Monday, June 13, 2011

BR: Blood Red Road

by Moira Young
Dustlands trilogy; book I

Duuude. Prepare for major gushing. See this tweet. My lack of reading recently has really made me fall head-over-heels... and did you know, this book has been optioned by Ridley Scott :O

Summary (goodreads)

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.

My Expectations: Not that high, to be honest. This copy was unsolicited, and I haven't seen much hype since I've been a blogging absentee.
Delivery: AHHHHHHH *falls over*
Put-down-ability: 3/10

My Thoughts

Blood Red Road is my new favourite book. Why? Because I can’t stop thinking about it! It blends the writing of The Knife of Never Letting Go (though I think Patrick Ness still holds the crown of most mind-effing writer) and the action of Divergent. It’s a book that was thrilling from the moment the action took off about a quarter way through and never took its foot off the gas pedal as it roared towards the finish line like an unstoppable storm.

It’s that good.

And boy, was I not expecting it. It looked slightly unassuming with a ‘erm okay’ type of summary, and as I struggled to get past the style of writing that kept screaming PATRICK NESS, I realized I stopped noticing it as I was swept up in the ride. The plot is deceptively simple: Find Brother. That’s really it, but then Young manages to weave so much into this objective, so much shit goes down that I just spend the entire middle of the book jaw-dropped as the action unfolded and things got cranked up. There’s violence and brutality, there’s high stakes and excitement, and of course, there’s romance.

I want to say that the romance in this book was so freaking well done. For a cynic like me, I fell in love with the way Saba handled everything, while it might be a bit slow for others’ tastes, I just adored it. The simmering passion and the ‘what a twit’ mentality… hehe ;)

Saba, please be my best friend? Just kidding, you scare me. You scare me with your intensity, familial love, bravery, loyalty and endless determination to find your brother. You experience so much personal growth and you never shy away from the insane conditions you find yourself in. And you are so kick-ass.

Then there’s the supporting cast that is no less brilliant, from Emmi who I started off detesting then grew to love, the mysterious boy, and the Free Hawks girls who should have ‘awesome’ tattooed on their foreheads. It's good to judge books by how well developed the villains are, and in this case, between the evil king and the abundance of chaal (a drug).. it's great.

And the crow, Nero. Nero, you belong in the fictional Pet Hall of Fame beside Manchee (The Knife of Never Letting Go) and Taggle (Plain Kate), you are that outstanding.

Ah, and another bonus: the world. With such vivid imagery, I could feel the dry sand and sweaty bodies, the parched lips and the “wild, lawless land.” The post-apocalyptic setting was violent and dark, and with places like “Hopetown” you have to wonder when things turned from truth to lies.

Oh, and Moira Young manages to close of this story without too much of a cliffhanger, YAY! I definitely prefer books in a series like this, because while there’s a few loose threads to be developed (like holy, DeMalo, I need to know more) but it’s ultimately satisfying.

And lastly, I need to talk about the writing, because it’s told in a uniquely minimal style* and with a strong dialect like that, I did get distracted at times. However, it does float away as I was caught up with the plot, and I think the writing really fit Saba’s voice. Imperfect, but achingly beautiful. Poetic.

I really need to wrap this up.

Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding!!
Recommended for: All dystopian fans, you really really can’t miss this one.
Acknowledgements: ehh, 1.5/5

9.2/10 – because it was love! I definitely wasn’t prepared to like it this much, but it felt very much like an epic Western with cowboys riding in on their horses and leaving dust in their wake. Okay, not really. But still. A phenomenal debut. Action-packed plot? Check. Fantastic characters with worthwhile motivations? Check. Distinct, sparse writing? Check. Startling world-building? Check. On your to-read list? CHECK.

*I won’t bring up another Patrick Ness comparison, but yeah, the writing is reminds me of Patrick Ness, if you’re wondering. My review of The Knife of Never Letting Go (9.3/10)

source: publisher


  1. GASP I need to read this book! And there HAS been a bit of hype about this book... nothing like Divergent, but yeah, I've seen it around. I'm SO looking forward to reading this :)

  2. I just started this! So far, I'm really liking it (though the cadence and voice in the beginning kinda threw me, and reminded me A LOT of Patrick Ness, which isn't a bad thing necessarily, since I love him). It's a very exciting book, not just because of the plot but because it's doing something I haven't ever read before.

  3. Your review makes me want to re-read this ASAP. I absolutely loved everything about it and, I have to say, I was pretty skeptical going into it. But it was AMAZING and I cannot wait to dive into this world in future books.

    I compared the writing style to the one in The Knife of Never Letting Go, too. It definitely gave both books a little extra something.

    Great review!

  4. WANT, WANT, WANT! You are going to make me break my book budget. Awesome review :)

  5. i'm completely bumped off the fence.

    i will read this Audrey.

    it better be good

    haha, jokes. i know it will be b/c you have insanely good taste in books O.o

    love Nomes

  6. *staves off high expectations to not be disappointed*

    Glad you liked it, though, Audrey. ;P

  7. Just finished this one up last week and I ABSOLUTELY agree with what you've said - LOVED THIS FREAKING book! I am waiting off on my review, though, cause my egalley expired before I could write down the quotes - sadness!

    Excellent review, Audrey!


  8. Awesome awesome review!!! I'm so happy that people are really liking this one. It deserves all the attention it gets! :)

  9. Alriiight. I've been on the fence about this one, but since you raved about it, I will do my best to try and read past the first 8 pages. :D THANKS!!

  10. Rida- hehe I guess I've just missed all of it! I was looking on goodreads though, and I guess I'm not the only one raving xD

    Stephanie- I know what you mean. I was initially put off by the style, but it totally grew on me :) Haha YAY PATRICK NESS!

    PoetrytoProse- Yes, totally! It's different in a good (AWESOME) way :) I keep finding myself grabbing it off the shelf to reread parts too

    Nic- LOL you should try it!!! It's sooo good! :p and YOU make me break my budgets

    Nomes- hahaha I'm feeling the pressure :P I really hope you like it!

    Yahong- aww don't be too negative about it! I will cry if you don't give this at least 4/5. FOR REALZ.

    Linds- AGH YAYAYAY! I love the LOVE for this book, it's so awesome! Can't wait to read your review, I know it'll be fab. And I know, it's quite quote-able, eh? ;)

    Cialina- thanks! and totally agree!

    Steph- YAY! It REALLY picks up about 50 or so pages in, then I didn't even notice the style anymore :) I hope you like it!

  11. I know we already talked about this but I just read your review again and realized I never left the first time around! I'm so glad you LOVED Blood Red Road... the second book is going to have some big shoes to fill. :)

  12. Pet Hall of Fame! Oh yeah! Yeah, I wonder what was the deal with DeMalo too. Guess we'll find out in the other book.

  13. Oh my goodness!! YES!! This is such an awesome book! I loved it so much more than I thought I would! It was EPIC!! So glad you loved it too! :)

  14. Fantastic review. You make me want this even more.

  15. I've seen this title around, but I've never read a review!

    And I don't need to read another. You've done the trick: I am getting this book.

    I'm so excited to read a dystopian that's a little more "rounded". They tend to focus too much on one aspect (the world, the government, the romance...), but this sounds like a wild, frantically wonderful ride all-around. I can't wait!

    Thanks so much for the review!


for those who are confused, it means "Don't forget to be AWESOME". *hugs*