Title: Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (S&S imprint)
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. Civilization has crumbled and only the landfills are left to scavenge through. That's fine by Saba, as long as she has her twin brother Lugh is with her. But when a massive sandstorm appears and brings four cloaked horsemen who kidnap Lugh, Saba's world is shattered and her epic quest to get him back starts.
She's suddenly thrown into a lawless world, the ugly side of reality, and has no Lugh to guide her through it. 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, surprisingly enough, she has the ability to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a daredevil named Jack and a group of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of civilization.
This book has no chapters, just sections and glimpses into Saba's life. I'd love to go section by section, but that would lead to spoilers. Also, the book is written in dialect. No quotations, some phonetic word spellings. It takes a little getting used to, but reading this book in that dialect fashion just pulls you right smack into Saba's head, right into her situation, right into her dry and abandoned world.
The bleakness in this book is so palpable, almost overwhelming. The world is dry, nothing can grow, there's barely enough food. I can't imagine living in such a place where rain never comes. Never ever. But there's still life, even when the world is at its least hospitable and dry and cracked and ruined. There's still people living, struggling, raising families and trying as hard as they can to survive. The on-going struggle that Saba and her family went through before the start of the book is shocking when you think about it.
And there's Saba and the connection she has with her brother, Lugh. The closeness they have transcends the dust and the dirt and the dried up lake. Even after Lugh is taken away from Saba, she still needs him, still needs to rescue him.
The devotion is powerful, but Saba has to learn to live without her twin. She needs a life of her own, not a shared one with Lugh, especially when he starts to pull away. This is her chance to live without him and see if she can survive.
It takes a strong spirit to keep on going after everything Saba's been through. Her world sucks, and it continues to suck page after page after page, but you need those little bright spots in order to keep going.
Bleak and hopeless is the world in Moira Young's Blood Red Road, but it's also powerful and thought-provoking. What are the limits of the human spirit? How far will you go? What will it take? Who will you meet? How will you survive? Saba joins a cast of rough, stubborn, prickly YA heroines and stands her ground, willing to do whatever it takes to find her brother. Whatever it takes to find a home.