Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books
Release date: June 2nd 2011
Paperback, 492 pages.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by: Jen.
In a lawless future land, where life is cheap and survival is hard, Saba has been brought up in isolated Silverlake. She never sees the dangers of the destructive society outside. When her twin brother is snatched by mysterious black-robed riders, she sets outon an epic quest to rescue him. The story's searing pace, its spare style, the excitement of its fabulously damaged world, its unforgettably vivid characters, its violent action and glorious lovestory make this a truly sensational YA debut novel.
Moira Young’s Blood Red Road is a haunting novel that stays with the reader long after the last page is finished. The dystopian world that Young creates is a stark, raw landscape that serves as a warning about what the future may possibly hold if we continue to abuse our natural resources. Ignorance and violence are recurring themes that make this survival story shocking and at times hard to stomach.
Saba lives a simple life in a barren desert. Since her mothers death the only people she has are her Pa, her twin brother Lugh, and little sister Emmi. Life at Silverlake is not easy. Food and water are scarce and rarely has Saba ever seen another human. Until one scorching day when a group of four horsemen bearing black robes appear and everything goes horribly wrong. Pa is dead and Lugh is gone, leaving Saba and Emmi alone to fend for themselves. Yet, Saba has no intention of losing the one person who means the most to her and immediately sets off on a treacherous journey to rescue her brother.
Initially, I had a difficult time connecting with Saba. In the first chapters she appears much younger than eighteen. I was expecting her to be no more than fifteen given her words and actions. Once she is left on her own she does mature and continues to do so throughout the entire book. My other problem with Saba in the beginning was her seething hatred for her sister Emmi. Saba’s mother died two days after Emmi’s birth and Saba openly hates her sister for it. I felt a much stronger connection to Emmi and found Saba to be unlikable during the first four sections of the book. Then Saba makes a horrible mistake. Ignoring Emmi’s warnings Saba accepts a ride across the Sandsea from Rooster and Miz Pinch. Suddenly Saba is stripped of all her weapons and chained to a bunk. The Pinch’s have taken her captive in order to force her into entering the cage fights in Hopetown, a city ruled by a brutal king who keeps his subjects oppressed through ignorance and drugs. If Saba refuses to do what Miz Pinch tells her it is Emmi who will be abused. This is the turning point in the sister’s relationship and where the story really turns intense. Saba is given no choice, but to fight to the death in order to save herself. Although her situation seems hopeless Saba never loses her determination to find her brother and save her sister.
The writing in Blood Red Road is unique as the story is written in Saba’s voice. Her dialect is very basic and the writing itself is phonetic. I was leery of this when I first began reading, afraid that the dialect would become cumbersome and difficult to wade through. I was happy to find that the words flowed smoothly and added to the imagery of this world where very few can read and write.
Blood Red Road is not a story for everyone. There is little joy and light within the pages that are so laden with death and violence. Yet, once I finally connected with the main character I was captivated by her struggles. I wanted to see Saba beat those who had destroyed her life, save her brother and sister, and find happiness in a world that offered little to smile about. Moira Young is a very talented new writer whose series is guaranteed to make an impact on the young adult dystopian genre. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for her fierce heroine next.