Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Nancy Farmer, author of The House of the Scorpion:
“I absolutely loved Blood Red Road. What a great read! Moira Young goes over the top with a most engaging heroine. Saba is a crusty, foul-tempered warrior woman who must be covered in scar tissue by the end of the book, but men still follow her around like starving wolves. The dialogue is fast and often humorous, the pace never lets up. No situation is so bad that it can't get worse in the next couple of pages. I especially liked the awakening of the hellwurms as they emerge to feed. Well done, Ms. Young!”
This dystopian novel, by Moira Young, is her first novel and she hits the ball out of the park. The pace of this book is intense. It has a lyrical, minimalist style of writing, with no quotation marks throughout the book. The book is written in first person from Saba’s point of view and the lack of quotations marks is very easy to get adjusted to. The book is full of violent action and an epic love story.
Saba and her twin brother Lugh have spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland subjected to constant sandstorms. Along with the twins are a younger sister, Emmi, and their father. A tsunami sandstorm arrives in Silverlake along with four cloaked horsemen. Their father was killed in the raid and Lugh was captured for, as yet unknown reason.
Saba sets out on an epic quest to get him back. After leaving Emmi with a friend three days ride from their home, Saba must backtrack and then head out alone on her quest. She is introduced to the unpleasantness of the desolate world outside of Silverlake.
We know that Saba is strong in the beginning of the book, but she is always in the shadow of her brother. The twins have an unusually strong bond, which gives Saba the strength to go rescue her brother. Saba is stubborn and hard headed, making her the quintessence heroine in this series of books. She faces everything head-on with the same strength and stubbornness, but she learns and grows because of the other people she meets along her journey.
It goes without saying that Saba is an unbeatable survivor, a ferocious fighter and had the power to take down a corrupt society trying to rule what is left of the world. She teams up with a daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl rebels called the Free Hawks, in order to help change the course of her own civilization.
I will give no spoilers to the end of this book because it is much too good not to read yourself. At 450 pages, this book is the first in the Dustlands series and I think it will keep young adults – and even adults like me – eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.