Pages: 464 (hardcover)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Source: Amazon Vine Program
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.
Thoughts: Blood Red Road is exciting and introduces a different style of writing that succeeds in creating a gripping and thoughtful story.
Narrated by Saba in writing that perfectly reflects her character, the story begins with Saba's life at Silverlake with her father, Emmi (sister), and Lugh (her twin brother). Saba herself comes across a bit unkind and very easy to dislike in the beginning, but her growth and gained maturity is obvious throughout the story. Saba's broken knowledge of English shows on every page, but I eventually came to enjoy how the story was written in the way that she speaks - it creates an even more immediate connection to who Saba is and who she becomes. Emmi is another character that took some time to warm up to, but I ended up loving her personality. Lugh is one character we only know for a short time (which was a bit disappointing) but I had plenty of other characters to enjoy reading about. Secondary characters like the Free Hawks girls and Jack stand out and shine the way Saba does.
The setting changes as Saba moves swiftly across the deserts of Silverlake, to Hopetown where gladiator-like battles take place, and the more unique Freedom Fields (as well as a few other intriguing places). Each new place Saba takes the reader blooms to life, and the possibility of danger at every turn made this story captivating to me. The storyline is both filled with exciting moments that will have you hooked, as well as slow, thoughtful moments too. Imaginations will run wild with Blood Red Road, and you'll definitely want more.
Highlights: Action. Adventure. More Action. Loss. Family. Love. These things are all at the heart of this story, and I love that. Even the romance, what little there was, did not take over the plot. This book is about coming of age, and about the crazy things you'll do for your family. I love a book with a plot that's actually worthwhile. This is by and far the most uniquely written story I've ever read. Plus, the characters are interesting (which is always a good thing).
Lowlights: I'm just curious how it all came to be, this society. I also thought a few aspects of the story were predictable. In addition, I almost gave up in the first 50 pages or so pages because I wasn't adjusting to the writing style/character - this story has a very slow start, but it does pick up the pace eventually.
Note: If you have issues with novels written in the voice of a character who really does not have the best diction, then you might want to check this one out at the library first (or read a chapter at the bookstore) to see if you'll be able to enjoy the writing. I thought I would hate this book, but I ended up enjoying how it was written completely in Saba's voice.