Caitlin's Reviews > Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
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Dec 09, 12

Read from February 27 to March 06, 2011

Alright. I wrote a review for this (probably in the middle of the night--or early in the morning) when I first finished the ARC. Now. Going through that review, I cringe a bit. It's riddled with mistakes and some of it doesn't make any sense. So, I decided to write a briefer, clearer review.

But if you're interested, I'll leave the old one under a spoiler tag.

(view spoiler)

First off, let me say that this book is fast, fun and overall okay. I've read worse, but I've definitely have read better. I give a solid 2.5 stars. (Part of my harsh review may be because I was hyped up for this book and after reading it, I discovered it to be a big let down).

Anyways, onwards.

The biggest problem with this book is how fragile it stands. With little pressure, everything collapses. The setting, the characters, the development, the logic--everything. As much as I had fun, I found everything I slightly touched crumble in my metaphorical hand.

Some obvious offenses are simple logical things. Saba at one point, while traversing through the hot, dry desert pours water on her face. As she's doing this, my thoughts are this: "lolwhatareyoudoingwithyourprecioussupply?" Next thing we know, she's out of water. Facepalm. Small (even big ones, like the wtf-sandworms scene and how Saba was stupid enough to let the bad guy live) things like this are spread across the text. Tiny things that add up and eventually it's a free for all. I just gave up caring. I just held on for the ride, frowning all the way.

While some people find the prose to be engaging--and it is, somewhat--but I've read far more engaging minimal prose. Dialect or not. Cormac McCarthy? The man writes pages of dialogue--sparse of any punctuation. Huckleberry Finn? Yes, his dialect was fun and held tons of literary satire. Young's use of minimal dialect, felt more like a gimmick rather than the real thing. Maybe for readers who haven't read dialect before, or minimal may find Young's prose something worth to write home about, but it's not. In fact, I think this book, being pretty much a fantasy with a very under developed setting, would have benefited with third person, present. This story is far more plot driven than character, which is what Third person (first person is character driven) emphasizes on. But I digress.

So, with that out of the way. Let's talk about Saba. Saba is my least favorite thing about this book. Her character, her development. Near the end she started to feel more...solid, but she still remains on my Shit List. Saba is a perfect example of what today YA heroines suffer from: lack of fear. I don't understand how people read The Hunger Games and then sit back and call Katniss a badass heroine, when in reality, she was far from "bad" and she certainly wasn't an "ass." She was cautious, smart and most of all she respected what she feared the most (she complained a ton and was dense about certain things, but this part of Katniss I'm not talking about). Katniss at one point says, "Stupid people are dangerous." She calls a group of people, who are suppose to be incapable, dumber than you, dangerous. A force to be reckoned with. She see's the fear--she respects that bad things can happen from stupid people. Hell, at one point she even says, "Flight is essential." Fear is something needed to survive. It keeps you smart, it keeps you alive.

The reason why I'm going on about Katniss in non THG review is because there are many mock Katnisses today. Many heroines are out there try mimmic Katniss' "toughness." That instinct. But they all fail in my eyes--especially Saba. Saba while cage fighting depends on this "red thing" which I'm assuming it's her instinct to survive. Instinct isn't going to keep you alive. I mean, everyone is born with this innate animal instinct. What sets them out from their opponent? Well, it should be skill. But in Saba's case, as long as she's more "animal" like, then she wins. No fear of death, no fear of her opponent. Just red rage to fuel her through fight after fight.

IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. How can a girl, a sheltered one at that, be able to be the champion of cage fighting? Never losing? How can she suddenly be tough as nails? How? How? Young fails to write a convincing transition for Saba. I fail to understand how she suddenly has the balls to just make a stand. First of all, she shouldn't understand anything around her. She can't read or write. She's uneducated in other ways. She should be a bit helpless. She should be scared (See there's that word. Scared. Fear. What's wrong with having a hero/heroine who is more human like than fiction?). Her character is very unrealistic. Her character is an entire HOLE in the book. She is the biggest problem and makes me cringe thinking of the second book.

