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!)
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