Friday 20 December 2013

Book Review - Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian | Young Adult
Release Date: 1st February 2012
Publishers: Marion Lloyd
No. Pages: 417
Source: Purchased
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
In a wild and lawless future, where life is cheap and survival is hard, eighteen-year-old Saba lives with her father, her twin brother Lugh, her young sister Emmi and her pet crow Nero. Theirs is a hard and lonely life. The family resides in a secluded shed, their nearest neighbour living many miles away and the lake, their only source of water and main provider of food, gradually dying from the lack of rain. But Saba's father refuses to leave the place where he buried his beloved wife, Allis, nine years ago. Allis died giving birth to Emmi, and Saba has never forgiven her sister for their mother's death. But while she despises Emmi, Saba adores her twin brother Lugh. Golden-haired and blue-eyed, loving and good, he seems the complete opposite to dark-haired Saba, who is full of anger and driven by a ruthless survival instinct. To Saba, Lugh is her light and she is his shadow, he is the day, she is the nighttime, he is beautiful, she is ugly, he is good, she is bad.

So Saba's small world is brutally torn apart, when a group of armed riders arrives five day's after the twin's eighteenth birthday snatch Lugh away. Saba's rage is so wild, that she manages to drive the men away, but not before they have captured Lugh and killed their father.

Blood Red Road for me was such a difficult book to get to grips with. The first half I found myself very uninterested and annoyed with the characters and the plot, I actually confess to dropping it for a few days because I just wasn't impressed. I was so sure that this was another The Knife of Never Letting Go, a hugely hyped, loved book by the book community and one that I don't like, however, after about 230 pages, the plot did improve and I began to like the characters a little more than originally. It was just a very difficult book for me to get to grips with my feelings with.

The first 200 pages focused entirely on Saba's brother Lugh and if I'm plainly honest, it frustrated me to the point where I would have launched myself, the book and my life against a wall, seriously, I was sick to the back teeth of every action Saba made, every feeling she felt, and everything she thought of being revolved around Lugh. How would Lugh feel? What would Lugh do? I miss Lugh? You know what Saba, I'm sick of your moping and whining, just find him and go home. So just when I thought this book couldn't get any worse, it did improve, and amazingly, my feelings towards Saba changed a hell of a lot. She began to make decisions for herself and became a strong character, focusing on her task at hand, and learning to trust others on her journey to find her brother. I think if there was ever a character that I started off wanting to murder to one who I was proud of, it would be Saba, she really brought the whole story together and became something I could never have seen in the first half of the book. She became herself.

The only real thing that kept me reading was my catching of a disease called 'caring-about-the-characters', and boy, this disease is damn catchy, you should avoid it were possible. Even when I was disliking almost every aspect of the story, the sense of family and forming important bonds was highlighted throughout and I loved it. Throughout the story, Saba discovered that she wasn't and didn't have to as alone as she thought she did, and she learnt that there is more to your world than family, especially one person. She discovered that she had the strength and the passion to do things for herself. She learnt and remembered that she had another sibling and in the end, discovered just how she was her to throughout everything, the message that family sticks together was extremely strong throughout this book too. She also discovered that there people out there that needed her, and people out there that she needed, and yes, she found a romance, but that didn't take over the story or message for me, although it did play quite a large part in Saba learning the trust.

The style of writing itself can be quite difficult to get into, but after a few chapters, it becomes easy to follow and relate to, and while the plot itself, for me, was driven by a lack of adventure and more a refusal to be alone in Saba's case, the small amounts of action scenes involved were exciting and thrilling and the world building was interesting and vivid, all be it very sandy and red. I did enjoy the scenes were Saba fought for her life, as this highlighted the world she lived in and just how little life meant to people in charge, and how important survival was, and difficulties in fighting for it. Overall, in the right hands, this book is fantastic, however, if you can't wait half a book for a story to really start, then this probably isn't for you.

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