Book Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young
I didn’t instantly click with Blood Red Road by Moira Young. I was initially put off by the writing style as it’s written in dialect. Yet the early buzz reviews said Blood Red Road is awesome. You know, I am SO glad I stuck with it, because before I realized it, Blood Red Road sunk it’s claws into me and I became emotionally invested in this book.
Blood Red Road has high stakes. Opening with a high action scene, Saba an older teenage girl, witnesses the murder of her father and the abduction of her brother Lugh by this KGB-esque group known as the Ton-ton. Saba and her little sister Emmi who she isn’t too keen on then begin a journey to save Lugh with various characters joining their rag tag group along the way.
Moira Young completely nailed the worldbulding in this book. Saba’s world is completely believable. We the readers can see the effect of the chaal, which is a mind-altering drug common to Saba’s world. The scenery pretty much plays a role as the desert impacts much of Saba’s choices. Of course, the world these characters live in was not always this way, in fact it’s our world after all of our technology fails and becomes known as wrecker technology. However, it is never overtly said what happen, the book merely hints at how society fell. The worldbuilding is intricately detailed, with reasonable and believable influnece on everything from social constructs to the sort of language the characters speak with, which is informal and well, you’ll see why when you read the book.
I connect with books because of characters. I know it might be different for you, dear reader, but I need a character in order for me to just click with the book. Saba could totally be my home girl. You know, because I rock 1990s language like a G. She’s this kickass girl with a little thing I like to call bloodlust. Not vampire blood lust, but the need to survive at all costs bloodlust. She’s loyal to death, putting her life on the line for those she loves. Also, ah she’s one of my favorite types of leader characters, the reluctant leader. Saba isn’t down for everything, but she rises up and does what she has to do. However, she has her faults as well. I mean, she’s really not nice to her sister Emmi at all, resenting Emmi for the death of her mother. However, this provides a bit of a catalyst for Saba to change and a relationship for her to examine, and well, of course we see that relationship develop and evolve and it’s awesome to see a family dynamic change play out for a change.
Although, if we are speaking about relationship dynamics, I think I would do you a disservice if I never mentioned Jack during this review. Ya’ll he brings the nice slow swoon that creeps up on you. It’s definitely been brought. Also, can I just say I never ever thought a song about Cruel Annie would be sigh-inducing, but oh it definitely is and it made this little heart of mine beat beat BEAT. They have a slow developing relationship, which is very nice to see although the whole seriousness of everything does help to bring them together. However, AH, I just loved the whole development of the relationship and felt it was an awesome bonus.
OH OH, I can’t believe I have typed this far without mentioning the ultimate bird pet: NERO. Guys, I hate birds. I think they are the stupidest pet out there, right up with fish. So, I’m like yeah okay whatever a bird. THEN Nero just brought the noise and acted more like a loyal flying dog and I’m like dudes, Nero, he can be in my clique. Seriously, I’ve never felt so pumped over a goddamn bird until NERO. Best.bird.ever.
I think Blood Red Road brings something new to the dystopian/post-apocalyptic genre. Now, I don’t play that whole semantics game and do conflate dystopia and post-apocalyptic but I just loved that this had a desert like setting. I loved that the characters spoke in dialect. I mean, sure this is the classic hero journey archetype as the brilliant Anna said in a convo. But, it’s so easy for me to connect with the themes of freedom, love, and loyalty. I was completely transported to another world, lost in my ereader. I felt the gamut of emotions while reading this and I highly recommend it for you when the doctor orders a healthy dose of escapism.
Disclosure: Review copy received via Galley Grab.