Published: June 7th 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry
Details: Hardcover, 459 pages
My Rating: 5/5
An outstanding debut featuring Saba, who in a dystopian future heads out in search of her kidnapped twin brother. This is an epic adventure of enormous proportions, involving cage fighting, giant killer worms, a prison break out, mad chases across the desert, sand storms and a swoon-worthy romance. And I loved everything about it; the kick-ass heroine and her palpable growth throughout the book, the sibling love, the romance, the action, the writing. Absolutely amazing!!!!
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.
Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.
I just finished reading Blood Red Road, and I absolutely LOVED it!!
“Frikin’ amazin’, that’s what it was”. If I were to speak like Saba in Blood Red Road.
Which, after reading this book, I nearly did!
As you’ve probably heard, the writing of the book is depicted as the dialect the characters speak. That is, you’ll get sentences like:
He ain’t bin right fer a long time.
Which, truth to be told, made me wary of this book. I knew some reviewers claimed that after a few chapters, you’d get used to it. But seeing as English is not my native tongue, I wondered if that applied to me as well.
Well, fear not! I did struggle for the first few pages, while mapping a few of the changes in my head:
fer – for
jest – just
naught – nothing
bin – been
But once the major changes had registered with me, I ceased to notice. And before I knew it, I’d flown through the book in no time at all.
Looking back at the writing now, I’m glad it was depicted the way it was, as it made me get a better feel of Saba’s world. A world of illiteracy and roughness where intellectuals don’t exist. Where all that matters is your skill to survive.
In a way, the world was fairly similar to what I usually encounter in fantasy genres. People are dirty, rough and simple, there are taverns named One Eyed Jack, the land is traveled by horse or foot, no technology in sight and it’s all ruled by an evil king. The only signs of a dystopia is the talk of “wreckers” which supposedly are us, who vanished from the face of the earth in some kind of world disaster many years ago. Traces are left from our era, useless wreckage such as broken planes and cars that can be found scattered in deserts or ghost towns.
Either way, whether the feel of the world was dystopian or fantasy, it was amazingly well-crafted. I felt as if I could turn around 360 degrees and see exactly what Saba saw with her own eyes, at all times throughout her journey.
As a character, Saba was amazing too. As were all the other secondary characters in this book. I immediately took a liking to them all, and had my first tear slip at page 71, when Saba’s sister Emmi talks about the loss of their mom. Yes folks, this is emotionally packed stuff!
Yet, it never gets too much. Saba is such a strong heroine, the kind that doesn’t take crap from anyone. She fights, she struggles and she gets on with it, no matter the circumstances. If I have ever seen a true kick-ass heroine, Saba is the one! I simply loved everything about her. Her tough act, her growth, her vulnerability, her trust issues, her red hot, her rawness and honesty. I especially loved her complex relationship to her siblings, Emmi in particular. Anyone who has a little sister will know what I mean.
There is romance, and holy smoke how I loved those two together. A match in heaven, without doubt. Both as head strong, both as fierce, both survivors. It made me swoon, big time.
That said, you should know that the romance is not at the forefront of the book. In fact, it takes roughly 250 pages before he even enters the picture. What’s so great though is that it didn’t matter. Romance or not, I was practically glued to the pages from start to finish. My mind reeled, I had trouble breathing during the action sequences, tears fell during some of the most heart-breaking family scenes. I had to stop at times, just to remind myself that “Relax Tess, it is only fiction!”.
When the ending came, I just wanted more. So thank god there is a sequel. That said, Blood Red Road can be read as a stand-alone too, since everything wraps up in a satisfactory way. There are a few open ends of course, just to keep you a little bit curious for what’s to come next. But no cliff-hangers in sight.
On a final note, what’s up with DeMalo? He played a minor role here, but I’ve got a strong feeling his role will expand. I guess we’ll find out in 2012 when the sequel is published. Cannot wait!!!