Blood Red Road (Dust Lands #1)

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AH-Mazing! Must-Read!
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
When Saba’s twin brother is snatched from her by the violent Tonton, she must embark on a long and dangerous journey with her little sister to retrieve her beloved brother. On the way, she will encounter terrors, sorrows and the man who will change the way she sees the world. With her unique writing style and unforgettable characters, Young had me from the very first page.

I read this book in less than three days, which is unusual. I like to take my time with a book and balance it with two or three others of different genres, but I couldn’t peel my eyes away from this one. It is 500-pages long, but I didn’t realize how they flew by and the book was over. It’s a dystopian but that doesn’t come close to describing the extent of this book. It’s got a little bit of everything: action, suspense, drama, and romance. More importantly, it is an adventure and an amazing one at that.
It’s slow going at first, but once you get used to the present tense style and crude, broken words, the language used makes it seem more authentic. The author succeeds in keeping it consistent too, which is difficult when you’re trying to change the narration style. That’s one of the most striking parts of the book.
Here's an alternate cover

As for characters, I actually didn’t like Saba all that much. She is close-minded, hostile and cruel. The way she treats Jake and her little sister, Emmi is heart-wrenching. It’s one thing to be emotionally stunted and another to knowingly cause pain. Jake is exactly the opposite - fun-loving, resilient and quite open with his emotions, he’s the perfect guy, but sometimes he took it a little too far. It made him seem a tad unrealistic. Guys don’t show that much emotion and no sane creature would put themselves out only to be crushed-again and again.Emmi is definitely my favorite character. She has all the best qualities of Saba - loyal, brave and gutsy, without the emotional baggage(lessness). Epona, Ash, Ike and Tommo are well-formed supporting characters with critical roles. I wish I could have explored their backgrounds further...maybe in another book.

Speaking of which, did you know that this is the first of a series? Name’s Dustlands. I was overjoyed when I found out. I can’t wait to go on another ride with Saba, Jake, Lugh, Emmi and others. Another fun fact: this book is also being made into a movie (film rights by Ridley Scott) and I believe it will be released in 2014? Hurray!

Overall, an epic book with a masterfully created world, gripping plot and characters you’ll love. This is the perfect book to fill the Hunger Games void.

Recommended for: Fans of The Hunger Games and Enclave (Ann Aguirre)
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Beautiful Writing for a Harsh World
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
At the beginning, Blood Red Road reads like poetry. A harsh poetry, but suited to the story's environment. Saba and her brother, Lugh, live with their Pa and younger sister, Emmi, in a harsh desert landscape far from any other civilization. When four hooded horsemen steal Lugh away and kill Pa in the process, Saba is determined to fetch him back whatever the cost. Forced to take Emmi, the sister she never cared for, along for the ride, Saba's determination is stretched to the limits. First, when misplaced trusts lands her as a slave in a world of cage fighting, and still more when she learns the reason her brother was kidnapped at all. Saba goes from a solitary world in which she cares for nothing but her brother, to a world full of ugly characters who will use or kill her, whichever suits them best. Thankfully, she also meets a group of freedom fighters who share her warrior spirit, and one young man in particular, Jack, who always seems to find his way into her business. She'll need all their help in the end if she's going to save her brother. Their help, and her own stubborn courage.

A lot of people have compared this to The Hunger Games, and I can see why. Saba will go to any lengths to save her brother (Katniss threw herself into the Hunger Games for her sister), even to the point of fight-to-the-death sequences in a post-apocalyptic world. These are significant similarities, but that's about where they stop. The setting, for one thing, has the wasted, dry feel of The Book of Eli - so much so that my vision of the book was tinted in the same sepia of the film, and the town Saba is stuck cage fighting in looked not inconsiderably like the one Gary Oldman ruled over. Saba is fiercer than Katniss by a long shot; Katniss thinks more, while Saba follows her warrior instinct. Katniss also fears, and Saba just gets angry. They're very different people, and they make for very different books.

