Blood Red Road Book Review

Lugh shines like the sun. That must have made it easier fer them to find him. All they had to do was follow his light.

pg 3

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

This book was weird for me. It was about a girl, Saba, who is one half a set o’ twins. Her brother, Lugh, is handsome and blonde while Saba favors their father for her dark looks. These two are closer than two peas in a pod. Saba holds a grudge against her younger sister, Emmi, because it was giving birth to her that killed their mother. So while Saba would do anything for Lugh, she is slow to pick up for Emmi. This later becomes a major focus of the story; as you might suspect it has a lot to do with bonding.

Saba and her siblings and father live in the middle of a wasteland. There’s nothing around. They scratch out a survival and live with only themselves for company. Things are slowly starting to crumble as Saba’s father grows more senile and it all falls apart when, during a huge sandstorm, black riders come in, kill her father and steal Lugh away. Saba goes after him– how can she not?– and embarks on a journey that will change her and her family forever.

If you were to venture to Amazon’s page and look inside the book, you would come across the page I quoted at the top of this post. It’s written in a poetic narrative style. I’ve read a few books like this before and I enjoyed them, but when I saw this, I was really excited, for I’d never read an adventure book like this before.

Unfortunately, it only lasted for a page. Then it became a regular gritty first person present tense story. I was very disappointed.

But I got over it.

The writing style was harsh. Saba was a frustrated and angry main character and she was very violent. After she sets off to capture Lugh, Emmi follows her and they are then both captured and Saba is forced to fight for entertainment, much like Maximus in Gladiator. She kills an incredible amount of people and has very little afterthought about it. Maybe because she was fighting for her life? Maybe she just pushed all the feeling aside.

One very unique thing about this book is the tight feel, the lack of any excess. And by that I mean, there are no quotes around any dialogue. I found it well-suited to the style of the book– Saba seems to be uneducated and disdainful of useless things. While I wouldn’t say that quotation marks are useless exactly, they made her seem more raw. Wild. Even punctuation could not tame her!

Some other reviews I read said that made the book hard to follow but I had no issue with it. I’ve read another story like this– Our Only May Amelia– so it could be my experience. Or just that it really wasn’t that hard to deal with.

As our narrator, Saba is blunt. The writing is tuned to her voice, like in the Knife of Never Letting Go. So you can read it aloud and sound rustic. It’s kinda fun, however, Saba occasionally broke out into very uncharacteristic proper speech and I was all, what? I wouldn’t call Saba the most engaging though she does differ from most other girls in stories I’ve read lately. She was bold and very brave, violent and certainly a warrior.

The other characters are the kind you expect in an old-fashioned adventure– as the story goes on, the main character picks up more and more people and no two are alike. I wouldn’t call them interesting or claim to remember their names, but they were there and when I was reading the book they seemed fine.

Saba has a love interest, but I honestly have no idea what his name is. Let me look it up.

It was Jack. How did I forget a name like Jack? It’s so simple….

Anyways, Jack was probably the most intriguing character here. This is mainly because Saba loves him, so she spends, a) a lot of time with him and b) opens up and converses about more engaging things. I really enjoyed reading about them together, even though I wasn’t expecting this to be a romance novel. I mean, it isn’t solely romance, but I was expecting it to be really low-key. However, their bickering and reconciling was– cute? Fun? I guess I just liked that they talked with each other. FYI, there’s a hot make out scene that totally caught me unexpected (like I said, I was expecting low-key, maybe a confession at most). So if you worry about the corruption of your younglings, well, I warned you.

The nicest thing about the romance was that it didn’t totally take over the plot. Saba was very focused on her brother and a lot of her changes as a character stemmed not from meeting some hot new guy that shows her the other side of the world, but in learning to love her sister and the bond between them. As she opens up to her, she is then in turn, able to accept Jack as a part of her life. I found out recently that this book is going to the first in a trilogy so I’m sure there will be more character growth coming up.

Plot-wise I think my only gripe was that Saba’s journey turned from something that mattered a lot to her into a rebellion against the civilization she lived in. This land was very wild and lawless and apparently the “rulers” were the ones who grew and sold this drug that just about everyone was using. They were the ones who (mild spoilers) captured Lugh and were going to use him as a sacrifice because the head honcho thought this would keep him youthful and alive. While this aspect gave the book a “race against time” feel, it also kinda ruined it for me. Because what if the next books are a Hunger Games-esque rebellion? I’m sick of that! There are so many dystopian books out lately, I picked this one up because it wasn’t one.

I liked that this was a personal journey for Saba. I’ve read many a book that had no larger implications for the world they took place in and that’s fine. I don’t think every story has to change the world. I wish this one was like that, simple. I just don’t feel like there is enough reason for Saba to really want to get involved with this. For the whole length of the book she was focused on Lugh and then in the last few pages it was like, a government take-down all of a sudden. It just didn’t seem to fit with the story.

Anyways, I’m not sure if I’m going to read the next book in this series. It was sorta luke-warm for me. It honestly seemed like a mash up of Gladiator the movie (excellent) and the Inferior, a superb book written by Peadar Ó Guilín that I just might have to review now so you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I would say read this, because it is refreshing in many ways. It’s a lot of gritty and action-y and I feel like dudes would enjoy this, despite it being written from a girl’s point of view. Saba is raw and her life fast-paced. She’s happy to meet you. I’m sure you’ll like her.

Ri’s Rating:


0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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