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Blood Red Road

(Dust Lands #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  62,467 ratings  ·  5,829 reviews
ACE #1

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 four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba's world is shattered, and sh
Hardcover, 459 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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Elias This would make for one hell of a movie. I disliked Blood Red Road (or Dust Lands: Blood Red Road, as it's now called) because I absolutely loathed Mo…moreThis would make for one hell of a movie. I disliked Blood Red Road (or Dust Lands: Blood Red Road, as it's now called) because I absolutely loathed Moira Young's writing. I hated the constant (intentional, I think) typos and lack of quotations and all the fragments. However, I thought that the story and characters were terrific. I would love to see this thrilling, gripping story played out on the big screen, or on TV, or anywhere without all those typos.(less)
Megs To me, Blood Red Road *alone* is an action-adventure story, though the other two books are indeed dystopias.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  62,467 ratings  ·  5,829 reviews

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Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all fans of dystopian/post-apocalyptic teen lit
As seen on The Readventurer

This book is not going to be out until June, so I feel very lucky for having had an opportunity to read it so early. I hope it will get enough promo buzz over the next few months to reach tons of readers, because Blood Red Road very much deserves it. It is a stand-out in the new crop of dystopian/post-apocalyptic YA fiction, most of which is crap.

The novel is basically an adventure quest set in a distant post-apocalyptic future. Saba's twin brother Lugh is kidnapped in
Jillian -always aspiring-
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who enjoyed books such as The Hunger Games and Poison Study
Listen up since you may never hear these words from me again about any other book:  I am not surprised in the least that this book is getting such buzz, nor that rights to the film have already been acquired by Ridley Scott.  You want to know why?  Because this book has everything that will keep anyone, whether a reader or movie-goer, hooked: action, suspense, drama, unpredictability, emotion, romance, and great characterization.

Unlike other dystopian YA novels, Blood Red Road isn't focused on i
Wendy Darling
This review may contain mild spoilers, but they're nothing that you won't see in the trailer for the film. That's right, Ridley Scott optioned this book for a film before it was even published, and it's easy to see why. It's a hugely entertaining spectacle full of adventure and excitement and thrills, with action scenes that you can clearly picture as you read them.

Saba's twin brother Lugh has been kidnapped by a band of horsemen, and she sets off alone on the quest to bring him back. Well, she
mark monday
the protagonist of this post-apocalyptic YA western is a crow named Nero. now this is some bird! he has tons of personality: kind and generous and affectionate and reasonable and quick-thinking and a good sport and he finds clues and naturally he saves the day in the end with his excellent ability to fly swiftly & summon cavalry. Nero, you're the MAN BIRD! I loved that crow and was enchanted by his every appearance. ::happy sigh::

the blurbs for this book describe it as a sort of Mad Max in book
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead

My First Impression-

What the hell is this writing style?

Immediately, you notice the grammatically incorrect sentences. For example:

“Lugh’s bin sayin it fer a while now. Pa’s gitten worse. Mind you, he ain’t bin right fer a long time”

My thoughts on this writing style:

At first, I had a hard time reading it. After about 20 pages, I did not even notice it. As the story progresses, you realize how important this writing style is to portray Saba. The grammatically incorrect sentences reveal Saba’s raw
Emily May
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it

This is the novel that I wanted Graceling to be. An alternate world/reality full of adventure with a hardcore warrior heroine, and here's the key bit, who doesn't feel the need to unsex herself (à la Lady Macbeth) and prove that she's not feminine. In fact, all the female characters are wonderfully strong and unforgiving, no damsels finally, and there's just a general sense of equality - pretty much everyone is a warrior without a masculinity v. femininity contest. Where Graceling seemed in
this book is one of the most-anticipated release titles in teen fiction, and i got to read it early because ariel is a gift to mankind.take that, teens!! you guys get fast metabolisms and hopeful outlooks and unlimited potential, and i get advanced readers copies. even steven.

so she gave me this book about twins and a bird, which is like giving a new young mother a buddy book where a kidnapper teams up with SIDS for adventures and romance.but i braved my fears and read what i was hoping would be
♛ may
Full review posted:

Here’s a fun concept, let’s write a book but instead of using actual WORDS we’ll just slam our palms against the keyboard repeatedly and then publish whatever we get!!!1!!11!!1!! ~best seller~

I want firstly to apologize to the synopsis of the book bc it was too good to be representing such an awful book remember, this is my opinion

Secondly I want to apologize to grammar rules of the English language. I’m sorry this book killed you, you deserved better. And for those who thin
Have you ever wanted to read a bleak quest novel narrated by a rough and ready Elly May Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies? If so, this one’s for you! Just kidding. Er, sort of. The narration style of this will certainly alienate some readers but after the first 15-20 pages, I didn’t really notice it anymore. In fact, it actually felt comfortable. Saba, the protagonist in this work, lives in a barren dustland with her Pa, younger sister Emmi, and her twin, Lugh. Saba’s narration is due to the ...more
C.G. Drews
Omg what are words. WHAT IS AIR. HOW DO I POSSIBLY SUM UP MY INFINITE LOVE FOR THIS BOOK?!?!?! I've borrowed this a billion times from the library and ALWAYS sent it back unread because I peeked at the first page and...slang and no dialogue tags? Um. no thank you. I WAS A DELUDED PENGUIN BRAIN AND I CAN'T BELIEVE I DIDN'T GIVE THIS BOOK A CHACNE TILL NOW. IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT. You know those books that you feel like are written For you because they do everything absolutely perfectly and d ...more
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
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)
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Dystopian Fiction
Recommended to Joyzi by: Veneficus
i command you Pictures, Images and Photos read this book!