The wonderfulest thing about Blood Red Road is that the ending sets itself up very nicely for a sequel, but the story itself doesn't rely on it. If Moira Young is happy with this book all by itself, she doesn't need to pick up the pen for a sequel. Which makes the waiting period so much easier as her readers. Of course, we want a sequel. There's Jack for one thing, who is left with business to attend to, and there's the burning question of DeMalo, who has us all wondering what he'll do next - and why. And we would like to spend more time with the other characters, and it's obvious there's a whole lot more unexplored territory to this half-wasted landscape. I've heard very little about the sequel so far, but I'm gratified that there will be one. And yes, I'll be reading it. As stories go, this is a very, very good example of YA literature. As writing goes, this is as good as it gets.
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Watch out Katniss! AMAZING BOOK
(Updated: November 03, 2012)
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Saba definitely reminds me of Katniss. Watch out Katniss, you've got some competition, and I have a feeling you're going to lose!!!

Blood red Road is set in the future, where water is nearly impossible to find, and the whole world is one big desert. 18 year old Saba has spent her whole life at Silverlake. She lives with her brother "Lugh" (pronounced Lou), her sister "Emmi" and her father. Saba does everything with Lugh (everyone says that Lugh is "Day", with his golden hair and blue eyes, and Saba is "Night" with her dark hair and eyes), but she definitely could do without her annoying sister.

Saba's Pa hasn't been the same since their mother died, he shut down and is withdrawn, which really reminded of Katniss and her mother. Saba's Pa always has his head stuck in the clouds, believing he can read the stars and that everyone's life have already been decided for them. He also says that he knows what is in store for Saba and Lugh. Lugh however, thinks that their Pa is absolutely bonkers, but Saba doesn't really know what to believe.

Suddenly, Lugh is stolen from home for reasons that Saba doesn't figure out until later in the book. Suddenly, Saba is involved in an epic quest that will take her all the way across the dry, barren land that she calls home.

On the way, Saba learns a lot about herself and the world around her. She discovers that she has more strength than she thought she could have. She also discovers, among other things, that she has space in her heart for more people than Lugh. A man called Jack, a cage fighter with a very bad reputation, ends up stealing her heart and Saba finds out just how funny, smart, arrogant, infuriating, and helpful he is. She also meets a band of rebel girls, who agree to help her as well, although their leader warns her not to trust Jack.

What really was supposed be a simple search and retrieve turns into an elaborate escape plan that makes Saba use every skill she's every learnt, and she will need to trust her new friends with her family, her life, everything she cares about, and wit Jack, her heart.

When they finally find Lugh, Saba realises that everyone will have to leave and go their separate ways. She realises that she really doesn't want to let go of Jack, but he promises her that they will see each other again. I have a feeling though, that it not going to be as straightforward as that. I can't wait for the next book!
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Amazing!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Exhilarating. That's the perfect word for Blood Red Road. It's impossible to put down and just as hard to forget. It's a powerful mix of emotion and adventure that left me absolutely speechless. What Saba went through to get her brother back... wow. She went through Hell and back, scarred and bleeding, so mad that steam came out her ears. (Note to self: never mess with twins). Nothing could stop her. She was like a hurricane raising havoc everywhere she went. Stand in her way and she'll knock you unconscious for a couple of days. And nothing but her brother's life meant anything to her. (Her little sister was sort of a string-along for a while)
What kept me glued to this book was the intimate tone that connected me to Saba. It felt like I knew her my entire life. I knew what she was scared of, and why she got angry so quickly, and why she disliked her little sister. I knew how her mind worked and what everything looked like through her eyes. It was... weird, because I've never encountered a book like this one before, but it was really cool at the same time. I loved every second of it.
The next best thing was Jack. (Insert dreamy sigh) He's Stephenie Meyer's Edward Cullen, Suzanne Collins's Peeta, Cassandra Clare's Jace, and Lauren Oliver's Alex all rolled into one. That boy was trouble from the start, but oh man was he worth it. Saba drove him crazy, and yet he stayed by her side throughout the entire journey, through thick and thin. He almost died for her plenty of times. With his endless charm and wit, Jack stole my heart. He's easily one of the top ten swoon-worthy YA guys ever.
His relationship with Saba took a while until it reached a climax, but there was a sexual tension building between them that fueled my anticipation. Sometimes I found myself shouting at the book 'Make out already!', and when they finally did, it lasted about a paragraph. It was quick, but romance wasn't the main point in the book, so I actually liked it. It wasn't a let down and I didn't get bored with them. I'm eager for the next kiss now.
The diction in the book is strange. It's written in a Saba's slang-ish language. It reminds me of Huckleberry Finn, but this is more futuristic. It's not hard to read, and it strengthens the connection to the main character. I found it refreshing more than anything else.
Overall, I was floored with fascination. I loved how the main character was far from perfect. I loved the thrilling atmosphere of the book. I loved the gruesome journey itself. And, of course, I loved Jack :)
I highly recommend Blood Red Road to anyone who loves a enrapturing dystopian read.
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Dystopian That Stands Out Among the Rest
(Updated: August 08, 2011)
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
[Spoiler-Free]

