Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Book Depository | Goodreads
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 is an epic adventure from start to finish. While I count it in the dystopian and post-apocalyptic genres, it feels much more like a real western. I kept picturing the TV show Firefly as I read, minus the tech.
Our heroine is Saba, who starts her journey when her twin brother is kidnapped. What I love most about her is that she starts off as a determined, no-nonsense, almost unlikeable person. And what I love more, is that she doesn't change entirely. She's still determined and no-nonsense, but she can kick more ass and is a bit more likeable. She changes for the better in the areas that she needed to grow, but she's still the same girl at the end of it all. Everything she does and says as the book moves along always makes sense, even if they're the sorts of things you don't want to see from a heroine.
The secondary characters are great as well, from Saba's little sister Emmi, to the group of warrior girls she (reluctantly) befriends, and Jack, the love interest. I can see why Jack would be an appealing interest, but this was where the novel lost me for a bit, because it's one of those 'destined to be together because our eyes met and I feel warm about it all the time' sort of romances. I still enjoyed the sort-of flirting and their back and forth feelings for each other as their friendship grew, but the start of it bothered me.
Also fun was the writing itself. It was a little jarring at first ("would/could of" is one of my biggest pet peeves), reading Saba's mispronunciations and misspellings, but once I got going it made picturing Saba and her world that much easier.
I really enjoyed Blood Red Road for the departure from most teen dystopian/apocalyptic novels these days. It's a fun ride from start to finish, and, joy of all joys, it wraps up at the end despite this being the first in a series.