Review: Blood Red Road

July 30, 2013 Review 65 ★★★★½

Review: Blood Red Road
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 459
Release Date: June 7th, 2011
Series: Dustlands #1
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Saba learns that she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Saba and her new friends stage a showdown that change the course of her civilization.


Towards the beginning of January, I tried to read BLOOD RED ROAD but put it down after about five pages. I thought it wasn’t a book for me. I could not have been more wrong.

Saba has had a tough go at life lately, there hasn’t been rain for ages in her desert wasteland of a home, and when a sandstorm brings in four mysterious men, things get even worse. They take Lugh, her twin brother, and leave Saba to fend for herself and her little sister, Emmi.9917938

BLOOD RED ROAD reminded me of the reasons why I love dystopia so much. Kick-ass characters band together to survive in a crazy world, unlikely friendships begin, and even romance takes bloom. This novel has all of those and more, and I loved every minute of it. I would have picked up the sequel immediately if I could have.

All the characters were fantastic, each being so uniquely different and interesting, but none were more interesting than that of our heroine, Saba. She is a true heroine, one that has obvious flaws and doubts, but overcomes them all to do what is best for her and the people she cares about.

The reason  I gave up on this before was because of the dialect and writing style. There are no quotation marks to indicate dialogue, only a “he says, I says” type of indication, and the words are written very simple and primitive. It was slow going at first, but once I became immersed in the story, I did not even notice the absence of an “I” here or a “fer” there.

I am so glad I gave this a second chance, and know I have definitely learned my lesson.

On a side note, am I the only one rooting for a love triangle with Jack, Saba, and DeMalo? Just me?

Rating Report
Overall: 4.6

65 Responses to “Review: Blood Red Road”

    • Alise

      I did the same exact thing the first thing I tried to read this one, I just decided to sit down and get used to it and I eventually did!

  1. Nara

    YOU’RE ROOTING FOR A LOVE TRIANGLE?!? First time I’ve ever seen someone actually want a love triangle haha. I do agree, this book is pretty unique! The characters definitely are the best aspect of the novel. It does take a while to get into the writing style though, and to be honest, I had some issues with the pacing, but it’s nice that you really enjoyed it! :)
    Nara recently posted…Review: Hearts in Exile by Mysti Parker

    • Alise

      Baha, yes! I don’t know, I just really would like to see DeMalo as a love interest xD The pacing in a dystopia can always be a challenge, I agree.

    • Alise

      I can’t blame you, I did the exact same thing, and I am so glad I decided to give this one a chance. Once you get used to it, it really was a great story!

  2. Eve

    After reading Angelfall and loving Penryn, I think I will only ever accept strong heroines and Saba sounds just like one I would be able to connect with. I’ve had my eyes on this book for a while, so it’s nice to see that more than one person loves it. And the writing style sounds interesting, even though it’s probably going to take me some time to get used to it. I can’t wait to read this now!
    Eve recently posted…Review: Angelfall

    • Alise

      I’m reading Angelfall soon so that is great to hear! It does take time and patience to get used to, make no mistake, but it is worth it :)

    • Alise

      Wow, I can’t believe how many people did the same thing I did. I never would have thought about an audiobook but that is a great idea! I hope you do try it again.

  3. Sam @ Realm of Fiction

    It took me a little while to get used to the writing too! I had no idea that there wouldn’t be any speech marks, so it was definitely an odd experience the first time around. I’m glad you gave this another go and ended up enjoying it. I loved Saba’s character here too… but she drive me near crazy in the sequel! I can’t wait to see what you think of it. :)
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Beginnings & Endings in Books

    • Alise

      The lack of quotations was very hard to get used to too. I actually know what you mean by Saba’s personality change because I already read Rebel Heart and wow, does she change. So frustrating, I agree!

  4. lectus

    I was so loving the beginning of this book. But when Saba became all Xena I lost interest. I do like kick ass heroines but they need to sound real (for me) too. Saba’s transformation in the angel was death (is that the right name) was too fantastic for my taste.
    lectus recently posted…Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano

  5. Kezia

    I’m sooo glad that you liked it more than I did!! I thought it was decent, but I admit I loved the fighting scenes :) oh…and Jack too! Not a fan of the writing style too at first, luckily I quickly adapted to it… I had some issues with the heroine — I thought she was too strong and stubborn at times — but I’m really glad that it wasn’t the case with you!

    Hmm, I don’t really remember who DeMalois but IMO love triangle doesn’t suit the book…it could either overshadow the actions or spice things up. Finger crossed if there was ever a triangle, please let it be good!
    Kezia recently posted…[Tour Stop: Giveaway] Chaotic by C.A. Williams

    • Alise

      I am stubborn so maybe that was why I connected with her so much xD I don’t think a love triangle would suit the book either and I am definitely 100% on Jack’s side but there’s just something about DeMalo that really intrigues me! And in the next book, well *cough* my wish kinda comes true *cough* :D

  6. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    So funny and strange that we sometimes dislike books at our first try, but end up loving them a lot the second time :D Perhaps it’s a bit of a “wrong time” for some stories. I love unique characters! It’s great when they have distinct voices and when they have some flaws.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Recap Italy.

    • Alise

      Right? I guess it depends on our attitude and mindset at the time. Flawed characters are the best because they are the most realistic :D

      • Alise

        I have the Game of Thrones paperback box set and they are so small I’m really worried I will have the same problem!

