Monday, July 23, 2012

Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
4/5 stars
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2011
459 pages
YA Post-Apocalyptic

Source: Library

I want to start with something I'm very glad I knew before picking up this book. It is written in its own distinct dialect that is not the traditional proper English. "Ain't"s, "cain't"s, and dropped "g"s abound in this book. While this is something that normally bothers me, I think it helped that I was prepared. It also helped that the language is very phonetic. I could hear it so clearly in my head and I imagine this could be a really good audiobook, depending on the narrator(s).

That said, let's move on to setting, characters, and plot. The setting is the distant future with a family out in the hinterlands, at least a day's ride from other people. Father, twins Lugh and Saba, and youngest child Emmi are barely surviving in the parched landscape until a mysterious group of men kidnap Lugh and leave their father dead. Now Saba will do anything to bring back her beloved brother and this sets her off on an epic quest.

Saba is the main character and boy is she prickly! My least favorite thing about her was her dislike of her younger sister, who she blames for the death of their mother. While acknowledging the realism of that, it's the opposite of how I feel about my younger sister (who I adore) so it was painful to read at times. She is really mean to Emmi who, to her credit, never gives up and is very much in the mold of her older sister with her incredible stubbornness and perseverance. But beyond that, Saba is strong, not just physically but emotionally and mentally. She undergoes terrible traumas on her journey to save Lugh and always keeps her head up for the next moment.

However, sometimes the plot seemed to almost stall, lingering in one place instead of high-octane action all the time. And a lot of things seemed too easy, too coincidental and it made it hard for me to suspend my disbelief. The big climax at the end with rescuing Lugh felt too short and I wanted to be blown back by the suspense and excitement, whereas I was able to put down this book at several critical junctures without feeling too much loss.

One last element to mention and not to spoil anything for you but there is a bit of romance...and I loved it! I found the male love interest a little rogueish in the best possible way and I love how Saba kept pushing him away despite the obvious signs of interest. She knew there was something about him, a cocky smile, the way he pokes through her defenses, and the way he lives by his wits. I really liked him as a love interest and as a character.

Overall: Really good-I enjoyed the journey a lot and I am happy to discover there is a sequel due out later this year titled Rebel Heart.

Cover: I think the cover is very evocative of the dusty setting; the sand plays a critical role at multiple parts of the story.


  1. I really liked this one, although there were a few things that I found annoying also! :--) Didn't know a sequel was almost out!

  2. Thanks for honest review, I don't know if its for me right now... with the slow plot and the language issue.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  3. I have been thinking about reading this one, but the library only have it in Swedish and translations are booo..still i wanna try it

  4. Like Blodeuedd I've been thinking about reading this one too. I think I'm going to love it, because seriously it sounds really good. It's now officially on my tbrlist. :)

  5. Glad you enjoyed this one! Despite the flaws you mentioned, I really loved this book. I've heard from others that the audiobook version is even better!

    Great review :)

  6. I started reading this book awhile ago and then stopped fifty pages in because I got bored. Maybe I'll retry this one because I've heard lots of good things about it! Awesome review:)

  7. I've heard such good things about this but just have not gotten around to reading it. Great review and I now curious to see if it's out in audio.
    Truly Bookish

  8. I have heard the most amazing things about this book. I really struggle with books written in dialect, so I may try to find the audio version.
    Great review -- thanks :)

  9. It really was tough to read about Saba's treatment of Emmi ... but I was happy to see their relationship develop with Saba's character.

  10. Different dialects are often a hit or miss with me - it has to be done just so, without the author trying to make it take center stage to the story. I've had this book sitting around since, well it's probably an ARC, so since before it came out and still haven't read it. One of our other reviewers read it and said it wasn't a "must read" for me, so it's been waiting. It might be time to move it higher up the stack now!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

  11. I am so excited to read this one! I just got my copy in the mail and I am also a little nervous with the dialect thing but, we will see if I like it. Great review I just want to read it even more!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  12. I got this one a few weeks ago as a Kindle special. I'm so excited to read it. I've read a lot of great reviews, your included. I was aware of the writing and not unlike you because I'm prepared I know I'll deal with it better. Good point on the audio tip. I may listen to it instead of read it. Also, it saddens me to know the MC is mean to her younger sister. What a bummer, maybe she will eventually forgive her and they can move forward as more of a team. I'm also very amped about the romance. It doesn't sound like insta love, which I hate. Nicely reviewed.


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