Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Review: Blood Red Road, by Moira Young

BloodRed Road is one of my favorite books of this year. The characters are so well crafted, that I felt like I was walking along side them.

We are in a dystopian future where there is an extreme drought, and all modern conveniences are lost. Eighteen-year-old Saba and her twin brother Lugh, their younger sister Emmi, and their father live in the wilderness and fend for themselves. Their mother died giving birth to Emmi, nine years ago. Life is hard, especially since the lake is drying up. These children have rarely seen any other humans, and they have no idea how barbaric the rest of society has become.

One day, during a violent sandstorm, four horsemen come and kill their father and capture Lugh and take him away. Saba has no idea what to do, but she vows to find Lugh and save him. Saba is not the strong one, as a matter of fact, she’s very immature at the beginning of the story. Lugh has always taken care of her and Emmi. Saba has never even bothered to get to know Emmi, but now she has to take care of her.

The plot moves rapidly and is very exciting, as Saba embarks on an epic journey to places she had no idea even existed. But what also is compelling is the change in Saba. She becomes a warrior—tough and hard. She rises to every challenge that comes her way, no matter how impossible the odds. She makes friends and enemies along the way, and each character is well portrayed and important to the story.

Saba has a pet crow named Nero and you will fall in love with him. He’s an important character, and I totally believed in his abilities. Emmi, the younger sister, is totally frustrating. She never does what she’s told, and I really wanted to slap her several times. Jack is Saba’s romantic hero, and he’s perfect too. I could go on and on about these wonderful characters. I haven't even mentioned the colorful bad guys, but you’ll just have to read it yourself.

I foresee one criticism of the book is going to be the language. The entire book is written in slang, without quotes. Young uses words like “an” instead of “and,” “fer” instead of “for,” and never puts the “g” at the end of an “ing.” I didn’t find this hard to read, and I believe this is what made such a strong connection to Saba. She’s talking to the reader. It’s like you are sitting next to her and she is telling you this story. It’s an amazing technique that Young uses brilliantly.
This book (at least the ARC) is 498 pages long, but you won’t mind it. First of all, there’s lots of white space on each page, and lots of empty pages between chapters. Trust me, the action and tension never stop, and the pages just fly by.

Lovers of dystopian or apocalyptic stories will want to read this. Girls who enjoy a kick-ass feminine hero, will devour this book. This is Dustlands Book One and I, for one, am ready to read some more about this world, and Saba, and of course Jack.

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, June 7, 2011
ARC provided by the publisher for review
498 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 5/5

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  1. I'm going to read this one next because I've heard such great things about it. Glad you loved it!!

  2. WOW, I love your review of BRR because I can tell you really loved it. It makes me want to read it right now, except I can't, LOL! The only thing that might be a problem for me is the language but I'm really hoping I don't mind it since the characters and story both sound so incredible.

  3. Ooh, I'm waiting on this one -- hopefully, it'll show up in my mailbox this week and I can dive in. I've heard such great things about it. Thanks for the awesome review.

    And I use that Dr. Seuss quote with my students all the time!! LOVE!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  4. I didn’t find this hard to read, and I believe this is what made such a strong connection to Saba. She’s talking to the reader. It’s like you are sitting next to her and she is telling you this story.
    This is *exactly* what I loved about this book. Young uses the dialect to her advantage and it works brilliantly. I had such an easy time envisioning it and thought about the story for days afterward. Definitely something I'm getting for my shelf.

  5. Lovely review. I also really loved Nero. I think it can be really difficult to do a compelling animal character, but Moira did a fantastic job.

  6. Great review! All the wonderful reviews I have read for the book makes me curious about it. I think the language might be a problem for me because of the slang, but the premise is interesting enough to make me want to read the book.

  7. A very informative review. I think I'd like this one, but the length is a little bit concering. Did it feel like 475+ page book or was it really easy to breeze right through it?

  8. Yay glad you loved it too! It's funny how we both say almost in the same words how Saba is talking to us. It really felt like like it especially with the "he says, I says" instead of the quotes. It made her really come to life. I can't wait for the sequel!


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