Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Let's just skip the enticing intro and go to my main point: this was a good book. Surprising, but good. The writing style was a whole new way of reading that I hadn't ever thought of before (though I'm sure that her fourth-grade teacher was rolling over in her sleep, assuming that she isn't . . . you know). The characters were unique and interesting, but I have to admit that there were instances where I think this story could have been improved. In case you weren't aware, today I will be reviewing Blood Red Road by Moira Young.

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

One of the main things that I liked about this story was that it didn't feel like a dystopia, or I guess, more like the fact that, even though their world was terrible, it didn't feel like that was the main premise of the book. Take The Hunger Games, for example. Every sentence, every syllable wrapped up in that 300-paged book revolved around Katniss's society. However, Young made it seem like the world took a backseat while the character development and plot where the main focus. A million events happened, but it didn't feel like I was reading a list of bullet points. It felt like I was reading a story.

I especially liked how there were no quotation marks. When we talk in our daily speech, when we think, do we think in quotations? Then why should a narrative have them? I thought that it really gave a new insight to both our world and Saba's world, a world where education and grammar have taken a definite nap.

Another attribute that I enjoyed from the world was that they didn't have a million specialized terms for every event in history, ever idea, every place. There was one term- Wreckers. As in, humans who wrecked our world before. There wasn't the Cat (the powerful kitty-cat that reigns over Fuzzy World) or the Dog or the Blanket or the Jacket. It didn't twist those ordinary words into words changed by the dystopian society, which I found nice. Because, seriously, look around. How many places do we refer to as proper nouns? School? No. Church? No. So, why is it that almost every YA fiction book we read these days has to have so many? It's not the capitalization that makes a place new, special, unique. It's the impact that that particular thing creates on both the reader and the character.

They were a smidge dirty though. Lugh was in desperate need of a haircut- his hair was described as being down to his waist! Can we just take a moment to notice that I have hair to my shoulders, and when I picture "to his waist" I think to his waist. And, as someone who finds Thor hair particularly, well, unappealing, I had to immediately shudder if not for that. I know, I know, judge me. But, hey, I won't change my weird opinion because some random person on the internet told me to. Thank goodness the love interest in this story got his hair shaved. I could not get into a male character whose hair is longer than mine. (About double the length, but we won't get into that.)

I really liked how Saba became a cage fighter, though. I feel like that in itself was easily symbolic in how tattered their primitive society is. Many times, plot events are relatively similar between books, but I hadn't seen anything even close to similar to that since The Contender.

All in all, I thought that this was a good read. If you are extremely picky about how you like your writing styles to be written, then I suggest you stay away. Or, you may end up shocking yourself by enjoying it. I think that the only way you can truly know if you liked a book is if you take the plunge and pick up the book yourself.

Over and out,

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