Monday, 18 March 2013

Blood Red Road

In the Dustlands, you fight or you die.
There are no laws in Saba's world.  When her twin brother is stolen, she pursues his captors through a wild, wasted land.  She must become a warrior to survive.  On this dangerous road she can trust no one.  Not even the handsome thief who saves her life - and steals her heart.
Prior to reading Blood Read Road, I had heard lots of good things about Moira Young's Dustland series.  From what I could garner from goodreads The Dustlands was a better executed version of Lauren DeStefano's The Chemical Garden Trilogy.  Now that I've finally read both Blood Red Road and Rebel Heart (and Wither and Fever) I just can't see the parallels between the two series. Yes, they both feature twins, one of whose job it is to locate the other, but that's where the similarities end.
Where the Chemical Garden trilogy is set in a recognisable futuristic America, where all the states are still intact, the Dustlands could be set almost anywhere, on a different planet even.  I sort of wish that there hadn't been the few dystopian elements to root in our world (like the sky scrapers) and that Young had made this into an all out, foot stomping, cut throat, futuristic western. 
Saba's quest to find Lugh is a brutal journey that goes in directions that are unexpected and thrilling.  From the moment Lugh gets taken I wasn't expecting anything but peril for these characters.  And this isn't the type of danger where everyone magically lives at the end.  No, this was a world where tragedy happens and it sticks.
I thought the dialect would be grating, but after a while I didn't notice.  However, I am fed up with love interest having a lopsided smile, and then there's the whole heart stone maguffin...But even I have to admit that it did set up some interesting dynamics for the next book.  Plus Saba's a hard headed as a stubborn mule.  She doesn't want to accept that she could be falling in love, so maybe Young did some reverse psychology on me in that I was actually rooting for Saba and Jack by Blood Red Roads end.
What stood out for me was the relationship between sisters Saba and Emmi.  Young's duo are a reflection that not all sisters get on, and not just on a superficial 'they'll grow out of it' level either.  The disdain that Saba shows towards Emmi in contrast to her unconditional love for Lugh made Saba a real person with complex feelings that aren't always considered to be the right ones.

And don't even get me started on what should have stayed on Saturn...

I could go on all day about the different things I loved about Moira Young's novel (I haven't even mentioned Nero and The Free Hawks) but I'll stop here and leave some surprises.  Blood Red Road is an extraordinary start to what hopefully will be a thrilling and unique series.  I just can't believe I waited so long to start reading it! 

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