. She learns about a vision foretelling of the kingdom withering with Alayna playing an unknown part. When a great evil invades her kingdom and steals the queen's life stone, Alayna is determined to prove her bravery and follows after the thieves into the snow. Her quest for allies leads her to the source of the evil, to the secrets of her past, and on a journey to her destiny.
Anastasia Bolinder has a spunky hero in Alayna who enjoys simple things like working in the stables and being around animals. She's constantly having to prove herself, because most people treat her as an imp or demon simply because she doesn't have wings. Alayna is a sweet character, at times naive, but always compassionate which is her largest strength. Her heart is what leads to her bravery, because it drives her to enter this fight to save her friends, two kingdoms, and the land. The characters are colorful with vibrant personalities, with everyone having a role to play in the story - from her mentor and friend, Eplices, to the grumpy Elder of the forest. Even Alayna's horse, Runner, and the dog, Zinxz, she meets on her journey have equally in-depth and bright personalities, proving to be much more than helpful companions.
The story mainly focuses on her journey to save these two kingdoms, but it's also an emotional journey of self-discovery and an important part of her becoming a hero. Her adventure is personal, more than saving two kingdoms, but uncovering the secrets of her past and who her parents were. She always believed there was nothing special about her and was treated as though not having wings made her just an imp, so seeing her become a hero with abilities that connect to everything around her and a true sense of bravery is deeply rewarding. The writing remains fairly light overall with an almost bubbly quality about it, but Bolinder weaves in serious danger without ever getting too dark. The fairies have a fun spin to them, with their personalities mainly bubbly or serene, moving away from the typical devious and trickster personalities of fairies. Bolinder mixes a symbiotic relationship with nature and a powerful connection to magic in this fun fairy adventure. From The Dust is a journey of discovery that uncovers the secrets of the past in a fight to save the future of two kingdoms.