REVIEW: "Blood Red Road", by Moira Young

Title: Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Format: Paperback
Pages: 492
Publisher: Marion Lloyd
Release Date: June 2nd 2011

Taken from Goodreads

In a lawless future land, where life is cheap and survival is hard, Saba has been brought up in isolated Silverlake. She never sees the dangers of the destructive society outside. When her twin brother is snatched by mysterious black-robed riders, she sets outon an epic quest to rescue him. The story's searing pace, its spare style, the excitement of its fabulously damaged world, its unforgettably vivid characters, its violent action and glorious lovestory make this a truly sensational YA debut novel.


As I begin this review, I have no idea how many stars this book's going to end up getting off me! Let's see if we can work it out together... 

This is a book which has received tremendous praise from many other bloggers and reviewers. On the one hand, there was something strangely powerful about this book. The dialectical spellings and the improper punctuation added something to the dark depth of this story. On the other hand, I found some of the characters to be too shallowly drawn to truly like them... 

I loved the echoes of T.S Eliot's Wasteland in the early descriptions of the book. I also wondered if Moira Young might have ever come across Final Fantasy XII; her description of the Sandsea was very reminiscent of the location (of the same name) in that game. There was also a strong Western element to Blood Red Road. These days, (in spite of some valiant efforts from Hollywood) cowboy flicks have fallen by the tumbleweed-strewn wayside. But I grew up watching John Wayne movies with my parents and I still kind of want to jump on a stallion, kiss my favourite gal g'bye and ride off into the sunset with a gun on my hip! So, while some might see this element of the book as a negative, it actually appealed to me.  

Now I think about it, given the dystopian and western elements of the book, I suppose it reminded me a little of Roland Deschain's world in Stephen King's Dark Tower series.* Moira Young's references to the "Wreckers" who ruined the world, was decidedly evocative of King's novels. Saba's world was one which had moved on. I suppose all books in the dystopia genre portray such worlds though, don't they? 

Saba was a great kick-ass female protagonist, but I felt that there were times when she lacked depth. I loved her shaven-headed cage-fighting toughness, but also thought that she frequently seemed a lot younger than her eighteen years. She displayed a lack of empathy which sometimes seemed more like a serious psychological problem than a quirky character trait. She treated her little sister in a way which might have been more forgiveable if she was young girl, but which seemed like bratty selfishness in a young woman. While I believe Saba's immaturity and shallow proclivities were deliberate, (over the course of the book she does develop) even by the end of her journey she still didn't quite fit her eighteen years. And yet, it is her society has kept her young and ignorant... 

Hmm... suddenly the character drawbacks of the book seem for more deliberate and meaningful. I'm seeing depth where I didn't before. It's that kind of book. It needs attention. It needs thought. And suddenly, I'm appreciating it a lot more...

The antagonist of the book was a loony-tunes self-proclaimed King who was keeping his subjects high on a substance called "chaal". Dystopian books often tend to portray "The People" as sheep who have lost their way under the thumb of an evil rule, which has the potential to either save or doom itself. This mass is often drugged in some way, whether it be through propaganda, indoctrination or funky Kool-Aid. Young literally drugs her society, so the symbolism wasn't subtle, but it was still effective.

The inevitable love interest of the book was a young rogue by the name of Jack. While I liked his witty banter and his confident personality, Jack also struck me as a bit of a player. His lecherous stare when he first met Saba put me off. I was actually
far more intrigued by the leader of the brutal Tonton, DeMalo. Before you start, I'm not swooning over the bad boy. I think my curiosity stems from the fact that DeMalo was a character with secrets. I'm looking forward to learning more about this fella.

Right. It's time to wrap this up and try to come to a conclusion. And you know what? Any book which gives me so much to talk about evidently has power. I don't think I realised the layers that this book had until I sat down to write about it. The flaws I saw in the book suddenly seem like secret little gems to be studied and praised. Saba's journey is going to be one which will test the innocence of her character and force her to be wise beyond her years. 

This is a book which has a strange power. It's kind of burrowed under my skin and I just know it's going to stick around! I'm really looking forward to following the rest of the series! I anticipated a four star review, but in discussing the book, I've come to appreciate it even more. Five stars! Gotta be!

*For more on my desire to be a gunslinger, read my review of The Wind Through The Keyhole, by Stephen King. 


  1. This sounds like a really intriguing book! Yours is the first review I've read :) I've added it to my TBR list.

  2. Thank you! When you get around to reading it, be sure to pop back and let me know your thoughts! ;) x

  3. SOunds like a really fab read - I've had this on my wishlist for ages. I think the time to cave and finally buy it has come lol Great review!

  4. Yes, I LOVE this book and I really can't wait for Rebel Hearts to come out!! Great review :)


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