Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

At first it may seem that, like its main character– a teenage girl named Saba on a search to find her twin brother Lugh in the lawless desert– Blood Red Road by Moira Young has a lot going against it: it's written in dialect, lacks quotation marks, and is over 450 pages long. Also like Saba, it takes a little while to find its footing, but once it gets accustomed to the odds stacked against it, itís unstoppable. Blood Red Road is an epic adventure, and once the reader gets used to the unfamiliar language and intentional misspelling, they become immersed in an incredibly powerful story.

It begins with a kidnapping and two murders. Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake with Lugh, her dad, and the little sister Emmi whose birth killed their mother. Saba doesn't ever expect to leave the wasteland she calls home, but when cloaked horsemen make off with Lugh, leaving two dead in their wake, she has no choice but to follow them into a world where corruption is the norm and power is maintained in horrific ways. On her journey, Saba meets an eclectic cast of people and each of them are memorable and unique in their own ways. However, one of the most notable characters is with Saba from day one and throughout the novel doesn't say a single world– her pet crow, Nero. Young turns an often-repulsive animal into a symbol of hope and friendship. Nero has a distinct personality that compliments Saba perfectly and left a lasting impact on me as a reader.

Although Blood Red Road falls more into the post-apocalyptic genre than dystopia, it is certain to be appreciated by fans of The Hunger Games for its strong (yet imperfect) heroine, quietly growing romance, and adventure-like feel. The writing style is unusual, but once the reader becomes immersed in the story the book is impossible to put down. Blood Red Road has a raw and searing feel to it, a fervent violence and just as fervent love. Saba may be the heroine of the story, but oftentimes she is not very nice, resenting her little sister for taking their mother away and continually wanting to leave Emmi behind when she travels to find Lugh. Saba is real and human and in an incredibly difficult situation in a world that, despite taking place in the future, is in some ways quite medieval.

Young doesn't go into much detail about how the world Saba inhabits came to be that way, but there is reference to leftover things from Wrecker times, a description which seems to say quite a bit on its own. That said, this is the first book in a trilogy and I am hopeful that the next two books will contain more backstory. Fortunately, this story works perfectly as a standalone as well, with the ending wrapping things up nicely but leaving room for further adventures.

The story of Blood Red Road by Moira Young is as blazing and intense as the desert heat. Its characters are passionate, unique and human, and although the language takes some getting used to, it's an effort you'll be glad you made.


  1. Wow ... I cant believe I have left this book for this long on my "to read" shelf! I picked it up when it first came out last year, and put it aside to finish some school reading but never picked it back up. I feel like I am missing out immensely on a fabulous story with intriguing adventure and amazing characters! Fantastic review!! :)

  2. I am just starting to delve into YA and this one was on my list of books to possibly check out. I think I will move it up closer to the top of the list :)

  3. You know how I feel about dialects and no quotation marks...but you've definitely made me want to give this one a shot! I'd pretty much written this book off because of those "odds stacked against it" as you put it, but after reading your fabulous review, Zoë, I think I'm going to have to give it a shot...just in case I still don't like it, I'm going to get it from the library though. :P

    Thanks for sharing your review!

    PS. I'd say you've ended your hiatus. Look at you go, you've had like 3 reviews this week! :D

  4. I really don't mind trying other formats and styles - and I know dialect is difficult in terms of flow, but I think when the character and plot are so intriguing, it supersedes everything.

    Awesome review:)

  5. I really loved the dialect. It's what made the book stand out to me. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from this series!!

  6. My favorite book of last year. Great review. The atmosphere I think, is what really got me. I was't bothered by the language, but I know some are. Can't wait for #2!

  7. I wasn't expecting to like this one as much as I did. I really can't wait to read Rebel Heart soon. Thanks for your thoughts! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it as well!

  8. I love this book! It took me a few pages to get into the groove of Saba's voice and Moira's writing style, but when I did, I couldn't put the book down!

  9. I haven't read this one in a while, so I really like your review because it is well written and just long enough to refresh my memory, without giving away too many important points to others who maybe stumble upon it.

    I loved BRR and can't wait to read the sequel. The style is just so different, so I'm eager to see how the author continues to utilize it.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    ~ Kristi


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