three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
55-Nov-Dec-2011
By: 
Moira Young
user_rating: 
0

A-Blood Red RoadMoira Young's career has included dancing and opera; she now arrives on the literary scene with the first installment of a dystopian, postapocalyptic trilogy. Ridley Scott has already optioned the work, and it has been published in more than 14 countries.

The Story: Teenager Saba and her family must adjust to a world covered in remnants of the past. To survive, she and her twin brother, Lugh, forage through landfills for food and shelter, constantly dodging raging sandstorms. One day, however, a group of four men on horseback kidnap Lugh. Her parents dead, Saba leaves the relative safety of her home to rescue him. Along the way, she befriends a group of independent women calling themselves the Free Hawks, as well as Jack, a swashbuckling hero who sets hearts aflutter. Most important, however, Saba begins to discover herself and her own power as she gets closer to the solving the mystery of Lugh's kidnapping.
McElderry Books. 459 pages. $17.99. ISBN: 9781442429987

MTV Hollywood Crush 4 of 5 Stars
"[T]his book raises the bar when it comes to the genre. Not only will it satisfy the cravings of Hunger Games fans, but it is--dare I say--better than The Hunger Games. ... In many ways it's a simple story told in simple prose--but there is a complexity to this simplicity that makes Blood Red Road a truly remarkable reading experience." Sara Gundell

Portrait of a Book 4 of 5 Stars
"Full of surprises, obstacles to overcome, and a bit of romance, I was quickly drawn into the story and kept turning pages until the end. ... At first I was taken aback by [the unconventional prose], but I quickly adjusted, and I think that this style really enhanced the story."

Los Angeles Times 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The world in which the action unfolds is post-apocalyptic, but that revelation comes slowly. The details are woven in casually, almost as an afterthought, as Saba makes her way across the hardscrabble landscape. ... In a book set in such a stark geographic locale, the inventive character details of Blood Red Road really pop." Susan Carpenter

NY Times Book Review 3 of 5 Stars
"The problem isn't that some of these plot devices are familiar. It's that there are so many of them. ... All this clutter seems incongruous with what makes the story truly sing: Young's spare depictions of the struggle to survive and find companionship in a barren world that hardens hearts and minds." Jessica Bruder

Presenting Lenore 3 of 5 Stars
"It's a brutal vision of a Mad Max-like future with a crackpot despot, tough fighters and bounty hunters, chaal (drug) addicts and a host of desperate poor.  But for all its action and high-stakes plot, Blood Red Road is not without heart, thanks to the decency Saba brings to her interactions with her infuriating younger sister Emmi, fellow cage fighters and even a love interest."

Critical Summary A young adult novel featuring a dystopian, postapocalyptic world was bound to invite comparisons to The Hunger Games, and many reviewers deemed the association a positive one. Reviewers praised Moira Young's simple, sparse prose and her attention to detail and characterization. Some critics, however, felt that Blood Red Road perhaps veers a little too closely to some of the same themes mined in The Hunger Games, and they worried that Blood Red Road is a little too derivative in places. Others felt that the dialect--a sparse voice, with no quotation marks--is hard to follow. Even so, reviewers were pleased with Young's first novel and eagerly await the next one in the series.