Summary: Saba has spent her entire life in Silverlake, a deserted wasteland, with her twin brother Lugh, her younger sister Emmi, and their Pa. She has never been outside of Silverlake and it's all she knows. Things change when a group of horsemen appear, capture her brother, and kill her father in the process. Before Lugh is taken away, Saba promises him that she will find him. Along her quest she runs into grave danger and she must fight to survive.

My Thoughts: Omigawd. This is the best book I've read all year. I am not kidding neither am I exaggerating. I devoured it. I'm going on a whim here but I think this is the next Hunger Games series (for me at least).

What I liked: This is a dystopian novel, but don't be fooled, it's not like the others, Blood Red Road stands out among the rest. It takes place in the future, but it isn't all technological, yet it works so well for the book. The setting is very unique, the land is barren, dry, dusty, etc. and it really gives the novel its character.

Another thing that stands out is the writing style. Many may be put off at first (I sure was) because it's so minimal e.g. the author uses 'fer' (for), 'cain't' (can't), 'hafta' (have to) but I found myself getting used to it around page 20 and guarantee you will too and I realized that I wouldn't want the novel written any other way.

I loved love Saba, she was stubborn, strong, determined, and she had a bit of Katniss Everdeen in her. She was so committed on finding her brother and didn't let anything get in her way. The character development in this book is impeccable. It's not just Saba who develops but everyone around her as well and I liked how the characters shared the spotlight. There is also some romance in the book which I thought was going to change the book's direction, but it only made it more awesome. The pacing is great, there is not a dull moment because there is always something going on and the action does not disappoint.

The ending is just... wow. (No spoilers of course!) When I thought the book couldn't get any better, it did. Within those last few lines, the author ended the book on the perfect note. Thank you Moria!

What I disliked: Honestly, nothing. Please just come out already book #2!

Conclusion: This book made me fall in love with YA all over again. There were moments while reading this that I was contemplating if I liked this more than the Hunger Games series. My answer... maybe ;).

Review from my blog: http://booksaur.blogspot.com/
OR video review: http://www.youtube.com/booksaur/
Good Points
- Loved the atmosphere
- Last few lines of the book
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Title deceiving, but who cares!?
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
When I had finished this book, I was so angry that I would have to wait a whole year for the next one. I literally threw the book at the wall and started screaming angrily! Why do I have to wait, this is so annoying!

I loved this book (I think you may have guessed)! This book blew me away. I was engrossed with this book, and was super sad and angry when I had finished it. Though the title is deceiving, as I thought that this book will be more gory and bloody than it was, but it still was pretty awesome.

The characters are amazing. I loved how Saba spelt a lot of things wrong, that made it seem so much more real, even though it was sometimes hard to understand. Reading that reminded me of Knife of Never Letting Go, so I was crying inwardly.

This book is purely awesome, and Katniss better watch out, as Saba is gonna kick you hard!
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Better than The Hunger Games - which I love
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
"To escape, she will have to fight. To survive, she will have to lead."

I’d heard about this series from a few of the authors I follow on Twitter who’d tweeted about it a month or so ago. Of course I wanted to know what they’re reading, so I looked it up at Barnes & Noble.com. Several things drew me in: the two-line hook above, it was likened to The Hunger Games Trilogy, which I loved, and the cover, which even without the telling series header of "Dust Lands" lets you know that there’s a wasteland and seemingly insurmountable odds happening in this book, sort of a YA "Mad Max" with a female protagonist. I love that combination. Add in the summary of a young woman who must set off on her own through unknown territory to rescue her twin brother, well, that made this book irresistible to me.

Despite, or maybe partly because of Young’s unconventional use of dialect and lack of dialogue tags (quotations), this book sucked me in right away. It quickly became as addictive as my daily caffeine habit.