Do you love Hunger Games?
hunger games Pictures, Images and Photos

or The Knife of Never Letting Go or Divergent, etc.?

Do you love the dessert?
dessert Pictures, Images and Photos

*coughs* I mean desert. Do you love the desert?
Relationships Pictures, Images and Photos

Do you love cage fighting?
cookie monster Pictures, Images and Photos

and worms?
It's.... Pictures, Images and Photos
Bull Worm Pictures, Images and Photos
Spongebob x Sandy-The Worm Pictures, Images and Photos

If you're cool with those things, then I got to say YOU HAFTA READ THIS!

When I started reading Blood Red Road I did not like it that much because the beginning was a little bit cheesy especially when they talked about stars and prophecy. Also, the writing style d
phew! this book was an uphill battle for me. i thought the story itself was so very cool and quite the adventure, but i just could not get over the writing style. if youve read this, you know what i mean. its written in first person with the narrator speaking in VERY improper grammar, no punctuation, misspelled words, etc. its quite difficult to get used to and i nearly gave up several times. but like i said, the story itself was my only motivating factor. i think if this been executed different ...more
Jul 10, 2011 rated it liked it
“If you know how to read the stars, you can read the story of people’s lives.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Blaaaahhh I had such high hopes for this book and I thought I was going to love it. And I did until about half way through… and then I just wanted to punch things the red hot descended and things got fuzzy.

High Points.
The first half. Emmi. Jack (and his hairless chest). Ike. Tommo. Nero. The setting, Ms Young certainly knows how to set up a story and build a world. Loved it. Written in t
Meredith Holley
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: humans with a brain
Recommended to Meredith by: Ariel
!!!!! This book kicks my ass. Moira Young has gotta be the Beatrix Kiddo of y/a writers. She comes in here, probably blindfolded or some such, turns the conventional rescue story on its head, and then writes it all out in solid, beautiful dialect because that’s just how badass she is. The effortlessness alone is enough to make me think we’ve arrived in some new country of storytelling. Suddenly, we’re in the middle of it, and I didn’t even realize the tour bus could go there.

I don’t even want t
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Limonessa by: readalong with a bunch of people
2.5 stars

There are many successful books that get turned into movies. Not necessarily good movies. Actually, it is very rare for the movie to be better than the book. But not impossible.
Blood Red Road might be one of such rare cases.
I read somewhere that this book was optioned to be become a movie even BEFORE being published. That's where the problems lies: Blood Red Road is trying too hard to be a movie before even being a book.

That means that while it's got some elements that would be of
Apr 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Vinaya by: Michelle R
The whole time I was reading Blood Red Road, there was a part of me standing away and thinking — where is it? Where is the part that's going to twist me up and spit me out? Where's that intense feeling that marks a book I truly loved? Tragically, I never did reach that part.

In part, my expectations are to blame. I read too many reviews and they all loved the book so much, I think I was expecting it to be as spectacular as the Second Coming of Christ. My expectations were pretty much sky high, an
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
2.5 stars

I believe that, consciously or unconsciously, every author has a list of priorities he/she keeps in mind when writing a book. I know that every reader has priorities/expectations/preferences when choosing what to read. Unfortunately, Moira Young’s priorities and mine are very, very different.

To be perfectly fair here, she didn’t write this book for me. She wrote it for teenagers who have a hard time focusing on anything for too long. And I have to give it to her, the book is an attenti
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the apocalypse and young adult
Recommended to carol. by: Trudi

Apocalypse plus positive Trudi review ( equals irresistible read. She was right, it was high on the addiction scale; once I sat down to devote attention to it, I read until I ran out of pages.

The short form: a pair of fraternal twins, their younger sister and their worn-out pa father are scraping by in the the dustbowl of the 20s some apocalypse time in the future. They are miles from neighbors, except one who drinks a little too much moonshine char or wh
The first few opening chapters of this book have just about everything that I love in young adult speculative fiction: a futuristic world that’s original and believable, a tough heroine who’s too rash for her own good, a perilous quest, and just a touch of depth. Perfection.

And no, the dialect and lack of quotation marks really don’t bother me at all. I think that the dialect creates a great atmosphere and the lack of quotation marks really work to make the dialogue seem immediate and natural.

Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, own
After seeing all the wonderful reviews of this book, I was excited to see it appear at my doorstep, and I didn't wait long to dive into it. A violent futuristic world, fast pace action, with a kick-butt heroine? Count me in! It delivers what it promises, as I instantly became absorbed in Saba's journey to save her brother.

