Blood Red Road by Moira Young

– A Dystopian YA novel with themes similar to The Hunger Games –

2011 winner of the Costa book awards, Moira Young’s Blood Red Road is a highly rated dystopian novel – and I can see why.

Young’s debut book is filled with action, heart, and moments of comedy. I read this book a few years ago – as a teenager; the intended YA audience – and remember fully enjoying it. Now, as an adult, I have recently had the time to revisit the dustlands that main characters Saba, Emmi, Jack, and Lugh travel through. And you know what … I still love it. Probably more than I did before.

While the story is as gripping as I remembered it, I can now fully appreciate the author’s style. The twangy accents are consistent throughout, and the unique names for certain commonplace objects (such as the “long-looker”, which is a pair of binoculars) is a satisfying aspect which adds even more depth to the world Saba lives in. What stands out the most to me, however, is that there are no speech marks. (I know!) I’ll admit it was slightly confusing to read at the start, but with it being written in first person, from protagonist Saba’s perspective, the dialogue soon became easy to differentiate between narration, thoughts, and description.

I tip my hat to Young, for opening my eyes as both a reader and writer. With a compelling storyline and memorable style that adds to the already strong characterisation, Blood Red Road is a novel you will not want to put down. I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Rebel Heart (2012), and have just ordered the third instalment to ‘The Dustlands Trilogy’, Raging Star (2014).

– Siobhian R. Hodges

Published on: 10 Jun 2020 at 11:00