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Blood Red Road (Dustlands, Book 1) by Moira…

Blood Red Road (Dustlands, Book 1) (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Moira Young

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9971258,585 (3.95)132
Title:Blood Red Road (Dustlands, Book 1)
Authors:Moira Young
Info:Margaret K. McElderry Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction, dystopia, environment, families, survival, suspense, love, twins, adventure

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Blood Red Road by Moira Young (2011)


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At first, I found the narrative style of Blood Red Road to be incredibly off-putting. The story is told in first person from Saba's perspective and is written in her dialect, making it quite difficult to get into. However, I'm really glad that I stuck with it.

After a little while, I began to notice the odd style less and less and at the same time, the plot gripped me. The novel is fast-paced and exciting and set it a bleak and interesting dystopian setting, drawing on elements of Spaghetti Westerns to create a truly memorable world. Although the novel has environmentalist overtones, these are presented subtly and so the novel never seems preachy.

Saba is also one of the strongest female leads that I have seen in a novel for a long time, wonderfully complex and possessing of a balance of character traits to made her feel like a real teenager rather than a Mary Sue or violent killing machine.

I could not recommend this novel enough. Even though there are dozens of dystopian novels in the best-seller list, this one stands out over them as something really special. ( )
  ArkhamReviews | Jul 8, 2014 |
Admittedly this book sat on my shelf for quite awhile. I started reading it last year and got about a chapter in when I decided to set it aside. I'm very much a mood reader and this one I believe requires the right mood. Whenever I try to force through reading a book that doesn't catch me right away, then what might normally take me a few days could take 2 months. When I picked it back up I devoured it in 2 days.

The entire book is written/read in some sort of clipped English vernacular. There is no punctuation for you to note when the actual speech of a character begins and ends. You simply have to pay attention to the cues of so-and-so says, I said, he says, etc. The jumps to the next line are very frequent but they help you keep track of when the person who is talking changes. Once you get comfortable with this and the speech patterns the book flows smoothly and quickly. If you can't get past this you might end up really annoyed.

Saba, the heroine is 18, and I really considered this her story of how she finds herself by trying to find her brother. It appears to be set in post-apocalyptic America by all of the descriptions throughout the book of "wrecker" technology. I enjoyed the references in the book to these things and the fact that they didn't go into any background as to how the world got to the state it is in.

I didn't particularly find this to be a fast paced action adventure, I thought it had a steady progression that kept you turning the pages without feeling the need to tear through them.

Saba, set out with her younger sister Emmi, whom she has hated her whole life, in search of her brother Lugh. The character profile you get of Saba at the beginning is great. You can see she's strong willed to the point of stubborn, that she has a definite mean streak (especially where Emmi is concerned), though still a softie, she's got the grit of a survivor who thinks on her feet. I love the way her character flaws annoyed me, rather than other books I've read where they've made me want to punch the character in the face.

What I loved about this is that there is absolutely no love interest until the second half of the book. I often find that YA books focus so heavily on romance that the story takes a backseat to it - which drives me up the wall. I prefer that romance support a story - not BE the story. This one gave me that perfect balance I like.

You also see a wonderful portrayal of personal growth for Saba through the course of the book. She self evaluates and learns from her past and mistakes. I hate it when characters beat their head up against the same wall over and over, doing the same stupid thing each time. Saba does some of that to an extent but only where it concerns her mission to find her brother and the fact that she feels she has to do it alone. She isn't used to interacting with other people and it shows.

The setup for additional books is very obvious, and I'm looking forward to reading more by Moira Young, but I felt that even if there weren't further books slotted to come out a reader could still walk away content with how this book ends. Oh and I was tickled pink to learn that this is supposedly going to be made into a movie in 2014.

Oh yeah - anybody that's read it already - got any thoughts on what chaal is? ( )
  Pabkins | Jun 24, 2014 |
Hmm. I think this one's way overhyped. I wanted more. What are the "Wrecker" cities--what happened to them, and most of civilization, for that matter? Seems like it wouldn't have taken much to explain the basic setting of the book.

