Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blood Red Road - Moira Young

I love this book. Seriously.
Suspense, action and a little bit of romance are all packed into this 459 page young adult novel by Canadian-born UK author MoiraYoung. Blood Red Road is quite often compared to its extremely successful predecessor, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, partly because of its post-apocalyptic setting and tough, butt-kicking female protagonist. However, there are many factors that make Blood Red Road its own success, and it has nothing to do with children killing each other in an arena on live television.

Blood Red Road is a novel written by Canadian-born UK author Moira Young, published June 2nd 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Though the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” rings true, many readers do it anyway. Physically, cover art itself is eye-catching. The protagonist, Saba, has lived her entire life with her twin brother and family at Silverlake, a dry, sandstorm-ravaged desert. This is reflected in the cover image of a solitary figure walking across a barren wasteland. What it also captures is the loneliness and isolation Saba has lived her whole life in before everything is thrown into chaos. The synopsis is interesting and to-the-point; it actually has relevance to the content of the book, which helps attract potential readers to pick it up:

“… But when a monster sandstorm arrives bearing four cloaked horsemen, Saba’s world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on a quest to get him back. Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself…”

Saba has always lived in the shadow of her brother’s light; he is the perfect, golden twin while she is the sullen troublemaker. So, Saba’s self-discoveries and growth is one of the main themes that make this book so relatable and appropriate to young adult readers. Teens constantly face the same issues of self-acceptance and growth, so strong connections and bonds are formed between Saba’s character and themselves.

Another – more obvious – reason as to why this book attracts young readers is the presence of young romance. Saba teams up with a handsome daredevil named Jack, who knows just how to make her feel foolish and angry, yet the attraction between them is undeniable. And, as we have all learned from The Twilight saga, forbidden romance often guarantees hardcore fans.

Saba’s action-packed and gripping mission will keep readers hooked and flipping the pages until it’s over. While the plot itself is not an entirely new concept, what distinguishes Blood Red Road from other books is its writing style. Grammar and spelling errors flood the book, and non-words such as “cain’t”, “afeared”, and “fergive” dominate the page. No quotation marks are used anywhere in the novel. However, this primitive narration demonstrates the barbaric qualities of the human condition that is always under the surface of our civilized mannerisms. It parallels to the current condition of the Earth, and how society is slowly degrading with political wars and climate change. It gives the entire story more depth, as well as a different perspective and tone. And, even without quotation marks, Young’s lyrical writing allows for readers to follow the dialogue without trouble.

Overall, a fantastic book to read if you want a change from the whole Hunger Games and Twilight mob scene; Blood Red Road is a refreshing story about a new heroine who learns much from her experiences, mistakes and the people she befriends. There are funny, depressing, and sometimes infuriating parts that keep readers in its grasp until the very last, very powerful page. Do I recommend this book? Well, you’re reading this, aren’t you?

The sequel, Rebel Heart, comes out in October 2012, and you can bet that I will be pre-ordering my copy.

A reminder that I'm running a contest on this blog over here. If you want to win your own copy of Ellen Hopkins' books CRANK and GLASS, head on over!

- sm:)e