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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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9371239,254 (3.95)124
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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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 |
After all the positive reviews I've read about Blood Red Road I expected to like it. And I did like some of it: the setting, the story and even the dialect (after getting used to it). As a whole the novel failed, because the characters, especially the heroine, just weren't believable enough. And the characters weren't believable, because the worldbuilding wasn't thorough enough. My main problem was that for a girl who had lived her whole life with only her family around, Saba was way too much a fighter and way too aware of certain rules between the sexes. There was nothing in her background that justified her beating everyone in a fight. There was only a mystical artefact explaining some of her behaviour with Jack, the romantic hero - and relying on mysticism isn't necessarily a good thing in a story set in the future. Still, I liked the book enough to read the sequel if I ever come across it.

Finnish translation was sloppy in places. The English extracts I've seen seem more poetic somehow, and I believe I might like the book a little better in the original language.. ( )
  julienne_preacher | Feb 26, 2014 |
Ever since my (failed) attempt to read the third book in the "Divergent" series, I have been avoiding dystopian YA trilogies like the plague. If only Katniss knew what kind of hellish progeny she was going to leave in her wake, she might have just let herself be killed during that first desperate rush to the Cornucopia in _The Hunger Games_.

So, it was with some trepidation that I read _Blood Red Road_ (2012). Strong-willed, sometimes violent female protagonist? Check. Romance with mysterious, potentially dangerous guy met in less-than-auspicious circumstances? Check. Father killed by ruthless regime? Check. Sibling who needs to be cared for/avenged? Check. Heroine who's forced to fight for others' entertainment? Check.

So, that's a little snarky, because the first book in Moira Young's "Dustlands" series is far greater than the sum of those parts. It would also be wrong to describe it as a mashup of _Hunger Games_ and Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," though it's that, too. Oh, hell: maybe there are just so many dystopian possibilities, and eventually they all sound alike.

What sets this one apart, though: its heroine, Saba, is not alone on her quest. She's eventually joined by an oddball group of improbable helpers, including my favorites, the renegade band of warrior girls who call themselves the Free Hawks.

The language here is also interesting; although we discover early on that Saba (and everyone else in this world) is illiterate (only the father of the evil King seems to be able to read), she understands how stories work. Her language seems designed to reflect this--no quotation marks, lots of dropped "g"s, and phonetic spelling. To wit, lines like "Yer gittin out alive warn't nuthin to do with me in the end."

The dialect-like language has an odd effect. It's not as irritating as I thought it would be, and as the story evolves into a postapocalyptic Western, it really works, since the drawl adds to the characters' cowboy-ish natures.

There are also some great sidekicks in this book: Saba's brilliant pet crow, Nero, and the tavern-owner Ike among them. I was really disappointed, though, that _Blood Red Road_ did *not* avoid the trope of killing off the lone character of color. Seriously: why?

Still, I'll probably read the next and future installments in this series. But I will also hope that there are some YA writers out there working on dystopian fiction that breaks a few of the rules that are harnessing the genre right now. ( )
  rvhatha | Feb 26, 2014 |
It took me a second try to get over the problems I had with the language (grammar and spelling particularities), but boy am I thankful I gave it another chance! This is just an overall fun adventure and a lot of action with quite some laugh-out-lot moments which helped lessen the tension quite effectively.
Saba is an awesome and strong heroine who doesn't take shit from anyone, I simply loved her stubborn character. The love story was great (YAY for non-instalove!) and, dare I say, hot! I am really looking forward to reading the second book in this series.


(edit by me a.k.a. mapheaded.tumblr.com)

I love this series and Saba/Jack so f*!@*$ much I finally had to make a fanmix!
[ over here ]

Also: my official Saba/Jack fancast:

In that sense, take this word of advice and GO READ THIS BOOK!
( )
  byeol | Nov 17, 2013 |
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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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