  7. Becca @ Nawanda Files

    I loved this one too, Alise! I agree, the characters were so amazing. I fell in love with Saba and Jack. I didn’t like DeMalo enough for a love triangle lol, but I heard the sequel is more romance-focused. The new covers are so much better than the old ones too. They’re some of my favorites. Glad you gave this one a second shot :D
    Becca @ Nawanda Files recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Beginnings & Endings

    • Alise

      Oh, I love Saba and Jack too! I just liked the mystery surrounding DeMalo and thought it would be interesting to see more of him. Yeah, I read the sequel already and it is definitely a change from the first book. It took a bit to grow on me but now I also like the cover changes.

  8. Heather@The Flyleaf Review

    Yes to all the points you made in this review! BRR is an example of a GREAT dystopian. Plus I love the Western/ Road Warrior vibe it has, you know? And I was put off by the dialect in the beginning too–but I stuck with it and am so happy I did. It takes a bit to get used to that Beverly Hillbilly/ Ellie Mae Clampitt twang but once I finished the book I actually appreciated Young’s decision to write it that way. It really got me into Saba’s head and the landscape/ world they were living in.

    So you want a Saba/Jack/DeMalo triangle you say…well I’ve read Rebel Heart, the sequel, and I’ll just say that you should DEFINITELY pick that book up sooner rather than later:)

    Great review!
    Heather@The Flyleaf Review recently posted…Mini Reviews: Dare You To by Katie McGarry and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

    • Alise

      I know exactly what you mean, very adventurous! Beverly Hillbilly is what I was reminded of, too!

      Yes, my predictions were right! :D But yeah, I read Rebel Heart a few days ago (this post has been scheduled) and thought it moved kind of fast and Saba really changed.

      Thank you!

    • Alise

      Ooh, you really should! I think the audiobook would help with getting into the dialect because you would hear it out loud instead of struggling with it like I did in my head.

    • Alise

      I hear you, I just finished Rebel Heart and was disappointed in it. Saba really changed. I did like the book, but it was very different.

    • Alise

      I’m pretty easygoing with dystopia so I don’t know if you would enjoy it as much as I did but I would love to read your review if you ever wrote one. The writing style is very unique! Thanks :D

    • Alise

      It is definitely a challenge, but it only takes a bit to get used to it. After that, it’s a great book! I hope you give it another try!

  9. Romi Foster

    This sounds GREAT! I’m glad you loved it so much and gave it a second chance- I started the Book Thief once and didn’t like it after a few pages, so I put it down. When I went back and read it again, I loved it so much and it became one of my all time favourite books- it’s certainly unnerving, thinking how you almost let books like that go! Excellent review- I remember being a little unsure about the writing when I read an excerpt from this ages ago, and I’m still not entirely sure if I should read it, but I’m definitely warming!
    Romi Foster recently posted…The Cloud Road by Isobelle Carmody.

    • Alise

      Oh, I know! That’s why I always try and stick it out at least 100 pages :) I still need to read the Book Thief! I hope you do give this a go eventually!

  10. Aman

    I remember when it came out, I didn’t even gave it a second thought because of my disinterest in dystopians. I was more of a contemporary and historical fan back then. Well, still am :) But now I’m really liking the premises. Definitely adding it to my tbr. Thanks for sharing, Alise.
    Aman recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (46)

    • Alise

      We are almost the opposite, I am more dystopia than contemporary :D Glad you may have found a dystopia that interests you!

  11. Aylee

    Oh yes, I’m glad you gave this a second chance too because I loved this book so much, as well!! So glad you liked Saba because I know a lot of people don’t. She’s definitely flawed, but that doesn’t make her a bad character! The writing took me a bit of getting used to, as well. Great thoughts!
    Aylee recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday: Penguin Fall 2013 Catalog

  12. Soma Rostam

    Well, Alice
    I have heard a lot about this series
    And i love dystopia, but I haven’t read it in a while
    GREAT review, though
    Your reader,

    • Alise

      Yeah, I enjoyed that part once I got used to it too :)
      I’ve read the second book and was kind of disappointed.

  13. Bookworm1858

    Um, I was not rooting for a love triangle-interested to see your full thoughts on book 2 as I was disappointed as well though maybe for different reasons.

    I was intimidated to try this because of the dialect but I became immersed so easily that soon I forgot all about it and just enjoyed the ride. Wish the second book had been more pleasing to me though.
    Bookworm1858 recently posted…ARC Review: The Lotus Palace

    • Alise

      I was just so curious about DeMalo and thought for sure there would be something with him and Saba and of course, there was in the next book. I disliked the sequel because Saba changed so much, and she flew into that little fling with DeMalo.

  14. Neysa Kristanti

    I actually gave up reading this one too because of how it’s written, but glad to hear that you’ve gave this one a second try and ended up loving it! Maybe I’ll give this one a try again someday soon :)
    And oohh, I really love it when there’s a love triangle that made you root for it rather than shout “Really?!” at it.

    Nice review as always, Alise!

    Neysa @ {B.O.O.K.L.I.F.E]
    Neysa Kristanti recently posted…Summer Road Trip Giveaway Hop

    • Alise

      It’s not quite yet a love triangle but I did wish is were xD

      Yeah, it’s definitely a challenge at first but you get used to it. I hope you give it another chance! :D

    • Alise

      Yep, I definitely agree with you there! :) Now that I have read it, I can’t imagine it being written any other way!

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