Blood Red Road (Dust Lands #1) by Moira Young
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
on June 7, 2011
Hardcover 459 pages
Paperback 480 pages
Audio: Narrated by Heather Lind
From Goodreads: 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 had heard a lot of good things about this book. I have also heard a lot of complaints, well maybe not complaints exactly, more like grumbles, about how the book is written. Moira Young writes like her narrator talks. Which I think really helps to get into the mind of the character. Mind you, I haven't actually read the book yet. I listened to the audio. And it was amazing. Heather Lind got into character completely and narrated all the nuances of the writing of the book to a tee. I know, I said I hadn't read it, but I loved it so much, I bought it, so have looked through and saw the writing.
Blood Red Road is a gripping, raw novel that leaves everything exposed. There is no sugar coating anything in this world. From the dried up lands of Silverlake to the thriving chaal plantations of Freedom Fields, Young takes all she can out of the lands and the characters and throws even more at them than one would think they could take.
Saba, as a heroine, is not much of a role model. She is hard, angry, has a chip on her shoulder, can be mean to anyone, and doesn't take anything from anyone. She is a far cry from the simpering YA protagonists of many books out there. And she is one of my favorites. It helps that under all of her hard layers, she is as vulnerable as anyone else. Her biggest weakness is getting close enough to anyone that they will figure that out. So the only person she relies on and is close to, is her twin brother Lugh. He is blond to her black, friendly to her standoffish, helpful to her selfish. They round each other out.
And then he is taken.
Saba is left with her much younger sister, who she has never had much time for, and can't stand to be around. And what makes it worse, is that Emmi follows Saba to try and find Lugh, and now Saba is stuck with her. What Saba doesn't expect is to find that Emmi is more like her than she ever realized.
Along the way, they meet up with many different people from many different backgrounds, and not all of them are as nice to be around as Saba. If that is possible. She finds herself in one dire situation after another, and even worse than the one before.
The two of them do manage to find themselves in a band of revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, along with Jack, a vagabond with secrets of his own.
Together they set out to get Lugh back from a fate possibly worse than death. And with every step closer to him, Saba finds out more about herself and the people around her than she ever wanted to. And with Jack chipping at her protective armor every chance he gets which means Saba is constantly on the defensive and tensions are high. Will the mismatched band of rebels all make it to their destination together? Or will there be dissension along the way?
You just have to read to find out... and you will be glad you did.
This book is amazing. One of my favorites. As I previously stated, after listening to this book, I had to buy a hard copy so I could read it anytime I wanted to pick it up. Or even if I just wanted to read bits and pieces here and there. Definitely one for the collection.