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Publisher's Summary

After surviving the plague that wiped out her family and most of the warm-blooded life on Earth, Ayla has spent 10 years in relative solitude surviving and, against all odds, thriving. Ayla's world gets a whole lot bigger when she finds a fascinating new canine companion. Along the way, she picks herself up a nemesis, a needless distraction, and a new approach to postapocalyptic life. 

Capable of devastating violence and deep compassion, our antiheroine walks an almost invisible line, navigating her own morality in a world where the concept doesn't exist anymore. 

A uniquely female perspective on the challenges of surviving in a world ruled by the violent and strong, this is not for the fainthearted or easily disturbed. 

Please be aware this book contains graphic descriptions of sexual violence and scenes that some listeners may find disturbing.

©2017 Laura Elizabeth Morgan (P)2018 Laura Elizabeth Morgan

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

All the gore that comes with the end of the world

In the interest of full disclosure, this review is being given for a review copy of the book.

That said, I honestly really enjoyed it. When I initially looked into the book I was imagining something light and action filled, but what I got was something that would keep me on my toes, scratching that itch that I'd normally turn to a Mad Max to hit.

While Dancing in the Dust doesn't have that same wasteland setting as Mad Max, the sense of isolation is no less real. There aren't many people left, and those that are aren't people you want to mess around with, especially if you're a woman. If there aren't many people left in the world, there are even fewer women, and you can imagine the unique struggles they would have in a world lacking the social constraints we have in polite society. Some of the pre apocalypse setup for this feels a little over the top at times, but overall, I feel like it's well executed.

Gwendolyn never felt the need to make Ayla above it all. She's certainly no innocent female superhero. If anything, she seems to struggle more than most other characters we see in the book, but we never feel that she can't handle what comes her way. She starts to feel like a real person who has to struggle to overcome a difficult past and a bleak future. Things don't always go her way, often having very bleak outcomes, but it's from these struggles that we care and want to know more about her.


A quick note on the narrator. My only real complaint is that to me she felt a little too old for our main character, but otherwise, Karen hits the notes well. She's got a great range and a gritty tone that fits the setting. Overall, I would say she was solid and would be happy to see her return.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A pulls no punches Post apocolyptic action story!

In a not too distant future that bears a resemblance to The Handmaid's Tale, religious fundamentalists have been voted in to power in the US, and quickly discard many of the freedoms Americans enjoy, especially cracking down on women's freedom. It basically looks like the worst of Saudi Arabia's suppression of women, where men rule over the women. This would have continued, except the Dust falls, and everything changes.

When the dust clouds come, almost all the humans get sick and die horribly of a plague like sickness. It happens so suddenly that the worlds governments are caught flat footed and have no chance to stop it. Society falls apart, becoming something Mad Max would be familiar with. This is the world Ayla grows up in, fending for herself, from a young teen to her mid 20's, when the story starts. She has trained herself to be able to hunt and defend herself against the lawless bandits that survived the plague like she did. While not huge in number, she is alone, so she is careful to keep hidden and build up supplies and weapons. She has even gained a new companion, a large dog that's much more than it seems. Unfortunately, things are about to change for the worse.

After being discovered by a group of men, Ayla is captured and is tortured sexually and physically. Keeping her cool in her worst case scenario, she manages to escape and What follows in a crazy conclusion that would make any post apocalyptic warrior proud, as she tries to defeat her new enemies while keeping herself alive and somewhat sane. This all leads to a surprising conclusion, as we see that the men were not some isolated scavengers, but a part of something larger and much more sinister. We also see that changes to the people of the world are coming, changing what it means to be human.

I have enjoyed the wide variety of Post Apoc stories that have made a resurgence lately, and Dancing in the Dust is no exception. In fact, it has some very creative settings and characters. Ayla is an excellent character. I've seen reviews saying she's an anti-hero. In a world with no heroes, where its every person for themselves, I'd say she's no hero or anti-hero, just a survivor. She is also not in any way the dreaded Mary Sue. She struggles, she makes mistakes, and while she is strong, its through years of training and surviving in the harshest crucible imaginable, life with no rules at all, to the strongest and quickest and most clever goes the spoils. Is it a perfect book? No. Occasionally Ayla does some things that are head scratchers, but that's probably to be expected in such tense conditions. The secondary characters aren't spectacularly rounded out, but that's more a function of the books length and their parts in it than anything else. Still, it is excellently plotted, paced and executed, and Ayla is in that group of Post Apoc warriors you'd want at your back if society ever fell apart.

The narration was handled by Karin Allers. She did a good job of using tone and inflection to differentiate the characters. Her voice is such that there was not a huge variety of male voices, but there are enough in any scene to be able to tell who is who. Her narration is steady, and she doesn't fall back into a monotone, keeping the action moving along. Overall, a solid effort, and I would definitely recommend this book whole heartedly.

Warning: The rape scenes in this book are fairly graphic, as is the violence. They really pull no punches, so fair warning.

