Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
The Sisters Say: Exciting, Emotional, and EPIC

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.

This book should be listed in the dictionary under the word epic.

I could stop there and my review would probably be sufficient, but for your sake, I’ll keep going.

Blood Red Road centers around a girl named Saba. Saba has always followed behind her brother Lugh—in birth (she was born the second twin), in daily life, and in danger. When her brother is kidnapped, she vows to follow him, to find him and rescue him. She’s never been more than a mile from her home in Silverlake—a vast, desert wasteland—but she travels days upon days on foot in her attempts to follow her brother’s kidnappers.

Young’s description of the environment was so vivid that I could imagine the sweeping sands around my legs, the burn of the sun on my skin, and the sting of the dust in my eyes.

It gets started a bit slowly (though the writing is exquisite from page one), but when it does get into the plot it plows on full-speed ahead. Saba must battle dangerous environments, dangerous characters, and dangerous desires if she’s going to reach her brother in time to save him. Her first stop to find her brother is Hopetown, and from the minute she got there, I couldn’t put the book down. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll say that while in Hopetown she’s given the nickname “Angel of Death.” That’s also where she meets Jack.

Oh Jack. He’s charming with a side of cocky—just how I like them. J The romance between Jack and Saba takes a while to kick in, but when it did, It was more addicting than any romance I’d read in quite a while.

While I’m talking about characters, I should talk a bit about Saba. She’s the opposite of her brother (and of Jack). She’s a survivor. She’s stubborn, rude, and not at all the typical hero. This book has me thinking a lot about “unlikeable characters.” There is such a fine balance (especially when dealing with first person) between creating a character with flaws and creating a character who is unlikeable. Saba has flaws. She can be mean, selfish, reckless, and unforgiving. And yet, her character never put me off. I still rooted for her, even when she openly admitted to not loving her little sister as much as she loves her brother. Even now, I’m still trying to pinpoint why. Were her flaws understandable given her background? Did her passion and her devotion to saving her brother win me over? I think it might be simply that her character was so well fleshed out. I tell my acting students all the time that they must think about opposites. With all our capacity to love, there is just as much capacity to hate. Indeed, our closest relationships are the ones in which we FEEL the most—and often we jump to the extremes of love and hate easier in those relationships than in all others. I think a part of me understood that hate is still a feeling, and that Saba’s hatred of her little sister only proved her capacity to love her just as much.

This book had all the makings of a stand alone book. No incomplete, cliffhanger ending. This story had a complete beginning, middle, and end (and what an amazing beginning, middle, and end it was). However, I do understand this book is the first in the Dustlands series. I am so excited to see what happens next, and most importantly to learn about the world of this book. It’s set some time in the future where droughts and dust have taken over the land. Cars and technology are considered relics of a past civilization called “Wreckers.” Other than that, we don’t know much about the history that led up to this point. Though my guess is that it has something to do with climate change (and considering the monstrous drought we’re having in Texas, it’s pretty easy for me to believe the world could just dry up).

All in all—I adored this book. The ONLY thing I didn’t care for was the way the book was written in dialect. I felt it was sometimes inconsistent, but that was very easy to overlook.

Like I said at the beginning…

Characters: EPIC
Setting: EPIC
Story-line: EPIC