Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Review)

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
Pages: 459
Source: Purchased
Format: E-Book
Rating: ★★★★☆

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.

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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!

22 thoughts on “Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Review)

  1. booksblurbsandbeyond

    This was a great start to a strong trilogy but the second book didn’t do it for me. Saba is a great protagonist and definitely one to look out for. I agree with the romance comment, I found it too insta love for me. The sibling bond is definitely one of the strong points of the book.

  2. Hey Ashers!

    No quotation marks? I don’t know if I can handle that. And since I’m not huge into dystopian novels, and the insta-love would get under my skin, it looks like this book’ll go on my Probably Never pile. Thanks for the warning! Glad you liked it, though. =)

  3. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews

    Ooh this one is on my TBR, I really love the concept. I had no idea that it didn’t use quotation marks though, that makes me quite hesitant to read it, haha. Thanks for the heads up though because at least I can start to prepare myself for it now. I still really want to read it and it’s good to hear you enjoyed it! Great review 🙂

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      It’s not 100% insta-love – it was just the type of relationship where I wasn’t sure why the characters were drawn together, so kind of like a “destiny” scenario. I would still recommend this though! There’s not that much of an emphasis on the romance throughout the book.

  4. Michelle @ Addictively Turning Pages

    I really didn’t like this book when I read it a few years ago. Despised it. Couldn’t stand the lack of quotation marks and the horrible grammar. I realize that, like you said, that this represents the lack of education but I couldn’t finish it. I found it was really, REALLY hard to read. The romance also didn’t do it for me, and I remember some events were really interesting but I couldn’t continue it for the life of me. I even flipped to the last page (I know, scandalous) to see if it was worth finishing…

    I did read this when it first came out so maybe I could tolerate the story now, but I don’t think I can pick it up again…

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Yeah, the lack of quotation marks and accents that the characters had definitely took some time getting used to – I think I adjusted fairly quickly, but I could totally see how they would continue to be annoying. Haha, I flip to the last page of a book when I’m really fed up with reading the book – I’ve even done it with a few hyped up books, so I definitely understand that feeling. It’s too bad you didn’t enjoy it more!

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