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Book Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

One of the first things reviewers mentioned about Blood Red Road is how the way the book is written in dialect. If you can adapt quickly to the unusual writing style, I think you’ll come to really enjoy this book like I have.

Book Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

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blood red road by moira young

Title & Author: Blood Red Road (Dustlands, Book 1) by Moira Young

Genre: YA Fantasy – Post-Apocalyptic

Release Date: June 7, 2011

Series: #1 in the Dustlands series

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry books

How I Got the Book: Bought


“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.”

Two Blood Red Roads Diverged in a Wood

Blood Red Road is very much about choices. The ones we make and don’t make and how it affects us (hence the reference to the Robert Frost poem in the heading). Saba is forced to make really tough choices after her father is killed and a mysterious group of men kidnap her brother.

With only a few earthly possessions and her annoying younger sister, Saba heads down dusty, dried-up paths to rescue her brother in a world where nothing and no one can be trusted.

What I liked most about Blood Red Road was Saba’s extreme dedication to rescuing her brother. In drives her to make rash and dangerous decisions, but all the same, she is determined to find him and put back the remaining pieces of her broken family.

Like I mentioned before, some people had a problem with the extreme dialect used in the book. There are also no quote marks, so at first the conversations in the book seem strange.

Here’s an example:

Once we could count on pullin a fish from the lake an a beast from our traps. Fer everything else, we planted some, forages some, an, all in all, we made out okay.”

To me, the dialect made me feel like I was hearing the story directly from Saba or that I was in her head. It ended up adding a lot of character and cultural significance to the Blood Red Road.


My only small issue with Blood Red Road was the well-worn trope of “don’t follow me or help me because I’ll get you killed” thing. Harry Potter used up that trope awhile ago, and I think more and more YA books depend on it instead of taking a different route.

Besides that, there wasn’t anything else not to like about Blood Red Road. Saba is fierce and tough, and her rocky relationship with her sister Emmi is heart-warming. They bicker, they make up, they bicker, they hate each other. Fun times.

Plus there’s some very nice romance that I very much enjoyed. YES!


This book is very different than the normal YA fare right now. It takes a unique path that I think a lot of readers will enjoy. Blood Red Road was a refreshing read that I highly recommend to readers who like gladiator-style fighting, a tough-as-nails heroines and a writing style that will force you to read between the lines.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.