Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
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.