Title: Blood Red Road
Series: Dust Lands
Author: Moira Young
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: June 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.
All book reviews I write are spoiler-free!
Rating: 4/5 stars
Blood Red Road is the first book in the Dust Lands trilogy. This was a strong start to the trilogy.
Before I say anything else, let me first warn you that this book does not use quotation marks. Yes, there’s no quotation marks to discern speech – I think the purpose of this is to symbolize the main character’s lack of education. In addition to the lack of quotation marks, the characters have accents and to further emphasize their rural upbringings. I got used to this about halfway through the story, but it’s something to keep in mind before going into the book.
Saba is the protagonist – she’s tough, capable, and unapologetic. I absolutely loved her tenacity and unwavering mindset. Her physical and mental strength may have been unrealistic at points, but that arguably made parts of the book even more fun to read.
There’s an emphasis on family in this book. It made me yearn for strong sibling relationships myself after feeling the family love and struggles vicariously through the characters. Whether or not you have any siblings that you’re close to, you’ll feel the despair, frustration, and limitless love that comes with the territory of having siblings.
There was a solid amount of action throughout this story. Just when you think things have settled down, something new is triggered that immerses the reader in more action scenes. Some of the later scenes were a bit too prolonged in my opinion, but I would’ve preferred that to no action at all.
There isn’t much world-building – the world is actually fairly linear. There’s only Silverlake, Crosscreek, Hopetown, Darktrees, and Freedom Fields… Do you see a pattern there? That’s all there really is to this world, at least what was mentioned in this first book. That being said, there’s a good amount of adventure and the characters don’t get stagnant in their locations.
One thing that I didn’t particularly like in the book was the romance. I personally felt like some romances in this book were too insta-lovey for my liking. That’s probably my biggest hesitation for continuing the series – I don’t particularly care to see what happens to some couples. That being said, I know that there were people who really enjoyed the romance in the book, so it’s more of a personal preference.
I would definitely recommend this to book lovers who enjoy reading dystopia with a strong headed female protagonist. There were very few slow parts in the book, if at all, and the story makes you want to cheer on the main characters and anticipate what’s going to happen next. There’s not a large cliffhanger at the end of this book, so you can read it knowing that you won’t feel obligated to immediately read the next book. Even if you do feel the urge to immediately read the next book, the whole trilogy is already out so you can binge read it.
If you’ve read this book, let me know in the comments what you thought about Blood Red Road and the series as a whole! If you haven’t read this book, feel free to ask any questions or let me know if you’re going to read this book!