I devoured this book in one sitting! At first, I'll admit, I had a little difficulty swallowing the vernacular writing style and the absence of quotat...moreI devoured this book in one sitting! At first, I'll admit, I had a little difficulty swallowing the vernacular writing style and the absence of quotation marks to indicate dialogue. Once I pushed past the problems I had with syntax and stylization, however, I really began to enjoy the story! Saba's relationship with Emmi struck a chord with me. I really loved the progression and growth there. Saba and Jack have the delicious, clichéd love-hate romance that I just can't get enough of.
More of this review to come as soon as I can find some spare time lying about!
But all the guards an the watchtowers an the locked cells an the chains that bind me. . . none of that's stopped me tryin to git away.
The first time, I waited till it was night, then I picked the lock of my cell with a rusty nail I found in the corner of the exercise yard. I got caught tryin to lift the keys from the guard's belt while he was forty winkin it.
The second time, I was on the way back from the Colosseum when I punched my guard in the face an made a run fer it. (page 165)
Oh dear, I just want to hug Blood Red Road tight and never let it go! I devoured this book in one sitting, completely demolished it without coming up for air. All I can say is WOW (with capslock on because it deserves it). From the kickass characters to the desolate setting, this story is powerful and engrossing. Don't start it unless you've got the time to read it all, I'm warning you now. It's rather hard to put down. Believe me, I found out the hard way (hello, all night reading binge)!
One of the most rewarding parts of this book is also one of the things it took a while for me to get used to: the protagonist Saba's unique voice. At first, I'll admit, I had a little difficulty swallowing the rough vernacular and the absence of quotation marks to indicate dialogue. As you can see from the excerpt above, words like "git" and "fer" are commonplace in this story. It made me cringe a bit at first, if I'm being completely honest, and also made it hard for me to really immerse myself in the story. Once I pushed past the reservations I had about the syntax and stylization, however, I really began to enjoy the story, fell completely in love with the characters, and eventually I barely noticed the writing style at all. It all melds seamlessly together and gives the reader an authentic experience. By simplifying the story and stripping it down to the core, Young allows the reader to truly connect with it in a whole new, complex way. It's really rather brilliant. Here's an excerpt from an interview with Moira Young that I really enjoyed where she talks about her decision to use her own unique dialect (you can check out the entire interview here):
I know that books written in anything other than standard English can be a challenge to readers. Some people can’t see the point of it, others disagree with dialect in books as a matter of principle or just can’t get on with it. I can understand all of these objections. The way some characters speak in this book is not in any way meant to be a specific regional dialect of Canada or the US or, indeed, anywhere else. My first attempt to write this story used a third person narrator with quotation marks for dialogue, and proper punctuation and sentences. Generally, I’m very much in favour of such things. But the faint whisper of the story that was plaguing me – a girl living in some future time and place searches for her kidnapped brother – remained stubbornly out of earshot, like a fuzzy radio signal. I couldn’t find my way into the story until I found Saba’s voice. I tried one thing, then another, working at it on and off for three years or so. Then, one day, as I stared at my blank screen, she started to talk and I just wrote down what she said. It was the voice of a girl who has spoken with very few people in her life, who is illiterate and has little sense of history or the wider world. She began telling her story, directly, plainly, in her own way, using her own words. I didn’t make the decision, not consciously anyway, to write in dialect. She made it for me. Whatever you want to call it – dialect or voice - I hope that it gives a rough and tumble, muscular, feel to the book that’s in keeping with the story and the characters. English is a robust, constantly changing, kick-you-in-the-guts kind of language and it’s reasonable to assume that people living out of our time would speak in a different way to us.
Something else I really loved about this book was the characters, their relationships and their growth across the course of the story. Saba's relationship with her siblings, her little sister Emmi in particular, really struck a chord with me. I have three brothers, two older and one younger, so I know how it can be. The good, the bad, and everything else in between. The progression of Saba and Emmi's relationship, how it grew and blossomed from a place of resentment to a place of love and respect, was beautiful. Saba is such a human character, flawed and imperfect, just a girl that's trying to take care of herself and the ones she loves the best way she knows how. She makes mistakes. She says things she doesn't mean. She pushes people away. She is also unswervingly brave and loyal, resourceful, and smart. She's real. Saba and Jack (her swoon-tacular love interest) also have the delicious, almost clichéd sort of love-hate romance that I just can't get enough of. It's my absolute favorite kind of romance to read about.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that Blood Red Road has it all: a kickass heroine, a fast-paced plotline, gritty fight scenes, and an epic journey that's only just beginning. I honestly cannot sing its praises enough.
Uniquely engaging, action-packed, and wonderfully hopeful, this is a book you cannot miss out on! You will fall in love with the characters and the world they live in. Fans of the YA Dystopian genre, look no further for your next fix!