Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Title: Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: June 7th 2011
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Quick Review: 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.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.

Detailed Review: This book totally pulled me in, especially in the last four lines of the third page:

   He's my light.
   I'm his shadow.
   That must of made it easier to find him.
   All they had to do was follow the light. 

The story is told from Saba's point of view. It tells the story on how she journeyed to look for her twin brother Lugh, who'd been kidnapped by the Tonton. Saba has a sister Emmi, which she pretty much hates, because she 'killed' their mother during childbirth. Saba decides to leave Emmi with a friend of her mother's, Mercy, who lives in Crosscreek. After doing so, she moves on.

   After a while, Emmi finds Saba on horseback. Saba got angry and asked her sister to go back though she failed, since one of Emmi's finest traits is her stubbornness. So on they went, together, with Saba putting up with Emmi.

   On the way, Saba and Emmi meet a couple that sails a landboat across the desert, the Desert Swan. The couple- Rooster Pinch and Miz Pinch agreed to help Saba to get to Hopetown, which Mercy had said the Tonton would have taken Lugh to. But in reality, Saba was just another price for the Pinches. For cage-fighting. If Saba tried to escape, Emmi would be killed. 

   So without any choice, she follows the Pinches to Hopetown. There, Saba is exposed to the brutal entertainment of cage-fighting. If a person were to lose three fights, he has to run the gauntlet, and let himself be torn apart by the chaal-crazy audience. For many times, she tried to escape but failed.

   Saba, determined to not let herself fall into the audience's hands, wins every fight, earning herself the name the 'Angel of Death'. 

   During one night in the prison where the cage-fighters are kept, Saba has a conversation with a girl called Helen. She finds out that Lugh was caught because he was midwinter born and the King needed him to give him six years worth of live.

   And also one day, she meets another man named Jack in the training yard where they exercise, with grey moonlit eyes, a crooked nose and a lopsided smile. Saba desires him, but she doesn't know this. Yet.

   One day, in the Cage, she spots a girl around her own age watching her along with a few other girls. They are the Free Hawks, who actually want to rescue all the prisoners destined for the Cage and burn Hopetown down. 

   A plan is hatched. Saba is to lose three times in the Cage and run the gauntlet. The Free Hawks will approach Saba and pretend to tear her apart, but they are actually rescuing her from the audience. But the plan goes wrong because the Sun King, Vicar Pinch or the Pinches' son, changes the course of the run. Saba has to think fast and with the help of her crow Nero, escapes the audience by climbing up the Cage and jumping onto the lighthouse next to the Cage. There, her escape starts. She has to go and see Emmi and then go on finding her brother. But on the way she is stopped by another Hawk, Ash. Together, they help release the cage-fighters and burn down the whole of Hopetown.

   But as they escaped the prison, Saba is looking for Jack. And from one man, she finds out that Jack has been locked in the Cooler, a place for cage-fighters who have been causing too much trouble. With the help of a heartstone, which gets warmer as she gets nearer to Jack, she finds him and free him.Together they run and escape Hopetown. Both of them part ways when they reach the outskirts of the town.

   When they reach Darktrees, the Free Hawks' well-hidden headquarters, Saba once again meets Jack, who tells her he knows the way to Freedom Fields, where Lugh is being held captive until midsummer. The next day, they set off, together with Emmi.

   As they continue their journey, they are joined by two Free Hawks, Ash and a girl named Epona. Jack wants to find his friend Ike Twelvetrees to accompany them to Freedom Fields, against Saba's wishes. They reach a tavern called the One-Eyed Man and find Ike there. After a night's sleep, they set off, now with Ike and his adoptive son, Tommo with them. 

   Saba was curious as to how Ike and Jack knew the way to Freedom Fields. She asks Jack and he tells her they they used to work in the fields with other slaves, growing and tending to the chaal fields.

   As they walk on, they reach a dried-up lakebed. Saba wants to journey through it, but Jack and Ike hesitate. Finally they tell her the truth, that at night, the lake is covered with hellworms. Hellworms are oversized worms with claws and Jack has sustained an injury from them in his previous trip through the lake. 

   But without any choice, they walk on the lakebed, avoiding the cracks. When it reaches dusk, they haven't reached the other side of the lake, so they have to stage a fight against the hellworms. They fight the worms with fire and managed to scare them off, but not without Saba getting injured on the shoulder,

   Soon they find out it wasn't them that scared away the hellworms, it's the leader, which is bigger than the other worms. Jack almost dies by its claws but Saba fights it off. As they continue their journey, Saba faints and Jack carries her all the way to their camp. 

 She then wakes up and also panics that they need to go on to reach Freedom Fields, but Emmi tells her that they have reached it.

   When Saba wakes up again, they continue their mission to rescue Lugh. In a tunnel, where they have to go through to go nearer to the chaal fields in Freedom Fields, Saba admits her feelings to Jack about him and they share a passionate time together. But after a while, they have to move on. 

   So when they officially reach Freedom Fields, they plan the rescue for Lugh. Ash is to go and get the horses ready for Lugh and the others' escape. Jack and Epona have to create a diversion to distract the Tonton so Saba and Ike, disguised as Tonton guards can rescue Lugh from the post he's tied to. Emmi and Tommo are to travel to some distance in the north and wait for the rest there.

   When they reach the point where they are supposed to meet Emmi and Tommo. Emmi is not there. Tommo tells Saba that Emmi had wanted to see Lugh before they'd left. Tommo moved on and waited for her a distance away. After she'd seen him, she made a move to continue their journey. But as she did so, two Tonton guards saw her and caught her. Tommo had no choice but to leave her and go on. 

   Now with Emmi in Pinch's hands, they decide to make a stand on a hill with Vicar Pinch. 

   As Vicar Pinch approaches Saba and they rest, he has Emmi on horseback with him together with two Tonton guards. Pinch threatens to kill Emmi if Saba doesn't surrender herself. After many days of travelling with Emmi, Saba has grown to love Emmi like her sister and gives herself to Pinch. 

   After she did that, sixty or so Tonton guards attack Jack and the rest from behind and they realise it's a trap. They start to fight the Tonton but they were outnumbered. They were going to lose if not for the Free Hawks' help. Saba goes to chase Pinch after DeMalo has freed her. She chases him and ends up killing Pinch.

   She returns to fight with her friends against the Tonton guards. But one of them shot Ike even though Tommo tried to block the gunshot. Ike ends up dead. When the fight has finished, with some of the guards escaping, they held a funeral for Ike and Saba looks for Jack. But he's nowhere to be seen. Tommo tells her where he's gone and she goes after Jack in the field of Hoodoos. Jack tells her that he has to go and tell Ike's woman, Molly Pratt that he's dead. He promises Saba that he'd go and find her in the Big Water, where she, together with Lugh and Emmi are headed to, where the air smells like honey. She gives him her heartstone so it would be easier for him to find her and he says as he takes it-

   I don't need no stone to find you. 

   When Saba goes back to Lugh, Emi and Tommo, they head out west. And this time Saba leads. 

Brief Review: 'Amazing. This book makes your blood race. You'll probably find yourself dreaming of the Dustlands and you yourself journeying through it. Trust me, it gets stuck in your head, even if you read it just once. You won't ever forget it. Also its style of prose will totally leave you speaking jest like Saba.'

My Rating: 5/5  'Totally Amazing'


Your Reviewer: 


  1. Sounds good! Thanks for the heads-up about this book. I am always looking for good books to buy for my classroom library. I'm glad I found your blog.

  2. Don't mention it.