Eighteen-year-old Saba is dedicated to her twin Lugh to the exclusion of everything – and everyone – else. Her whole world revolves around him. He was born two hours before Saba, defining their relationship. She describes the two of them succinctly: "Lugh goes first, always first, an I follow on behind. An that’s fine. That’s right. That’s how it’s meant to be…He’s my light. I’m his shadow." So it’s not surprising that when Lugh is captured by four men in long black robes and leather body armor, and their father killed while trying to prevent the kidnapping, Saba sets off in search of him, undaunted by the unknown, intending to leave their nine-year-old sister, Emmi, in the care of a family friend named Mercy. Saba resents Emmi, whom she blames for their mother’s death in childbirth. Mercy tells Saba about the Tonton, the men who kidnapped Lugh, and the dangers of Hopetown, where Saba believes Lugh’s been taken. Mercy also gives her a heartstone, which had belonged to Saba’s mother, and tells her that it will lead Saba to her heart’s desire. The closer she gets to what she desires, the hotter it will become.

But Emmi refuses to be left behind. She catches up to Saba, who is furious with her, especially when having to look after Emmi gets them captured and Saba sold as a cage fighter, while Emmi is held captive against Saba’s cooperation.
Saba discovers the "red hot" that allows her to survive. "…the red hot kicks in an at last I unnerstand what it is. It’s like animals. A animal will do anythin to live. Even chew off its own leg if it’s caught in a trap. That’s the red hot. An I’m gonna hafta learn to use it if I wanna survive in the Cage."

Within a month, the populace of Hopetown has dubbed Saba "The Angel of Death." She’s never lost a fight and is kept segregated from the other female fighters. She meets Epona, a fighter of her own caliber and the first real hope for escape. Epona is a member of the Free Hawks, a band of female warriors, and their leader, Maeve, partners with Saba to free all the cage fighters, rescue Emmi, and escape Hopetown. While planning their move, Saba meets Jack, a fighter on the boys’ side, who stirs unfamiliar feelings within Saba, and makes her heartstone burn, something it’s never done before.

It soon becomes apparent that Emmi doesn’t just favor Saba in looks, she’s also Saba’s mirror in personality, writ small. Though Emmi is a captive herself, she manages to pass messages between Saba and Maeve, and aids in the coup that sets the Cage and Hopetown afire. Literally. When Saba once again attempts to leave Emmi behind, this time with the Free Hawks, Jack intervenes. He’s decided to accompany Saba to Freedom Fields where Lugh is being held, and stubbornly insists that Emmi must come too.

When they reach Freedom Fields, Jack, Saba, Emmi and their friends must face the Tonton, who serve the mad king who has declared that Lugh – a boy of eighteen years born at Midwinter – must die to rejuvenate his majesty. Upon rescuing Lugh, Saba and Jack discover that Emmi has been captured by the Tonton. Fortunately, the sisters’ relationship has evolved from mutual hostility into friendship and Saba is just as determined to rescue Emmi as she was to rescue Lugh.

Colors and shades play major roles in this novel. The black of the Tonton’s uniforms, the soft pink of Saba’s heartstone, Jack’s moonlit eyes, Lugh’s light, Saba and Emmi’s dark. And the red hot that fills Saba when she fights. The red hot changes Saba, tempers her obstinate personality while sharpening her survival skills.

Saba is a heroine to be reckoned with. If you loved The Hunger Games, you’ll adore the Dust Lands series. Blood Red Road is so much grittier, starker and hopeful than The Hunger Games. Dust Lands series is the next big thing in the YA Dystopian realm.
Good Points
The writing, Saba, Jack, Emmi, Nero the crow, the setting.
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Jest Amazin
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Y'all know that I jest cain't stand dialect. Them books is the worst. I espect good and proper writin. All them misspellins and such jest get my goat. I ain't never liked one and I ain't never thought I could. I probly should of not even read this but I'm powerful stubborn. Turns out Blood Red Road's ezzackly as it should be.

I hardly expected to like this book, let alone love it. Dialect really does annoy the ever-lovin heck out of me. It's distracting, unpleasant, gives me a headache and slows me down as a reader. Basically, it's torture, plain and simple. Well, apparently, it can be done right. Moira Young has proved that and left me speechless, so it's a good thing I'm typing my review rather than vlogging it. I don't quite know precisely why her dialect works so much better, but I am plum grateful for sure that she didn't put apostrophes in place of every dropped g (ex. runnin, fightin, etc). By the end of the book, I didn't even have to work to process the text; I was completely sucked into the story, something that's never happened to me with dialect before.