The decision to write the book in dialect was interesting. I don't mind books in dialect. Sometimes I think it adds great richness to the narrator(s). This time, I think it allowed the author to neglect writing with emotion or depth. I flew through the book without really caring about what was happening to the characters, even during what were clearly supposed to be seminal scenes. It became a distraction. Or maybe I'm just giving the accent too much credit, and the author wouldn't have written with much attention to emotion, anyway.

Also: how the bleep do you pronounce "Lugh??"

I think I'd have really enjoyed Blood Red Road if it had been a short story about what happens when she's in Hopetown. The rest of the book is pretty "meh."

ETA: I ended up reading book #2 and *really* liking it, so I do think this is worth reading for backstory on the series. I can't wait for book 3 to come out! ( )
  fefferbooks | May 12, 2014 |
A book with strong female characters and a bit of romance. The writing is simple and takes a little while to get used to--it's the accent. Entertaining and leaves you wanting to read the sequel. ( )
  cfranson | Mar 29, 2014 |
Wow! I was blown away by Blood Red Road. (Also known simply as Dust Lands in my head. Look at the giant font for the series' title in comparison to the actual title!) Not only did I find the novel to indeed be better than The Hunger Games, I also would rank the book as one of the better dystopians and even at the top of the list!

At first, I wasn't sure if I would like the dialect. There are no quotations marks and a lot of pretty bad grammar. There are misspelled words aplenty and you will find a lot of choppy sentences. However, all this makes this book one of the most realistic dystopians out there. Have you ever wondered why a character with supposedly no education can speak with perfect grammar and acquire such a large vocabulary? I certainly have, particularly in dystopians, and I am so glad Dust Lands fixes that problem.

I know a lot of people are still apprehensive of the writing of the novel. Will it be too hard to get into the novel with the bad grammar and lack of punctuation and spelling? For me, the dialect did not prevent me from getting sucked into Saba's world. In fact, the uncommon but smartly planned writing made me love the book so much more, and after a while I barely noticed the "errors". I was just in Saba's head and thinking the way she thought.

Also, I love the fact that Dust Lands is a dystopian without an overload of technonlgy. In all honesty, I was kind of getting bored with all the computer-y electronic-y aspects in some novels. Blood Red Road is simply a survival story in a world with a harsh terrain and plenty of fighting and cruel conditions. I also loved the lack of control the setting has. Everyone is out to keep only their heads on their necks and most are back stabbers that don't care about the fate of others.

The characters are superb. While I found Saba to occasionly be thick headed and mean, she was a unique character and her story of survival is also one about self discovery. The character I felt for most was Saba's sister Emmi. Saba treats her badly as she blames Emmi for the mother's death, and she goes through a lot of pain and trauma for a seven year old. Also, I found the brother, Lugh, to be a very interesting character. Although we don't see much of him, he has a big presence throughout the book and I hope we see more of him in the second book.

Jack, the love interest, was not a "wow" character for me, although I did like him. I was intrigued by him and I was on edge to hear his story. Unfortunately, we don't seem to learn enough about Jack and I was disappointed. Hopefully more will be revealed in the next book. Next, we have the Free Hawks. They were so awesome! Who can't love a "gang of girl warriors and revolutionaries"?

Finally, we have the adventure and plot. Well, it was amazingly paced and I really hated every time I had to set the book down. There is so much action from fights to storms to daring escapes. Along with the action there is also great, to-the-point descriptions that have you imagining the setting. Overall, I really enjoyed the journey Blood Red Road sucked me into. The characters, plot, setting, and dialect were amazing and realictic. Don't let this book scare you. Give Dust Lands a try.

4/5 Stars ( )
  Emily_Anne | Mar 16, 2014 |
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Book description
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 a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.
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In a distant future, eighteen-year-old Lugh is kidnapped, and while his twin sister Saba and nine-year-old Emmi are trailing him across bleak Sandsea they are captured, too, and taken to brutal Hopetown, where Saba is forced to be a cage fighter until new friends help plan an escape.… (more)

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