Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

21 Oct

Series: Dustlands, book #1

Published: June 7th 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry

Details: Hardcover, 459 pages

My Rating: 5/5

My Summary:

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.


My Thoughts:

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!!!

7 Responses to “Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young”

  1. jenika ioffreda October 21, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    your review made me curious and I just found the book to read online. I still have other books to read first, but soon I’ll give it a try and let you know.

    • tess October 21, 2011 at 10:58 am #

      Oh great!!! Can’t wait to hear what you think 🙂

  2. jenika October 23, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Hi Tess
    I just finished reading the book and I LOVED it!!!! It’s a very good story, with soooo good characters and very very well written! It was never boring and very credible.
    I loved the romance in it, I like Jack and I am wondering who really is DeMalo.
    I look forward to the sequel!
    Thank you so much for letting me know about this book!!!

    • tess October 23, 2011 at 11:45 am #

      Oh wow, that was quick!! 🙂 You must have read it in one sitting, just like I did! I am so glad to hear you loved it as much as I did! I just can’t stop thinking about it, such wonderful characters, and swoon-worthy romance! I am so looking forward to the sequel, and of course to find out who DeMalo really is! Thanks 🙂

  3. jenika October 23, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    yes, I read it in one go, once I started I couldn’t put it down.
    It was very original, also the language was particular, at the beginning it gave me some difficulty (especially because English is not my first language) but after a while I got used to it and I actually enjoyed it!
    I am wondering about DeMalo and I actually started to be worried he might be some kind of love interest for Saba… I say “started to be worried” because I like Jack very much and I like the idea of him and Saba together… he is so sweet, brave, funny guy!
    I liked Emmi from the very beginning and I was hoping she would be important in the story and that Saba might start to appreciate her more…
    I actually liked every single character, and in a story this doesn’t happen very often for me…
    I was sad when two characters die (I don’t say who to avoid spoilers), I liked them quite much!!!!
    I hope in the sequel there will be plenty of Jack, romance, DeMalo (it depends who he really is), Emmi and of course Saba!

    • tess October 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      Yes it was so original and I loved the language even though it was hard to get into at first. Also hope that the romance with Jack continues, really liked him! Hopefully no love triangle with DeMalo, I wouldn’t like that either. And of course, there is the crow – what a great character!! Let’s see how everything continues in the sequel, can’t wait! 🙂

  4. jenika October 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    also I liked a lot the crow! Very clever animal…

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