Author: Moira Young
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released: 7th June 2011
Blood Red Road is not your average dystopia. Saba is not your average heroine. This is not average book.
And that makes is brilliant.
Saba is content with her life. Sure, she doesn’t have a good relationship with her younger sister, and her father is crazy, and they don’t live in the best of conditions – but as long as she has her brother Lugh, everything’s fine. Until one day, Lugh gets taken. Clueless as to why it was him specifically the kidnappers were after, Saba sets off on a journey to get him back to matter what. Along the way she meets both trouble and friends, and learns just how strong she really is an a world both ravaged and harsh.
I was warned that the writing would be something of a shock before I read this. So of course, I opened it and prepared myself for what might come. I was surprised when I found out the cause of all the fuss, but it didn’t hold me back from turning the page. If anything, it kept me going. I loved how it reflected a particular dialect and way of speaking, and how it sort of emphasised how backward society is in the book, as it is in other dystopias. Moira Young has taken an incredibly brave step; I can see how some people might instantly dislike it. Fortunately for me, I loved it, and I adapted to it surprisingly quickly. Then again, I have read A Clockwork Orange. If I can read that, I can read anything. ;)
Saba was a fantastic protag. She is so. Utterly. Focused. When her brother is taken, all she wants is to get him back. Everything she does it meant to help her get him back. No distractions allowed. Sometimes I’m reading a book and I’m shaking my head or raising my eyebrows at how quick the girl is to let the guy get under her skin and distract her. Not Saba. I was surprised at how fiercely she felt about her brother, and it was sweet.
Jack was just a treasure. He’s a vivid, lively, dimensional character. Funny, sweet, serious, you get to know exactly what kind of a person he is. There’s very much this push-and-pull sort of relationship between him and Saba. Jack is very unwilling to lay out his feelings for her and forgive her every time she pushes him away until she recognises what she’s done and actively try to do something to reverse it. The dynamics between them were constantly changing and I appreciated the difference between their relationship and a tonne of others I could mention. Initially when I met DeMalo, the King’s second-in-command, I thought there was going to be a love triangle. There wasn’t. There was, however, something. DeMalo has an edge to him that makes me very hopeful of seeing more of him in the second book.
The Hawks were another set of brilliant characters. The King, while dangerous, was also quite comical, to me at least. The way he dressed and something he said in a fight scene just made me smile. I loved the grittiness and the world-building, and just almost everything in this book. I had every scene and image clear in my head. A truly wonderful book that has me excited to see more, Blood Red Road definitely makes one of my favourites I’ve read this year.