Author: Moira Young
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Published: June 7, 2011
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Source: S&S Galley Grab
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.
Saba lives her life in a barren world with only her father, younger sister and her twin brother to keep her company. Despite the fact that the world is in ruins and they are all each other has, Saba is okay because she knows she will always have them. When a band of unknown savages take her brother from the family though and irreparably damage their small family, Saba has to learn to fight to get him back - not just for her self, but for her little sister. But the world outside of Silverlake is a far cry from home, and it's as savage as it gets. Is she strong enough to do what must be done to save her brother and bring her family back together, or will she become just another bit of rubble littering their world?
Blood Red Road is entirely unlike any book I've ever read in my history of reviewing young adult books. I say this almost completely as a positive thing. Author Moira Young has spun a world that's every bit as dark and dismal as your worst nightmares. There was absolutely nothing in Saba's world that I envied or longed for - in terms of the physical world, itself. With a narrator that's rough around the edges in both dialect and personality, Blood Red Road presented a unique challenge for me. I had to not only learn to understand how Saba spoke, but I had to find the patience to watch her grow because it's in her growth that Blood Red Road comes alive.
Saba begins the book as a bit of a selfish character, in my humble opinion. She loves Lugh, her older brother, but she quite nearly despises her younger sister, Emmie, because her mother died giving birth to her. The relationship she had with her siblings was hard for me to fathom because I, personally, felt it was very self-centered. That said, once the action and plot moved past the basic scene-setting and development and the action began in Blood Red Road, I began to see some depth to her character and that, in turn, made her become more endearing to me. I will, however, state that Blood Red Road got off to a rocky start for me, only because I wasn't expecting the writing style. It's very raw and unpolished, and I struggled to come to terms with the voice, until I got to know Saba. Because of her character and her development, I now feel that the voice made Blood Red Road ring true and made the story more powerful. Furthermore, with a malevolent ruler, a mysterious band of captors and a devilishly handsome romantic interest, Blood Red Road had a bit of everything I loved all packaged in an entirely new story for me.
Despite the difficult beginning, I'm extremely glad I stuck with Blood Red Road. Because the voice is uncommon, I think it has the power to become that much more unique in a very crowded young adult genre. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA fiction, especially those who enjoy dystopian novels. I also suggest that if you do read it, be patient. It's a slow-burning book that builds in intensity and leads the way for another powerful series.
I received this eARC free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.