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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Blood Red Road (Dust Lands #1) by Moira Young

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: June 7, 2011
Pages: 459
Source: Won from That's Swell!
Rating: 5 Stars



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.

In short: Blood Red Road by Moira Young was an entirely engrossing and exciting read with emotionally gorgeous writing and a fiercely strong heroine.
I was completely and utterly ENRAPTURED while reading Blood Red Road, more than any other book I've read this year. The unique writing style, the memorable and charming characters, the intriguing and enigmatic world - every aspect of Blood Red Road grabbed me instantly and did not let go until the very end. I loved loved LOVED Blood Red Road and would have no trouble including it among my favourite all-time reads. Within this gritty and barren post-apocalyptic desert wasteland of a world, with its frequent sandstorms and violent cage fights, emerges a FIERCE heroine on an epic journey to save her brother.

Blood Red Road is written in an uneducated dialect with no quotation marks. Some people might be turned off by the style of writing, at least in the beginning. But I thought it had personality. I felt the sparse prose really contributed to Saba's voice and the novel's atmosphere - it really brought the book to life! This flow of consciousness type of writing seems to have the effect of making the writing flow quickly as well as enabling the reader to truly FEEL what Saba goes through, making for a very fast-paced and emotional read. Moira Young may be a debut author, but girl can WRITE!

Saba has a laundry list of flaws as a character: she's bull-headed, selfish, and harsh. Not particularly likeable, at least at first. But over the course of Blood Red Road we get to see another side of her: fiercely loyal and determined and somehow also sensitive and vulnerable. And FEISTY! Her desperate plight to save her beloved brother, her fortitude in the cage fighting arena, her strongly protective nature towards those that she loves, and her faithfulness to her friends and family all endeared her to me immediately.

In fact, all the characters, both primary and secondary, are pretty amazing and I loved seeing Saba interact with them. The romance between Saba and Jack is just - OH SWOON! The romantic tension and banter was just perfect. They worked as a great counterbalance to one another and were never afraid to stand up to each other. But I think I may have enjoyed the growth in the relationship between Saba and her younger sister, Emmi, even more, as their relationship grows from a place of disdain to one of respect.

It really is no surprise Blood Red Road resonated with me so strongly considering it has a lot of elements in common with my favourite non-Harry Potter series, the Chaos Walking trilogy: stream of consciousness style of writing, a loveable animal pal, and an uneducated and ill-tempered protagonist who is hard to like initially, but grows into a strong-willed and persevering character that you can't help but root for. I HIGHLY recommend Blood Red Road to anyone looking for a unique and surprising story with strong characters and exquisite writing. The sequel, Rebel Heart, will be released October 30, 2012.

And, thanks to Big Honcho Media, I am also giving away a Rebel Heart prize pack (including a custom t-shirt and a copy of Rebel Heart to two lucky winners!

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40 comments :

  1. Hey, Aylee!
    Great review- I was one of those people put off a little by the writing style, but that's probably because of the e-reader platform I read it on. That said, I love this new cover for the book. The paperbacks are nowhere to be found in India yet, so I suppose I'll wait a bit and give it another try in book format.

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    1. Ah yes, ereaders can sometimes mess things up and it can diminish your reading experience. I would really like to hear what you think of it and the writing style in physical book format - I hope you love it!!

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  2. It seriously sounds like THE perfect book !! I always see it in my local bookshop but for some reason I've never bought a copy :I think I will next time I go there !! Thanks for the fabulous review Aylee !

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    1. Cool, I hope you end up loving it Elodie! And that you have no problem with the writing style.

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  3. sounds interesting i'm thinking of giving it a try now reading this ...

    Le' Grande Codex

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  4. What a great review! I loved this one too!

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    1. Thanks :) It pleases me that so many people are fans!

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  5. I reallllllllllly must must must try this one.

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  6. I have NO IDEA why I haven't read this book yet. Now that it's in paperback, I have no good excuse. Your review has definitely convinced me to give it a try!

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    1. Hey, it happens. We hear about a book that sounds perfect for us and we feel the need to read it NOW... but then something else comes up and we forget. Hope you love it, Kat!

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  7. I have had Blood Red Road sitting on my shelf FOREVER just waiting for me to read it. I was kicking myself before for not getting to it yet and now I am kicking myself even more. You make it sound awesome! I'm especially excited about the unique writing style as I am always looking for stories that stand out for being different. Saba sounds like someone I would definitely connect to and respect and I think I would love Jack, I love a good swoon! Great review, Aylee. I will be reading this one soon!

