Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blood Red Road, by Moira Young- Review

From 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.

It never ceases to amaze me how I can be such a prolific reader and still periodically miss out on the greatest books.  I remember when Blood Red Road came out last year, I distinctly recall thinking, not for me and passing on it.  I also remember wondering if I had made a mistake when everyone started raving about it, but then I saw the MTV quote about it being better than the Hunger Games and I thought nope, this is going to suck.  Because whenever those kinds of comparisons start being hurled around, it generally means it's too good to be true.  Or a total rip off, which is just as bad.  But after a year of hearing about how great this book was from people whose opinion I respect, I knew it was time to dig in.

On the one hand, I have to say I'm glad I didn't have to wait for Rebel Heart, on the other I cannot believe I deprived myself from Blood Red Road's magnificence for this long.  I wish I could go back in time and smack myself upside the head.

Saba was everything I want in a strong, fearless, female lead.  She's absolute no-nonsense, and will do whatever it takes to survive, its this survivor instinct where the Hunger Games references stem from.  Her cage fighting, fame as the Angel of Death and cunning escape plan are all very reminiscent of Katniss in the games, but it is one hundred percent it's own thing as well.  Plus, she said things that reminded of me sometimes,
That's good, I says.  I'd hate to hurt a horse.
But you don't mind if it's a person, says Jack.
They can take care of theirselves, I says.
Remind me mot to git on the wrong side of you , he says.

Blood Red Road is a rolling epic full of action and heart-stopping action.  It was one of those books I was hard pressed to put down, and every time a new obstacle rolled into view I couldn't help but think, how in gods name is Young going to write them out of this one?  The saves were her particular kind of genius as I never saw them coming, but they were fun and exciting but not so outlandish I couldn't get behind them.
About time, I says.  Who're yer friends?
The raiders from the western road, she says.  We called a truce.  They're a wild crowd.  When they heard there might be a fight, I couldn't keep 'em away.  She tosses me Hermes' reins.  Just outta interest, do you go lookin fer trouble, or does it jest find you?
I wish I knew, I says

This book wasn't all action and no heart though, there was also excellent relationships and several very notable characters.  Jack, Emmi, the Free Hawks, Ike and Tommo all managed to steal whichever scenes they were in.  Unusually, I felt myself equally drawn to all of them, with no particular favorites.  I especially liked how Young softened Saba by all her friendships and not just by her love interest Jack. 

Speaking of Jack, I would be remiss if I didn't mention how well I thought Young wrote her love interest into this tough ass, hard fighting, book.  There weren't mushy gooey-eyed moments, Saba and Jack repel each other almost as much as they attract, and it was fitting considering how stubborn and individual they both are.  But I would be lying if I didn't admit I suspect a triangle with De Malo.  Fingers crossed Young goes with an original twist and not just the same old, Saba's just not that kind of girl.

A fantastically gripping book, that left me dying to dig into Rebel Heart immediately.  If you haven't read it yet, time to rectify that oversight immediately.  Just make sure you pick up Rebel Heart at the same time.  Speaking of which, join me tomorrow for my review of Rebel Heart and again on Friday when Moira Young drops by to chat about world building!  Also, don't forget to check out these other great stops on the Rebel Heart Blog Tour this week:

Blood Red Road, by Moria Young
Published by Doubleday, June 7th 2011
Buy Blood Red Road on Amazon