Annmarie's Reviews > Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
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's review
May 14, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: dystopian, adventure, young-adult
Read in May, 2011

I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars for this novel. On the one hand, it's a great dystopian Mad Max-like adventure story set in a future ravaged version of our world, after modern civilization has been well and truly lost and the detritus of it thoroughly scavenged by future dwellers. The prose is spare, with choppy sentences and a rough dialect of sloppy English; the stark landscape and violent society are fairly well depicted. On the other hand, a certain melodramatic cinematic quality seemed a little... over the top, I guess, and the romantic elements were on a teen level. The characterization is not complex. But since this is targeted at teens, and it's a bold adventure story with a fierce, brave heroine, it all works! It's an amazingly fast read, considering it's over 500 pages. So I'd say 4 stars.

The plot features 18 year old Saba, who has grown up very isolated with just her family - dad, twin brother Lugh, and little sister Emmi- in what might be a post-apocalyptic Utah or thereabouts, in a landscape of drought, sand and dust storms. Catastrophe strikes as four robed riders appear in the wake of a dust storm and target Saba's beloved twin, Lugh, kidnapping him and killing her father in the process. The rest of the story depicts her chase after him in the hazardous landscape, where she meets more people who turn variously into friends and foes, and learns more about why Lugh was targeted, which has to do with a mad king and a violent slaver society centered around supply and demand for the chewable, addictive drug plant, chaal. She grows from a somewhat selfish and unyielding character who is tough and single mindedly devoted to her twin brother - the "light" to her "dark", she says - into a more mature young woman who is still impulsive and a ruthless fighter but who learns to appreciate having an equally determined little sister and the power of the bonds of loyalty to friends. This seems to be the first in a series. I read a pre-pub galley courtesy of the publisher.
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