Alright. That wasn't brief, but it definitely was more clear and had far less grammar/spelling errors.
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Reading Progress

03/02/2011 page 132
29.0% "I can't decide if I'm enjoying this."
03/03/2011 page 220
49.0% "It's official. I don't like Sada. Saba, whatever her name is."
03/03/2011 page 251
56.0% "Wow. That was the stupidest mistake ever. Seriously? Why didn't you think of ending the bastard since you're so badass? Huh?"
03/03/2011 page 351
78.0% "I'm liking the second half better--more detailed action. More people. More world. Yea."

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Alexa The holes made me laugh (and face-palm too). I can definitely see why you disliked that and the other things you mentioned. I still want to give this book a try, but I think I'll go in with low expectations. Really great review!

Caitlin :) You should definitely read it. It's got it's moments. I'm just being a jerk because I was so excited to read it, and in the end it was a let down.

Vinaya Oh, thank you, THANK YOU! I've been feeling super guilty because I don't think this book is as extraordinary as it was made out to be, and one of my GR friends loved it so much that she actually fed ex-ed a bound galley to me (which arrived on the same day as the galley grab newsletter - oh, the irony!) all the way to India, and now here I am being like... it was nice but it wasn't the best book ever or anything!

Caitlin Whoa. All the way to India? You got a nice friend there.

Yea! I felt the same way. I was so excited to read it and in the end it was just a...."eh" book. I don't know if it was because of expectations, or if it's really an "eh" book.

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Vinaya wrote: "Oh, thank you, THANK YOU! I've been feeling super guilty because I don't think this book is as extraordinary as it was made out to be, and one of my GR friends loved it so much that she actually fe..."

You are too funny. Don't feel guilty. I sent the book because you wanted it, I had it, it worked out just right. There is no rule you need to love it as much as I did. I'm just glad you had an opportunity to find out whether or not you liked it & didn't have to wait.

message 6: by Tahlia (new)

Tahlia Newland Thanks for this. Those things would annoy me in a book too.

Kbricethunder I adore your review! Because for starter's I have to agree with you! The book maybe written in dystopian,but it was clearly hard to read.Though Young did a good job with writing the book,but making the reader feel the emotions and stuff's of the charecter,she really did'nt hit rear view on,so I have to remotely agree with you.Though I love the book Blood Red Road,I would have still be looking for that gripping suspense.
Good review.

P.E. Great review, I didn't really agree with your thoughts but you expressed them well. I didn't have much problem with the prose since I'm an action lover. I don't like reading too many descriptions. I'd rather read what actually happens than how it happens which is why I probably enjoyed the book more than you. I like your review though. :)

message 9: by Sarai (new)


Frances Scovil Captured my feelings about the book very well. Thanks. I kept thinking of Katniss too as I read this and the comparison was not good for Saba.

Samyuktha At first I really liked the book but now that I've read your review, I've changed my mind. It really does have lot of holes.

Tsukalavire Honestly, I couldn't get past the first few pages of the book because of the way it was written, I just didn't get it. I probably need to read the really good award worthy ones that were written like that and try them out, but with THG I actually didn't like it as much as other people but Katniss was an alright character yet when I saw that they said it was going to be like the Hunger Games I just stared for a moment and thought, "Uh oh, here comes another rip off, wannabe Katniss..."

Caitlin Tsukalavire wrote: "Honestly, I couldn't get past the first few pages of the book because of the way it was written, I just didn't get it. I probably need to read the really good award worthy ones that were written li..."

I used Katniss as an example only because at the time so many YA books featured really hardcore, tough heroines and THG really sparked that trend, IMO, and Saba was the worst result of that trend. IT BUGGED ME SO MUCH THOUGH how much appreciation she was getting, when I thought she was sending the wrong message of what surviving is.

And for dialect, it's not for everyone. Some people can't stand it and it's understandable. I think a really good book with dialect prose is The Knife of Never Letting Go. Plus, it's VERY good.

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