Blood Red Road by Moira Young

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Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Format: eGalley (courtesy of GalleyGrab)
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult
Publication Date:  6.7.2011
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.

A note about the writing: this book was jarring to read at first. I didn't get the note in the description about it having a "poetically minimal writing style" until after I started. That note doesn't lie; there are no grammar tags, lots of short sentences, and things are spelled phonetically, according to the population's heavily accented speech...meaning, of course, that this will be a turn-off for a lot of readers. That's understandable, but I urge you to keep reading, even if you can't make sense of it. It is definitely worth it!

In my own case, after the first page, I slapped on a thick western/hick accent in my head, and suddenly the dialect made perfect sense. It was then that I understood the genius of it all, being written out in the jarring, abrupt, way the main character thinks. It added a depth to the story that could not have come from anywhere else.

Blood Red Road has managed to make its way onto my list of best books read this year. From the moment I began reading, I was taken on an adventure. I was entertained through every page, and was left satisfied, but ready for more. That's not to say that it is perfect; it suffers from plot holes and lacks complete world building. I'm still not sure when in the future this took place, or why the world came to be the way it is in the book. But you know what? It also made me forget to care about any of that, and it did it with exceptional characters and character growth.

Saba is one of the best heroines I have come across in a long time. She's uneducated, inexperienced, and can be pretty mean, but she doesn't let any of that slow her down. She is smart, observant, learns fast, and does not hesitate to do what needs to be done. Some have compared her to Katniss from The Hunger Games, and I have to agree...to a point. Both are survivors, strong, and able to adapt to their situations. Neither of them want to be in their current situations, but they both do what they have to. In all other ways, they are each their own character. And Saba, by the way, is a fantastic character.

Saba's relationship with her sister Emmi is a big, satisfying, part of the story. They don't get along; Saba has always seen Emmi as a nuisance, and is none too nice to her. We watch as their relationship evolves as the story goes on, and each tries to put their past behind them.

I've got to hand it to Moira Young; the romance between Jack and Saba is pretty hot...and it is completely clean! A few kisses and that's it. The rest is conversation and arguments...a few well placed words.

Jack, even without being the romantic interest, is my favorite character. He's rough and has a "lone ranger" vibe going on (think of a teenager mix of Rhett Butler and Clint Eastwood--pick any western), and most importantly: he stands up to Saba whenever she needs it.

Wait. Rewind. What?

Yes, Jack isn't the doting, cater-to-your-every-need type of boy. Saba isn't a damsel in distress, and he doesn't treat her like one. He doesn't hesitate to let Saba know when she's being rude, or has gone too far. And while he's doing that he somehow gets her to see inside herself, and actually empowers her to continue being strong and brave. THAT is the kind of guy I want to read about!

THIS is the kind of book you've been waiting for. Read it!

Read this if:
...you love dystopia, and you want an adventurous read.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Some swearing and some violence, which is as nondescript as possible.}


  1. I'm always a bit wary when it comes to the use of unusual/experimental writing styles. I appreciate that some authors try to be different, but sometimes the writing style ends up feeling gimmicky and not at all engaging. Also, I'm disappointed to learn that this book has virtually no world building. World building is a must for me, especially when it comes to stories like these.

    I recently put this on my TBR list, but honestly, I'm on the fence about reading it.

    Thanks for the in-depth review. It gave me some things to think about.

  2. I'm putting this on my to-read list. It sounds wonderful!

  3. Yay! Glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I'm so excited to finally read this. Great review!

  4. i can't wait to read this. according to goodreads this was published last june 2, but i don't know how long it will take for this book to be available here in the phils. :(

  5. Marg: I hate it when there isn't a lot of world building too, but for some reason, it didn't bother me in this one. I think I was so distracted by what was going on, that I didn't even think of it. I'm glad I helped at least a little! :)

    Lisa: Yay! I it is sooo good!

    Mia: I'll be keeping an eye out for your review when you read it. :)

    Miss Do-it-all: I hope it doesn't take long! It's such a great book.

  6. You just made me decide to read this :) Thank you!

  7. Juju: Sweet! I totally hope you love it.

  8. I just got the audiobook. I have a hard time coping with experimental/phoenetic writing styles, so I think this will be a good way for me to "read" the book. I've heard so many great things about it!!

  9. Sarah: I understand; I have a hard time with experimental writing styles as well. Sometimes I just can't take it. I'm glad you'll be listening to this one! I think it will sound really cool as an audio.

  10. Great review! I agree with you wholeheartedly that this is an amazing YA dystopian series that fans of this genre should definitely check out!


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