TITLE: Blood Red Road
AUTHOR: Moira Young
SERIES: Dustlands #1
PUBLISHER: Margeter McElderry
PAGES: 459 (Hardcover)
Guys, I loved this book. It has everything you could want, disaster, emotion, action, adventure, romance, and…CAGE FIGHTING. No, seriously, this book is made of all kinds of win, but I will admit it has some serious flaws.
The writing is style is unique, the deliberately terrible grammar is meant to make an impact but it does take some getting used to. If you’re a grammar Nazi (aka Me) this can really grate on your nerves for the first fifty pages, but after that you get used to it and even find that it accentuates the tone of the story.
The basic plot is that Saba, her twin Lugh, sister Emmi and their father live in a post apocalyptic world where they often don’t see other humans for months at a time. One day not long after the twin’s eighteenth birthday Lugh is kidnapped and Saba sets off after him, determined to rescue him from his captors. What follows is an adventure filled with obstacles and hardships, but also friendship, bravery, and the truth about what lengths we would go to for love.
As a heroine, Saba was different and yet also incredibly strong. Whilst she was completely ignorant of what lay ahead, she took everything as it came and showed amazing degrees of stubbornness, courage, determination and instinct that reminded me of The Hunger Games’s Katniss Everdeen. In fact, the women in this book are all something to be admired, even Mrs. Pinch (though I still hate her to the core of my soul). They’re strong, independent, and don’t waste their time trying to impress the males or pretending to be ‘delicate’. They have a no-nonsense policy: just get the job done, and kick a load of ass along the way.
What else is great about the book is the sheer emotion that bleeds of the pages. Everything Saba does is done with fire, a passion that drives her to success and ultimately survival. Her love for Lugh is emphasised in every page, every sentence, and everything she does showcases her incredible feeling. One of the things I loved best about this book was her relationship with Emmi. Whilst it was turbulent and full of contempt and blame at the start, it developed into something every bit as strong as Saba’s bond with her brother.
On the romance side of things: if you like old-fashioned, swoony, sweep-me-off-my-feet kinda romance than this is NOT the book for you. It’s chaotic, susceptible to serious mood-swings, and leaves you smiling even when Saba’s determined not to. Jack is the perfect match for Saba, and the scenes between them are charged full of tension and emotion. Maybe he’s not the kind of guy you’d want to fall for, but in that world, he’s the best you’re going to get.
One of the best things about Blood Red Road is the growth of character you can see in Saba. She goes from being an ignorant girl from the middle of nowhere to becoming a major power player in the world she lives in. I agree with some others that the first half of the book is more fast paced than the rest, but the second half is still full of plenty of action and suspense.
Blood Red Road is a stand out in the recent myriad of dystopian books, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys that genre, or even just a good old YA adventure. Whilst it may not be for some people, I loved it and am looking forward to the next instalment in this promising new trilogy.