Writing in dialect was not the only bold stylistic choice Moira Young made, and it's not even the boldest. She made the really odd decision not to use quotation marks. There are none in this book. However, that's not because there's no dialogue; in fact, there's plenty of it.. She doesn't mark the dialogue in any way, except by he says or I says, but even those aren't on every bit of dialogue. Rarely did I have any issue distinguishing dialogue from narration. The fact that she did this and the result emerged easily comprehensible speaks volumes to her massive talent.

This novel has some of the best characterization I have ever encountered. There is not a single character in this book that's around for more than a page that doesn't feel just as real as you or me. Their personalities are all distinct and vibrant. They leap off the page or, perhaps, pull you into the pages to spend time with them. The story had to be told with dialect, because that's who the characters are. They don't know how to read or write; they only know how to speak and that's how most people talk in this strange post-apocalytpic world.

Speaking to that, I have no clue what happened to the world, none at all. Either we're somewhere out west near a lot of deserts or something's happened to cause less rain, because most everything is arid, parched, harsh. What technology exists comes from the time before. Knowledge has been lost. Few people are familiar with book learning, and I suspect fewer still will in a couple of generations.

In case that wasn't bad enough, there's also an evil, crazy king, whose mission in life is to take over this dusty world. Guys, let me tell you: he is creepy as all hell, like Louis, the Sun King, meets Henry VIII and his festering wounds. GROSS. Plus, he has his troops, the Tontons (which I have to try really hard not to picture as tauntauns - they're people). More mysteriously, there's his right-hand man, DeMalo, handsome and haughty. There's something to him and I want to know more.

At the beginning of Blood Red Road, Saba doesn't know hardly anyone but her family. In her whole life, she's met just three other people. She's not bothered though, because that's just how life is. There's her pa, who claims to be able to read the stars, her twin brother Lugh, the light of her life, and her little sister Emmi, who she hates for having caused their mother's death (childbirth). Saba doesn't start out as an especially likable character. She hero-worships her brother and is a right terror to her sister, so much so that even I thought she was being seriously awful.

Men on horseback show up, kidnap Lugh, kill her Pa, and ride away, leaving her behind with a useless sister and desert land. She has no purpose in life but to rescue her brother. As she goes, she keeps trying to leave her sister behind (with good people to look after her) but Emmi, just as stubborn as her sister, is having none of it. Along the way, as mentioned in the blurb, Saba picks up more people, like Jack and the Free Hawks, a badass group of women.

Though I want to leave most everything for you to experience on your own, I just have to comment on the perfection that is the evolution of relationships in this book. Saba's relationship with her sister changes ever so slowly, the character arc so believable. So too is Saba's slow evolution to being able to trust people that aren't Lugh. Then, there's the romance, which made my toes curl. Saba, not being trusting, has no desire for romance and fights it just like she fights anyone who tries to kill her or hurt Lugh. This allows for a perfect slow burn. She and Jack have amazing chemistry; I just love the way he teases her. *swoons*

If Moira Young can make me love a book written in dialect, the same could happen to you. If you like post-apocalytpic novels at all, do not miss out on this one. You would be cheating yourself of serious awesomeness.
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More more more!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Blood Red Road was a book that greatly surprised me. I wasn't expecting to fall in love but, without warning, I was sucked in to Saba's world. All that hype that you saw when this book first came out? Completely and utterly spot on. I absolutely adored this story.

Saba is a tough character to love. She's stubborn, fierce as all get out, and witty too. In other words, a recipe for my perfect female character. However her stubborn attitude more often than not causes her to make very rash decisions. I'll fully admit that there were multiple times I wanted to reach in and just slap her for a moment. I understood why Moira Young created her this way though. Saba is used to having to take care of herself. She's used to being a lone wolf.

That is, of course, until she meets Jack. Ah, Jack. Witty, lovable, and sometimes completely lost Jack. He was definitely my favorite character. The perfect opposite to everything that Saba was. Their relationship was rocky, it was real, it was amazing! All work and no play makes Saba a dull girl. Good thing Jack was around! Seriously though, every single character that travels alongside these two shines off the page. They are so well-crafted, that it is hard not to find yourself rooting for them as you read.

