Jami's Reviews > Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
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's review
Jan 23, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: dystopia, young-adult
Read in January, 2012

Okay, wow. I mean, seriously, wow. I don't know what I was expecting, but I didn't think I was going to love Blood Red Road like I did. In a land now over-flowing with post-apocalyptic, dystopian novels, many of them really stinking, this one was a breath of fresh air.

So here's the thing. I don't love when authors try to get all dramatic by not using quotation marks to indicate dialogue (and why that creates drama, I have yet to figure out). In fact, I stopped reading a book once that was making me crazy because of that very factor. But somehow, the narrative style of Blood Red Road really works. Saba is an 18-year-old girl living in a future world that has clearly been messed up by its previous inhabitants (i.e. US). She is tough, stubborn, fiercely loyal, and of course illiterate, given that there are no books around. So the fact that her narrative is written in simple, straight-forward, grammatically-incorrect prose just propels the story, in my opinion. Rather than distracting the reader, it actually pulls the reader in making her feel a part of Saba's world. I could really hear Saba's voice, along with the voices of the all of the other characters. I felt immersed in the story.

And despite its length, it felt like a fast read. It was intense and action-packed right from the start, and I could hardly put it down. Saba's father is killed and her twin brother taken hostage for unknown reasons. She knows she will do whatever it takes to get him back. She refuses to give up, even after she is kidnapped herself during her journey and forced to be cage fighter. If she loses 3 fights, she'll get killed by a mob of crazy drugged-up townspeople who watch the fights. Crazy, right? And yet, I was reminded of The Hunger Games a bit in that the author was able to pull off incoporating huge amounts of violence into the story without actually describing it too heavily or even really dwelling on it. No more than Saba, herself, dwelled on it. Her sole focus was saving her brother and keeping her little 9-year-old sister safe. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the little sister is along for the ride, complicating things for Saba throughout.)

Here's what I loved about the female characters in this novel: they were strong and self-reliant, and yet they didn't hate all men or refuse any and all male help! Amazing, no? I mean, there's a whole gang of women called the Free Hawks who fight to save enslaved people and generally make things better in the land, and they are seriously awesome. But at the same time, they're cool with getting help from other people . . . women AND men! No big deal, no commentary or struggle to accept masculine help. I loved it. True feminism, if you want my opinion. No male bashing or anti-marriage propoganda. Kristin Cashore, you could take a lesson here . . .

This is one of those books that you can't stop yourself from devouring, but you just really don't want it to end. I'm not always a trilogy fan, but in this case, I'm pretty excited I get to read more about Saba and friends.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Michelle I'm excited to read this...btw, couldn't agree more about the Kristin Cashore comment. I got so tired of her anti-male version of feminism!

Jami Isn't it the truth? It seems like so many authors are uanble to write strong female protagonists without making the characters hate men, too. Or at least act like they can't accept any male help or it somehow weakens them.

I can't wait to see what you think of this one. I think you'll really like it!

Michelle It sounds good. I'm reading Ship Breaker right now. I'm only sixty pages or so in, and it's really good. I love the premise of the story.

Great review, by the way.

message 4: by Ellis (new)

Ellis So, what does it take for a book to get 5 stars?

Jami I really liked Ship Breaker, too! I'll be interested to read your review on that one. I didn't love it as much as Blood Red Road, but that probably has something to do with the fact that Ship Breaker was written by a man, and thus had very little romance in it. Yeah, I'm totally a girl like that.

And as for why I didn't give this 5 stars? It was pretty close, actually. I'd probably give it 4.5 stars if I could. I guess, while I thought it was really pretty fabulous, I try not to just throw out 5 stars unless it was an absolute favorite for some reason or another. I don't really have any hard and fast criteria on that.

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