Have you ever read a book and been all, “huh. That was…interesting. I wonder what a guy would have thought of that story. Wait, I don’t know any guys who read YA fiction (or at least none that would admit it) so I guess I’ll just have to sort of make up a male point-of-view. Can I do that? Is my mind even capable of comprehending whatever’s going on up there?”
Well, you don’t have to wonder any longer cause: this is a male review! An all-male review! Get what you want out of that line because seriously, I’ve been waiting to use it FOR WEEKS.
Review by guest blogger: Aaron Bergh
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.
I dare anyone to read the first chapter of this book and then try to put it down. Blood Red Road is easily in my top ten best YA reads of all time. Fighting, Killing, Kidnapping, Rescuing…I mean come on!
This book is a refreshing break from the norm in YA fiction. It’s basically written in its own dialect and is narrated by the main character Saba. She almost sounds like my redneck in-laws in Alabama, but not so honky-tonk. I admit, it takes a few pages to get the rhythm and flow down of the creatively spelled words, but it’s worth it. There are no quotation marks used anywhere and plenty of breaks within the long chapters. Don’t let “long chapters” scare you! The pace of the story moves quickly as you feel Saba’s determination to find and rescue her twin brother Lugh.
AND YOU WILL FEEL HER DETERMINATION.
Saba is an ass-kicker. She’s not a trained fighter. She has no special powers or giftings. She’s a survivor. She’s a scrappy country girl who’s on a mission to rescue her brother from the men that kidnapped him. She is ruthless in her pursuit.
Tagging along with Saba is her younger sister, Emmi. The development in the relationship between Saba and Emmi might possibly be my favorite aspect to the story. In the beginning of the book, Emmi is annoying as hell…and Saba lets her know it. As time goes on, the relationship changes as both Emmi and Saba change. It’s beautifully done!
There is a whole host of interesting characters in this story. I should mention Jack, since I’m sure that’s all Judith and Ellen are waiting for. I’ll let the ladies decide if he’s a stud or whatever. What’s entertaining about Jack and Saba is watching Saba try to figure him out. Jack is well-traveled and knows how to manipulate people. It’s Saba’s first time away from home, on her own, and she sure as hell isn’t going to let some handsome boy sweep her off her feet. Then there’s the Free Hawks, a group of assassin-like girls that Saba joins up with. And of course, Nero, the loyal pet crow. I admit that it sounds silly, but it plays out well.
The only part of the story I didn’t find myself loving was the Bad Guy-Vicar Pinch. He says weird things and dresses funny. He reminds me of the creepy King from those Burger King commercials.
So based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 10. Saba is flawed to pieces. She has a bit of a temper. She’s uneducated. Mean. But if there is anyone in the world you want coming to rescue you…it’s her. She is loyal to the death. Determined. Nothing is going to stop her! She’s a redneck Rambo.
How much did I like the love interest: 9. Jack is a great match for Saba. He’s good to her, but doesn’t always put up with her crap. For me, the romance between Jack and Saba wasn’t a main focus, and I have no problem with that. The only boys Saba grew up around were her brother and father, so it would have been a bit unnatural for her to dive in to a deep romantic relationship.
How believable is the plot: 9. It’s technically a dystopian book, which to be quite honest, is irrelevant to the heart of the story. Yes, it takes place in the future, and yes, things are different, but the story could have been set in any time period in any desert and I would have felt the same way about it.
How much did I like the writing style/editing: 12/10. Yes. I know. Seriously though, the writing is special. It’s original and clever. Once you get the hang of reading it you will fly through it.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. The story moves with action and emotion. I felt Saba’s fury. I felt her heart for her brother. It’s the same way I feel when I’m in line at Chipotle and am about to order that burrito. Passion.
Times I had to tell my kids to go to bed early because I was trying to read Blood Red Road! 100
Final Score: 10/10 In a YA fiction market saturated with “I wanna be like the Hunger Games” dystopian novels, Blood Road Read kicks all there asses.
*The second book in the Dustlands series, Rebel Heart, is due out in October of 2012.