What else can I say to make you pick up this book? Refreshingly, Blood Red Road is unlike a lot of other dystopian novels out there. Instead of focusing solely on a society, with a bit of characterization thrown in, Young's book is all about the characters. You'll find yourself beside them as they fight to survive, tackle problems thrown in their path, and wrestle with the age old question of who they really are. It seems odd that this would work so well, but it honestly does. I was able to get so lost in Saba's world, that I honestly didn't want to come back out.

At the end of the day, if you are a reader of dystopian fiction this is a book that you're going to need to pick up. The twists and turns in the plot will delight you. The fierce, dogged pace of the story will make you feel like you're on the brink of exhaustion. Then you'll meet the characters and realize that there is no turning back. Moira Young did a fabulous job with this book. I'm just going to come right out and say I want more. Soon.
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Blood Red Road
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
To say that Blood Red Road is an underhyped, undervalued, and underappreciated piece of post-apocalyptic fiction is a massive understatement. I picked this book out of a list of 5 titles (for a buddy read), not really knowing what I was getting into and more interested in bookish discussion than the book itself. But within twenty pages, Moira Young had me hooked.

Like A.C. Gaughen’s Scarlet (one of my favorite 2012 debut novels), Blood Red Road is narrated by the protagonist using vernacular—a rough, uneducated style of speech that goes far in showing who Saba is and how her life has been lived. At eighteen, Saba is illiterate, has never left the wastelands where she was born, and has only seen three or four other people besides her immediate family. After the parade of special snowflake protagonists who populate young adult fiction, I found Saba to be a welcome change. She is very flawed, especially in regards to her relationship with her younger sister, Emmi, but she’s fierce, often violent, knows how to win a fight, doesn’t let romance dictate her actions, and, in the end, admits to her mistakes. Maybe I didn’t connect with Saba too much, and maybe she could have used a bit more oomph. But I thought she was just about perfect for this story, and I loved her narration.

Saba aside, I was also extremely impressed with the way the entirety Blood Red Road was motivated by family and the characters’ willingness to make sacrifices and put themselves in danger to preserve family ties. That was a huge thing for me. Toward the beginning of the novel, Saba’s twin brother Lugh is taken captive by a bunch of horsemen. So she’s stuck with their nine-year-old sister, Emmi, who she doesn’t like and has a terrible relationship with. Saba knows she needs to take care of her sister, but since Lugh is her reason for living, she can’t just write him off. So she leaves Emmi behind and goes after him…but Emmi won’t be left behind.

From there, it was wonderful to watch the developing relationship between the two sisters. Saba has resented Emmi all her life, really for reasons that Emmi couldn’t control. And Emmi, who’s never been treated kindly by her older sister, has gotten to be rather bitter. As they journey out of the wasteland into the corrupted and disgusting remnants of human civilization, they form a bond. And as Saba ventures further and further out of her comfort zone, she meets new people—some less trustworthy than others—and learns finally to value herself not as her brother Lugh’s lesser shadow, but as a strong and capable woman in her own right.

I do have to say a quick thing on the romance advertised in the blurb. Jack the character doesn’t come in until later on in the book, and not once, ever, does Moira Young give the developing relationship between him a Saba center-stage. That aspect was just not important in the grand scheme of things, and I think the whole situation shows the blurb-writer’s capitulation to the idea that teens only want to read about kissing. Yes, Jack was a likable love interest, well-matched to Saba. But that wasn’t even for an instant the most important thing going on in Blood Red Road.

As far as plot construction goes, I liked this quite a bit. Young is a good writer, she keeps reader engagement high, and she did manage to surprise me at a few points, simply because she was good at distracting me, just as Saba was distracted. I must confess that I’m surprised that there’s a sequel in the works, since I don’t think it’s necessary that the characters or the story continue in future installments. But that’s just me.

I think that readers who claim that Tris Prior and her buddies are “kickass” protagonists ought to make the acquaintance of Saba. Readers who are looking for well-rounded characters, gripping and action-intensive plot, and a unique setting should read Blood Red Road. For a book that I didn’t expect much out of, I definitely got my money’s worth.
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