Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Series: Dustlands #1
Review Source: S & S GalleyGrab
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.
Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.
You should know that I put this one off for a long time. "It's written in dialect?" I thought, wrinkling my nose. "It doesn't even have quotation marks?" I didn't think I could get past the writing style, even though the idea sounded interesting. Plus there's been a zillion dystopian books lately that, frankly, have disappointed me. Well, thankfully I started seeing some very positive reviews (Melissa and Lucy's stand out most in my mind) for 'Blood Red Road' and I thought "Heck with it, I'm going to read this one!" Well, I am super thankful that I did, because I was quite blown away.
First of all, this book is an epic adventure story. There's lots of traveling in it, and the whole book is based on Saba's quest to rescue her brother Lugh. This book contains so many elements. There's the rescue, fighting, themes of family, a bit of romance, and even the tiniest bit of the fantastical. The story drew me in right from the beginning, and the language is actually quite wonderful and easy to get used to. Sure, there were a few parts that were a bit tough, and I found that it took me a few pages to get back into the style every time I picked the book back up, but once I was into it? I was totally lost in the story and Saba's narrative voice just added to its awesomeness.
This book has an incredible cast of characters. There are a good number of them, but they're all so unique and interesting. Nero the crow was an incredible character, if you can believe it. I'm actually scared of birds in "real life", but I guess I can handle book characters. ;) But really, Nero was incredible. He has human qualities and, even considering the fact that he doesn't say a word, he's so funny and awesome and loving. Saba was also quite the riot. She's so selfish at times, and she's incredibly stubborn and driven. At times she does whatever she wants with little regard for other people, especially for her little sister Emmi, but thankfully she begins to change through the influence of Jack and some of the Free Hawks. Even so, the love Saba has for her brother shines throughout the whole book, and even when she was being idiotic, I somehow had a soft spot for Saba.
'Blood Red Road' reminded me a bit of 'Graceling' and Maria V. Snyder's 'Study' books. There's less magic in this one, but the tone was similar somehow. The books also share similar appeal factors, with the journey and the tough but flawed heroine. I just really fell into this story and I didn't want to stop reading it. Despite devouring the lengthy book over a couple of days I didn't want the book to be over with, either. Thankfully there will be two more books in the trilogy, and, for me, they can't come soon enough. This one is a perfect combination of all the book elements I adore, including a romance that's incredibly steamy despite the fact that the book contains only a few kisses.
Find Blood Red Road by Moira Young on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca