Book Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

BLOOD RED ROAD by Moira Young
Series: Dustlands, #1
Publication Date: June 7th 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry
Rating: |

Summary: 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.

Review Overview:

  • Once I got sucked into the story, I had a hard time putting it down. There’s no such thing as “one more chapter before bed”.
  • Epic love story? You bet. I cannot get enough of Jack and Saba!
  • Dystopian / post-apocalyptic perfection – best of the genre that I have read this year!

Getting into this book is tough, I’m not going to lie. There’s loads of development and the story starts out somewhat slow, but the challenge is Saba’s thick accent. Moira Young writes like Saba is directly speaking to us readers – accent and all. But overcoming Moira Young’s unique writing style is just one of the many things that makes BLOOD RED ROAD stand out from the overwhelming amount of dystopian and post-apocalyptic releases in the YA market this year.

Other Lies I’m Not Going to Tell:

  1. BLOOD RED ROAD is an easy read – this book is long. Over 500 pages, it is quite an intimidating length. Saba’s voice is initially difficult to get into and it took me a couple of chapters to get used to her. Prepare yourself for her accent and incorrect grammar.
  2. There is fast-paced action all the way through – For me, the first third dragged on. The story didn’t really pick up for me until Saba meets the Pinches. After that, I could not put the book down (yes, I stayed up until 2 AM to finish this book).
  3. OMG CLIFFHANGER – Nope, not at all, actually. One thing I love about BLOOD RED ROAD? The fact that Moira Young can actually write a decent first book that’s part of a series. I think a problem I have with most dystopian / post-apocalyptic releases this year is that the first book is just an excuse to have a lot of character and setting development without anything happening in 400 or so pages and the book ends up unresolved. Which is why Moira Young’s BLOOD RED ROAD stood out so much for me. Because Young actually writes a full novel with a beginning, middle, and – yes! – end while leaving the reader craving for more afterwards. There is no awful cliffhanger. The story gets resolved. Character development ensued. The end … but to be continued.

Have I sold the book to you yet? No? Well, if the “epic love story” part in the summary did not grab your attention, let me bring it to you again: THIS WAS AN EPIC LOVE STORY! But not in the way that our main girl, Saba, was hopelessly pining for “hot guy”. Romance is no way near close to being what this novel is about, but it’s a very entertaining and enjoyable component of it. If I could write a love interest in a novel, it would probably be similar to Jack: arrogant, charming, overly-confident, but also more than meets the eye. There is no denying that he and Saba have chemistry the moment they meet.

BLOOD RED ROAD is so far the best dystopian / post-apocalyptic novel I have read this year. I felt so satisfied as reader when I finished the book, but at the same time, I cannot wait until the next installment. Trust me, once Moira Young sucks you into her story, best of luck in trying to put the book down to get some sleep.


  1. Oh, I’d LOVE an epic love story… but the way Saba speaks make her seem too young for a relationship. Is it like that for you?

    But I’m SO glad there’s no cliffhanger. That’s almost always my first and foremost complaint.

    1. It’s really hard to think of her as young because she came off as such a strong and courageous character. And in contrast to her little sister, Saba definitely feels older. The only way I could perceive her as coming off a little young could be the fact that she really hadn’t had that much interactions with the opposite gender since she had been living in isolation for such a long time. Her interactions were limited to her father and twin brother.

  2. Oh thank goodness it does not end on a cliffhanger. I hate cliff hangers with a passion. It’s okay when the next book is going to be released the next week but when the wait is almost a year or so long… it’s not nice. Or funny. Unnecessary cruelty. Hehe. Anyway, I look forward to reading this book whenever I get a chance to get my hands on it. Thanks for the review. It was very edifying.

  3. i LOOVEd this one! yes yes yes on the non-cliffie, and love the romance in this one, and how it didn’t annoy me at all xD great review, i’ll be posting mine tomorrow! =)

  4. I loved this one so much as well! The vernacular didn’t bother me because I actually really love it in books as long as it doesn’t become indiscernible and difficult to follow, and I felt like in this it was easy to follow. But yeah, LOVED it so much. Great story, great characters, great world building, and I felt like the dialect really contributed to all of that and after a while I really got into the rhythm of the language. Wonderful review! I’m glad you liked it, cause it’s one of my favorites this year.

  5. YES on all counts, but especially the Jack bit. I love different personalities in different boys, but his type is my favorite kind of love interest. I’m left wanting more and I cannot wait to see what’s to come.

    Great review!

  6. Awesome review! I agree with everything you said! It took me a little to get into it as well but once I did I couldn’t stop! Hopetown was my favorite part and I can’t get enough of Jack! I really liked how Saba and Emmi’s relationship deepened throughout the book. Can’t wait for more!

  7. You’ve convinced me. I was on the fence for a while, mostly because of the page count and language. Now I feel like I have a much better understanding of the structure and what to expect. Thank you. Gotta say, the way you describe her love interest sold me too :P

  8. I LOVE this review! You really hit the best points of this book…and MAN, is this a good book. I think it’s the best dystopia I have read this year, as well. And oh my gosh, Jack!!! He is the perfect amount of bad boy, suave, and romance. I may be in love. ;)

    Great review!

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