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Not Your Average Post Apocalyptic Story

I'm really torn on how to rate this book. The Ayla scenes are in first person which is not a style I particularly enjoy. The narrator, Karin Allers, has a deeper, more gravelly voice that didn't mesh with what I was expecting of Ayla. It was a good narration and the voice probably fits with the ruggedness of the environment, it just took me a while to get into the groove of the story because of it.

The story itself is bleak, violent and gut wrenching. I was totally enthralled listening to it and sometimes did not want to get out of my car (I listened while commuting). Every morning I was excited to head to work and find out what situation Ayla was in next and how she was going to overcome the next struggle. The writing is vivid and really drew me in. The ending left me a little confused so I hope there is a sequel coming out soon.

I received a copy of the audiobook for a review.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Strong story, without an ending

loved the whole book, Karin Allers read it very well. However the end felt like stopping in the middle of a story, like there should have just been another chapter afterwards.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Koontz meets McCarthy

Disclaimer – I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review

Reading this book made me feel like I was reading the bastard child of The Road and Intensity, with a dash of Tank Girl thrown in. I love strong female protagonists, and I especially enjoyed that this one pulled no punches, and didn’t apologize for doing what she had to, even when she had to make difficult choices. I was sucked into the book from the very beginning, and it was one of those reads that I had to force myself to stop, just because I wanted it to last as long as possible. In the book, Ayla lives in a post-apocalyptic world where mankind has been mostly wiped out, and all that remains are brutal gangs of men, and a handful of people doing what they need to survive. This book has been called bleak, gut wrenching, and dark, and I agree. But I couldn’t put it down. The way the author wrote Ayla’s thoughts and emotions left me gasping, and I thought the narrator did an amazing job with the voice.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Pulls no punches

A stark and brutal post apocalyptic tale. If cannibalism and rape are too much, skip this one. That said, it does showcase a strong female protagonist, a detailed enough explanation of the apocalyptic event without delving too far into an explanation to lose intrest or credibility, and a pleasant dynamic between the characters you aren't meant to hate. Decent enough read, but very much for mature audiences only.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Dancing in the Dust

(I received a free copy of this audiobook for review). this book is an interesting, bleak take on a post apocalyptic world. it's not for the faint of heart, and they're is a ton of sexual violence, be forewarned.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • L MacWhirter
  • 07-03-18

The road meets The book of eli

The road meets The book of eli with a sprinkle of mad max bloody, emotional, mean rollacoaster of a listen

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Scott Kaelen
  • 06-30-18

A gruelling, brutal, but rewarding audiobook

I’m writing this review immediately after finishing listening to the audio version, narrated expertly by Karin Allers. Dancing In The Dust by Gwendolyn Pendraig is a gruelling depiction of a post-apocalyptic world, a world in which humans are either predator or prey. Gwendolyn doesn’t just dance with violence and depravity, she takes them by the dainties and swings them in all directions. Dancing In The Dust is a portrait of extreme brutality by characters utterly lacking in morality.

With the author as the driver, and the narrator as the tour guide, I sat in the back seat as they took me on a break-neck safari through a wasteland coloured by the blood, bones and flesh of the slain. As my proverbial vehicle rattled through the dust, I was forced to witness the most sadistic rape, murder and cannibalism wrought by the vilest men – and, sometimes, women – as we followed the main character, Ayla, in her trek through this bleak world. In the midst of a desperate, deadly encounter, Ayla makes her first friend after a decade-long streak of survival, a four-legged friend with a secret. But she also makes a nemesis, one who wants to do much more than merely kill her.

If you’ve got the guts for it, this book is a must-read (or, in my case, a must-listen). The elements I mentioned in this review are a mere sanitised taster of what you will find in Dancing In The Dust. I would caution that this novel comes with an extreme content warning, and, for some, a trigger warning. This is not a book for fragile sensibilities, it is not a story for those seeking a temporary escape into another world. Kudos to Gwendolyn for writing it,a nd kudos to Karin for putting her voice to it.

One final note: As grim as Dancing In The Dust is – and it is one of the most unforgiving narratives I’ve ever experienced – I should mention that in this post-fall world where humanity has gone to dogs, it is also not entirely without Hope.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 06-19-18

Enjoyable, and definably Grimdark

I didn’t know what I was getting Into. It’s a Post apocalyptic world that has gone downhill. I enjoyed it, but with all grimdark, be prepared for lots of gruesome death.

It’s a good story, and well worth taking a listen.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • amandac2568
  • 06-17-18

Has potential but too disturbing for my personal taste.

Post apolacyptic fantasy book set in America in a time where men are dominant and women are nothing more than objects to rape or even in the case of this story, eat.
The story follows a lonely woman who has suffered many hardships in life and a man who is obsessed with her.
Not for the faint hearted.

My main fault with the audio book itself is that the narrator's voice makes it sound that the character is taking enjoyment during all the bad stuff that is happening to her and at times I couldn't tell when the characters had switched.

There were too many disturbing scenes for me to enjoy the book much (the masterbation, C bomb, constant use of the word whore). However there was enough there to keep me listening to see how it all unfolds.