In a wild and lawless future, where life is cheap and survival is hard, eighteen-year-old Saba lives with her father, her twin brother Lugh, her young sister Emmi and her pet crow Nero. Theirs is a hard and lonely life. The family resides in a secluded shed, their nearest neighbour living many miles away and the lake, their only source of water and main provider of food, gradually dying from the lack of rain. But Saba’s father refuses to leave the place where he buried his beloved wife, Allis, nine years ago. Allis died giving birth to Emmi, and Saba has never forgiven her sister for their mother’s death.
But while she despises Emmi, Saba adores her twin brother Lugh. Golden-haired and blue-eyed, loving and good, he seems the complete opposite to dark-haired Saba, who is full of anger and driven by a ruthless survival instinct. To Saba, Lugh is her light and she is his shadow, he is the day, she is the nighttime, he is beautiful, she is ugly, he is good, she is bad.
So Saba’s small world is brutally torn apart, when a group of armed riders arrives five day’s after the twin’s eighteenth birthday snatch Lugh away. Saba’s rage is so wild, that she manages to drive the men away, but not before they have captured Lugh and killed their father.
And here begins Saba’s epic quest to rescue Lugh, during which she is tested by trials she could not have imagined, and one that takes the reader on breathtaking ride full or romance, physical adventure and unforgettably vivid characters, making this a truly sensational YA debut novel.
Dystopian books will always hold a special. The market has become a bit over-saturated, but that certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t good dystopian tales out there. Besides, the Divergent series is what started my love for reading.
So when I plucked Blood Red Road from my TBR jar, I was quite excited. Many of my friends adore this novel. It is some of their all-time favorite books, the story that still holds a place in their heart. But I must admit seeing several quotes about Blood Red Road being compared to The Hunger Games, I was a bit skeptical. (Sorry, I don’t like The Hunger Games. Now please put down the pitchforks and do NOT kill me.)
Nonetheless, I was excited to dive into Blood Red Road. I’m immediately placed in a world where common necessities are scarce and most of the land is dry. These qualities bring immediate interest, but the writing style that was weaving this world was distracting to me.
I never knew that missin somebody could hurt, I says. But it does. Deep inside. Like it’s in my bones. We ain’t never bin apart till now. Never. I dunno how to be without him. It’s like… I ain’t nuthin.
The entire book was written exactly like this. No quotations. No chapters.
I admire the author taking a bold move to sticking with a voice like this through the entire novel, but it was a bit difficult for me to adjust to in the beginning of the novel. Once I grew used to it though, I was breezing through the pages.
Young doesn’t take long to pull her readers into the adventure. Within the first twenty pages or so, we’re getting deep into the action. But I love the way Young handled it. She gave me enough time to see the world she has built and these characters living in it before sending in men on horses to kick off the adventure.
Blood Red Road is classic in its development. We’re introduced to the world and the main character, along with their struggles. Then comes the daring adventure that forces our heroine into action. Along the way, our heroine, the strong and sassy Saba, meets some friends, fights many battles, learns new things about herself, and maybe finds love.
This is where my enthusiasm for Blood Red Road began to diminish. I was hoping this story would focus on family and possibly hint at a romance with another. Instead, it does become a focal point of the novel. Now I’m not against romance in a story. (I mean, Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favorite books and I’m constantly raving about Étienne).
THERE’S MY BOY.
Alright, back to my point. I do like romance, but it has to feel real. And to me, the romance between Saba and her love interest felt a bit stiff, stilted, and insta-lovey. There were aspects of it that were endearing and sweet, but it didn’t fit into the story too well in my eyes.
Still, I appreciate how Blood Red Road created a very real family. Saba and her twin brother Lugh are extremely close, but Saba doesn’t like their little sister because her mother died while giving birth to her. She’s never forgiven her since.
But throughout the novel, we see a shift in Saba and Emmi’s relationship that’s very real and beautiful. This, by far, had to be my favorite aspect of the novel. With most YA novels, especially dystopian, most of the main character’s family is dead or completely unimportant to the story. I love that Young made family the core of this novel, and though it sometimes felt overshadowed in this romance, I appreciate that she wrote about it.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Blood Red Road and following Saba on this wild journey of blood and dust and monsters from the ground and a man dressed up like a king and a ship on wheels. (Yes, these are all real things that happen in the novel and it is kind of amazing.) However, nothing really stuck with me after closing the book, so I most likely won’t continue this series.
Well, we’ve barely been in the new year and I’ve already fangirled over Étienne again. And during a review for a dystopian novel. But you know what one of my resolutions for the new year is? To feel everything and accept it. So yes, I’m a fangirl.
All the time. That is me all the time. And now I’ve accepted it.
ANYWAYS. Have you read Blood Red Road? If you did, what are your thoughts on it? What are your favorite dystopian novels? Do let me know and leave any other thoughts or comments down below.