Book Review: Blood Red Road
By: Moira Young
Published By: Margaret K. McElderry
Publication Date: June 2011
Page Count: 459
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Dystopia
This is a well completed first novel in a planned trilogy - although it reads just fine as a stand alone novel. What I really like is that at the end of the book, I have larger questions about the consequences of the events of this book, but my immediate questions have been satisfied so I don't feel like I'm being left hanging. Good job!!
I found it hard to get into the flow of the book initially, as most of the characters are functionally illiterate and the language is often written phonetically to bring across this idea, and there's a fair lack of punctuation too. It didn't take long to sink into the story though. And what a lot of story there is!! There are so many great scenes and such a variety of thinking points here...
I liked the world that the characters inhabited... its set in our future and initially all we see is desert with wreckage of past times in. It felt a little like Mad Max, and a little like Tatooine (or other desert-ish planets) from Star Wars (giant clawed worms... is all I'm saying.) Saba's twin brother, Lugh, is kidnapped suddenly & violently from their barren homestead, leaving her with no living parents and a 9 year old sister to deal with... who she has never much bonded with. So Saba sets off into the desert with her sister Emmie to try and find Lugh and rescue him.
Its hard going, as well as the sisterly spats, the people they meet can be very dangerous. I felt that there was a definite influence drawn from Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but I enjoyed this a whole lot more... Saba is resolutely positive and determined.
She deals with all manner of things, including fighting daily for survival, and she has several leaps of faith to make in deciding who to trust in her journey. She travels a long way (a la Maria V Snyder) with some excellent companions, including a very worthy verbal sparring partner - Jack (hottie!!). Particular mention has to be made of her faithful companion, Nero the crow. Coolest animal side kick EVER. (In fact, I now want my own crow.) Without him, this wouldn't be a five star review!!
It's brutal in places, desolate in others, but it captivated me and I am definitely up for another installment, if only so I can covet Nero some more!!
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.