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    1. Don't feel bad, my copy had been sitting on my shelf forever, too. I finally was able to find the time between my review books to "reward" myself and I right away chose this one. I think you'll really love it if you like original books with great characters! I hope you'll be able to find the time soon :)

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  8. I thought the book was ok - did not like the writing style at all! It was too distracting, and I didn't like Saba, at first - she was starting to grow on me by the end of the book, though :) I will pick up Rebel Heart eventually

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    1. Ah yes, I can definitely see why not EVERYONE would love this book. The writing style may be a hit or a miss for people, as with Saba's personality. It's impressive that you still plan to read Rebel Heart though!

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  9. Hmmm...I've been wanting to read this but I didn't know it was written in dialect. I hate dialect. It usually is so annoying. But there are occasions where it works, so I'll at list flip through it.

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    1. Oh no? Well... that's too bad then. I do recommend giving it a try just in case it grows on you and it's not as annoying as you thought.

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  10. I haven't read this one yet, but I do have a copy! I think I've felt a little scared about the writing style. I've read lots of books that don't use the traditional style of writing, and liked some of them, so maybe I'll try it sometime.

    Great review, Aylee!

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    1. I think the writing style is really hit or miss... and I hope it ends up being a hit with you, Kristilyn! It might take a while to get used to it, but maybe if you stick to it, you'll end up loving it!

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  11. Awesome book, isn't it? And thanks for linking mine :)

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  12. I'm really excited to give this series a try Aylee, I've heard it's amazing! I kind of like that it has such an unusual dialect and doesn't use quotation marks, I know it will take me a bit of time to adjust, but it's something unique and that's always appealing for me. I have both books on my shelf, can't wait to meet Saba and company!

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    1. If you don't take to the writing right away, give it some time and you should become adjusted to Saba's voice quickly, I think! At least I hope :) It really was SUCH a unique and refreshing read, and not only because of the unusual dialect. Hope you lope this one as much as I did, Jenny!

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  13. Fabulously reviewed. I had no idea it was like Chaos Walking Series. Someone recommended I read that series ASAP. Now I have two series I need to get on right away!

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    1. Um, was that person me? I think it must've been. Though I never said read it right away... just when you have time :)

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  14. What an AWESOME review! I've had this on my reading list for awhile now, but reading your review made me want to go pick it up like NOW! Thanks for sharing Aylee :D

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    1. YAY! Thanks, I really hope you love it as much as I did :)

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  15. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. The writing style really did throw me off when I saw it, but overall, it still doesn't sound like my type of book. Not sure, but that's awesome you loved it so much.

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    1. Hmm, that may be the case. Not everyone is going to love the genre and the writing style. If you ever find you have a craving for an intriguing and fast paced post-apocalyptic, then you should try this one!

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  16. You really enjoyed the book! That's really cool! It looks a little long for me - I distrust long novels for some reason. - but I'm so tempted by the cinematic covers.

    Saba sounds like a great character :D Flawed but good.

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    1. Wellll, it's actually a lot shorter than it looks! The "chapters" are VERY short and I think you would whip through this book in no time. Then again, it's not your preferred genre, so I would understand if it just wasn't your thing!

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  17. Ahhhhhhhh, yes!! I am in complete agreement with this review and this is easily one of those books that I wish I could read again for the first time. It was so consuming, I loved the writing style, and the romance was the best kind. I have major issues with Rebel Heart but, uh, I'll save that for another day. Blood Red Road was epic all on it own.

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    1. Oooh, yes, great way of putting it: I would love to be able to read this book again for the first time! Truly experience the highs that I felt while reading it all over again. I'm still bummed about what you thought about Rebel Heart after reading your review, but I'm hopeful that now that I can go into it with lowered expectations, I'll end up enjoying it a bit more. Hopefully!

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  18. Definitely adding this to my TBR list! I loved reading about your enthusiasm for this book! I love feisty and fierce heroines and generally don't mind their initial unlikability in books, as long as there's a reason behind it. I am very interested to see exactly what this stream-of-consciousness/experimental writing style looks like. I haven't read the Chaos Walking trilogy either, although I plan to eventually.

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    1. Aw, thank you!! I agree about unlikeable characters - there needs to be a reason ad there needs to be room for change. Though the writing isn't for everyone, I think it has a chance at making a very powerful impact for the people who do like it. You should def read Chaos Walking!!

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  19. Ahhhh I love this book so much! I agree completely with everything you say! This book was a legit dystopia with so much hardship but yet some beauty in this dark world. I loved Jack, Saba, and Emmi, and how fierce the heroine was. Beautiful review!

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    1. Really nicely put. I really fell in love with the world and the way Moira Young set it up, despite how dark it actually was. And the characters! LOVE! Thank you :)

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  20. I have a copy of this book and I am so curious to read it! It certainly sounds different (like I've heard about the no quotation marks thing too, weird!) but I'm glad it was done well. Great review!

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    1. Yeah, the writing really left a powerful impact on me, but I can understand if other maybe wouldn't take to it too much. But I thought it was beautiful!

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