Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands #1
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Dates Read: November 19-21, 2011
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.
I selected this book to read because of what I had seen about it, and the fact that it was chosen as a monthly read for one of my groups. I was excited to read it, but I found myself afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish it as soon as I started. For those that do not know, this book is written in vernacular. There is a seemingly good reason for this that doesn’t come to light until later. In this dystopian, Western-like world, people no longer read books, and the written language has been largely lost. Thus, it becomes more expected that, for a book narrated by a protagonist in this world, that the spelling and sentence structure wouldn’t be perfect. It seems like Moira Young decided that this would be a good way to add immersion to the novel. If you are a hardline grammarian that can’t imagine reading a book rife with misspellings, bad grammar and a noted lack of correct punctuation, you may be put off of this book from the start.
That said however, I found the story of Blood Red Road to be amazing. Saba is a strong protagonist that is not without her flaws. She knows she is flawed, and she is not apologetic about it, something I really liked about her. Don’t get me wrong, her character experiences a lot of development, but I like that she knows she’s not perfect and she doesn’t expect herself to be. The journey to save her brother is filled with twists, turns, unexpected characters and surprising events. Blood Red Road likes to keep you guessing, and it does so in a way that is still meaningful. The relationships in the novel are very refreshing. I am so happy that Saba doesn’t just go straight for Jack, her love interest. Even though she finds that he is “her heart’s desire” she is still reluctant. She has her brother to think about, after all. Can she really let other things get in the way?
Overall I found Blood Red Road to be a great story, and very refreshing. It has a little bit of everything from many genres, from action to thriller to romance, to Western, to dystopia, to gladiators. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this were made into a movie, and I think it’d make a good one at that. I recommend this to anyone that thinks it sounds interesting. As long as you can get over the style of writing (which I was), I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.