"Once, we could count on pullin a fish from the lake an a beast from our traps. Fer everything else, we planted some, foraged some, an all in all, we made out okay. But fer th
Also posted on my blog, YA Anonymous- For YA Addicts

What I thought when I read the first line of Blood Red Road was, "woah, what the hell?!"

I actually said this out loud in my local library, where it's usually silent, so I earned a number eyes my way and a harsh shushing from the librarian at the counter.

The sentence, "Lugh got born first", surprised me. But I read on, thinking it was just some random typo (everyone makes mistakes, right?) Then I started to notice other mistakes like 'an' in
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is like:



Why? Saba’s got that bad ass attitude like Katniss, cagefighting that Wolverine does in the first movie, and killer worms from Tremors. Awesome combination if I do say so myself.

The first thing you notice about the book is the terse, short, and simple sentences used stylistically to evoke Saba’s voice. Not to mention everything’s written out phonetically so that will give a lot of people cause to stop or stumble in the beginning. But you get used to it very quickly and th
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of dystopia
I must warn all of you who read this that I'm gonna have a bit of a gush fest before I write anything of real relevance. Ok so right now I should be doing lots of other things (responsible people things), but I just cannot contain my excitement for this book. This hasn't happened to me in a long while. Sure I read great books often enough but none that have made me SO excited I might burst. I frankly really love this book to pieces. I'm surprised I returned the book to the library in one piece! ...more
It took me a while to get into a good reading rhythm with this one.


Well many common words are spell phonetically and grammar rules are nearly forgotten, all this so we read as the characters talk, so that we have no other choice but to jump into that arid and cruel world Young has prepared for us. The thing is, once I got into a nice groove, the initial discomfort was all worth it, that's if you like a good dystopian adventure alongside a teenager with more emotional baggage than the avera
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lucia by: C.G. Drews
Shelves: ya, dystopia
Book 1: Blood Red Road- STARS
Book 2: Rebel Heart - 2 STARS
Book 3: Raging Star - 2.5 STARS

This is the most conflicted I have ever felt about book series. I adored some parts of this trilogy and hated the others. Let's see what are pluses and minuses of Dust Lands trilogy.

Saba, the narrator and heroine of this trilogy, is bold, rude, vicious and very determined. On the top of that she is selfish and stubborn. Surprisingly, instead of
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
As usual I’m very late to the party, but I really enjoyed this! It features a hate to love done in the way I actually enjoy it (aka the right way), a deeply flawed MC who is called out on her issues, adventure, and bringing down an evil government.
The writing was a bit hard to get into at first because of how it’s written (slang, no quotation marks for speaking) but once I was hooked I HAD to finish.
The criticism "derivative" was designed for this schlockfest. Fun first person, which delivers it from one star hell, but when the whole book is derived from the lives of Han Solo, Princess Leia and Lando Calrissian from the Trilogy and the canon books, no one can argue that this book isn't derivitive in the extreme.

"You're full of shit, Brad!"

Really?! Fuck you! I am full of knowingness you heathen! Look and learn:
Sarlac moment with crazy lake worms. ✓

Ike as Chewbacca/Lando. ✓

Jack and Saba as H
This is another book where I didn't really understand the world building. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a dystopian future of our world or an alternate universe. I started under the assumption that this was a dystopian future and maybe the author did too. If the author was trying to write a dystopian future the idea unraveled as she tried to create a plot and started making stuff up to make it work. There's a weird plant that functions half as a drug that makes people super passive and ...more
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Highlights: a kidnapping, cage fights to the death, a delusional psycho King and killer worms. Ha! Blood Red Road is chock full of adventure that I could not get enough of. So, yup, I loved almost every moment of it. There’s also the added bonus of a Jack and Saba~ their interaction was a cool (sweet?) break in between all the heart pumping action.

Saba is so strong. I won’t lie, she did have moments of “duh” but overall I found myself admiring her strength. With her father killed shortly after
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Moira Young is from Vancouver, BC and now lives in the UK. A former actor and opera singer, her debut novel, Blood Red Road, first in the Dustlands trilogy, was published in 2011 to international acclaim. It won a host of prizes including the Costa Children’s Book Award, the British Columbia Book Prize for Children’s Literature and France's Le Prix des Incorruptibles. In the USA it won a Cybils Aw ...more

Other books in the series

Dust Lands (3 books)
  • Rebel Heart (Dust Lands, #2)
  • Raging Star (Dust Lands, #3)

Articles featuring this book

As fans of The Hunger Games know, your enemies always seem to reemerge right when you least expect them. That's right, this month, Suzanne...
101 likes · 66 comments
“Yer in my blood, Saba, he says. Yer in my head. Yer in my breath, yer in my bones...gawd help me, yer everywhere. You have bin since the first moment I set eyes on you.” 490 likes
“Ever heard of the rule of three? he shouts as we run.
If you save somebody's life three times, their life belongs to you. You saved my life today, that makes once. Save it twice more an I'm all yers.”
More quotes…