Review: Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road
Moira Young
2011
Doubleday Canada
978-0-385-67183-5

Saba lives in Silverlake, a desert wasteland, with her father, her twin brother, Lugh, her sister, Emmi, and her pet crow, Nero. Saba and Lugh are close, but Saba resents Emmi because their mother died giving birth to her. Although the lake they depend on for food and water is drying up, Saba’s father refuses to leave the place where his wife died. When four horsemen arrive amidst a sandstorm, killing Saba’s father and capturing Lugh, Saba sets out to rescue her brother. She soon discovers the outside world is full of danger, but she also finds out just how strong and capable she is.

The first time I tried to read Blood Red Road, I put it down because I found the characters’ way of speaking irritating to read and just couldn’t get into the story. I’m glad I gave it another chance, though, because it turned out to be a compelling story. Saba is a lot stronger than she realizes and endures a lot of physical hardships in her quest to find Lugh. Although Saba’s unalterable love for her brother is admirable, it’s her relationship with Emmi that is the most compelling. Over the course of the novel, Emmi proves that she is smart and just as much of a fighter as Saba, who eventually begins to respect her little sister rather than treat her as an annoyance. There’s also a touch of romance in the story between Saba and Jack, a boy who proves pivotal in helping her locate and rescue Lugh. The inside cover indicates this is “Dustlands Book One,” so I expect Saba’s adventures will continue. However, the book can stand on its own very nicely. Blood Red Road is an exciting adventure/survival story reminiscent of The Hunger Games and The Knife of Never Letting Go. The book is nominated for the 2012 White Pine award.

 

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