Friday, 5 October 2012

Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Rating: 5/5 crow heads
Release date: 7 June 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 459 pgs
Goodreads | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

I don't know why it took me so long to read Blood Red Road. It's been sitting on my shelf for over a year, collecting dust. But now that I have, all I can say, really, is pick this one up now. Blood Red Road stands out amidst the spate of dystopians and post-apocalyptic novels that have come out in the wake of The Hunger Games, and is thoroughly deserving of the praise it's received.

Why? The writing, for one. The novel is narrated in a thick, heavily colloquial dialect that made me think of outlaws and deserts and rednecks - which is exactly the kind of world Saba lives in. The minimalist style is definitely a defining and divisive aspect of the book, and while I can understand how some may find it gimmicky or annoying, I couldn't imagine the book working so well without it. Saba's world, the characters she meets...they all live and breathe by the same slow, languid rhythm. Some people will find this harder to get used to than others. Is it worth the potential frustration? I think so!

And it's worth it because for me, how 'good' I find a book usually comes down to how enjoyable or entertaining I found the characters and/or story, and Saba's journey had me grinning throughout. This book is fun, plain and simple, and I seriously never wanted it to end. Her journey is epic, taking her across mountains and deserts and crooked, corrupt shanty towns. It's a classic coming-of-age adventure that gave me that rare feeling of reading a story that wasn't written or plotted or worked over, but exists somewhere in an alternate universe, fully formed.

Now, I've tried to keep this review spoiler-free, but if you take something away from this review, I hope it's that there's really something for everyone here. For those looking for a light, fun adventure, all the elements are there, and they're well done. For those seeking something that makes Blood Red Road stand out from your average YA novel, there are enough surprises - Saba's surprisingly dark and brutally honest thoughts toward her younger sister, for example-  to make this one stand out. Read it now!

4 comments:

  1. I have been meaning to read this book! Just recently read lots of good things about it.
    Will be getting it on my next shopping spree. Yay.
    The desert landscape, girl revolutionaries - all have me getting quite curious!
    Glad you reviewed the book Lauren! :)

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  2. I had the exact same sentiments! It took me months to get invested in the book but once I was, I couldn't stop! I loved every character.

    And since you enjoyed this, maybe you could pick up you copy of Eon? *cough cough* I seriously need someone to fangirl with =))

    Anyway, great review, Lauren!!!

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  3. I agree entirely! This book was spectacular in so many ways! Great review!

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  4. I love, love, love Blood Red Road! It was original and unique.

    Sangita @ Whisper of Reads.

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