Saturday, 22 December 2012

Book Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1)

This review is also posted on my account: The Writer of Dream Things.

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 four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba's world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba’s unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization. 

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetic writing style, and an epic love story—making Moira Young is one of the most exciting new voices in teen fiction.

--image and description from

Blood Red Road threw me back to the feel of old Westerns--and I loved it. I thought the atmosphere of all the dust and the desert and the ghost towns was absolutely fantastic.

However, there were definitely things I thought could be improved.

For the most part, I loved the interaction between Saba, Emmi, and Lugh. Saba's feelings towards Emmi felt realistic given the situation, and I loved watching them grow closer throughout the book. But Emmi started grating on my nerves when she just wouldn't listen to Saba--not once--and it kept getting them into trouble. You'd think she'd learn.

I also loved how the action wasn't too gratuitous. For the most part, the book was fairly fast-paced; there was always something happening. However, some of the things, like Saba finding the Lugh's necklace in the Wrecker settlement right before it would have been buried forever, just came together a bit too neatly for Saba. 

Then, at times, the pacing of the book was just too slow. The beginning was really fun and I read through the first third very quickly. But once they reached Hopetown, my interest started to dwindle.

Which leads to my next point.

The characters. I think the reason I found the book slow at times is because other than Saba and Emmi, the rest of the characters just weren't fully developed. They were just names. When Saba makes friends with the Free Hawks, I wondered why. It's like I just blinked, and it happened. I just didn't connect to any of them, which made it hard when Epona and Ike died.

Which leads to my next issue. The romance.

The heartstone part threw me for a loop. As well, I felt that Jack and Saba didn't have enough time to develop their relationship. It was insta-love on his side, and... I don't know what it was on hers. I liked them, but it just bothered me how well they seemed to know each other after so little time. They didn't even talk that much either, but there was Saba claiming to know his true self. Excuse me, what the heck? Maybe I'm just too cynical...

Lastly, there were too many unexplained things. The stars, DeMalo, the entire background of their world. But I'm not too bummed out about this, because that's what sequels are for!

Note that I'm also not a fan of dystopias, but this one's western background reeled me in. Plus it's by a Canadian author! Woot! So for those looking for a book bursting with action and a sweltering-hot atmosphere, Blood Red Road might be for you!

4 stars!