Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blood Red Road

I discovered Blood Red Road by Moira Young on Emma Pass's blog. Don't ask me how I found her blog, because I don't remember. It's a great list, and of course it has Lisbeth on there, so how could I resist? I really want to check out This is England, as well. But I read the description of Blood Red Roads and was intrigued enough to snag it at the library. I just finished it, and I really enjoyed it. Just like The Hunger Games, it is different from the rest of YA right now. The characters have to deal with real problems, and it reads more like an Epic Fantasy than a Teen novel.

A synopsis, from BN: 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 four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba's world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba’s unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Ok. So I have a problem with the currently-popular kick-butt females that are so ever-present in Urban Fantasy these days. They are so NOT believable I want to punch myself in the face. Saba, on the other hand... I want her to be on my side. We're in her head. We know exactly what she's thinking and feeling, and her emotions are raw. The entire book is written in dialect, and although it takes a little bit of getting used to, it really forces her voice into the reader's head. I would recommend this book for the use of dialog alone. Saba is the way I wanted Nix to be in God's War by Kameron Hurley, which if you can remember left me entirely pissed off at the end of that book. There was just something missing from God's War, a crucial bit, and the book felt empty. Not so with Blood Red Road. Saba has to fight for her life, and her sister's and brother's, and it doesn't come easy.

Saba comes from the middle of nowhere. Literally, she can count the number of people she's met on her fingers. Then all of a sudden she finds herself in a packed city, and there is absolutely no culture shock. Sure, part of that can be explained by the fact that she was kidnapped and dragged there and has other things to worry about, but there wasn't even a mention. She goes from town-girl to stone cold fighter, and there was no in between.

I felt bad for Saba. She's kidnapped to be a cage fighter, but she's cursed to be the best. Lose three fights and you're killed, so of course she wants to win, but the other fighters all stay away from her because she's the best, and so she loses her one support system.

Jack (the love interest) is awesome. Tough but not pushy, and pushy in all the right [supportive] ways. There was just the right level of romance to be palatable and realistic. There's more to Jack than we know, though. The sequel, Rebel Hearts (out September 30), has him on the cover, so I'm sure we follow his story more in the second book. I don't think he was all truthful about where he told Saba he was going. And to be honest, there is nothing to carry over into the sequel. It's going to be an entirely new story. If I hadn't of seen just the other day that there was going to be a sequel (by pure chance) I probably would have never found out. I would have got to the end and thought that was it. I'll definitely be grabbed the second book when it's out.

I couldn't find anything by way of a blog, but there's a really cool essay on the Simon and Schuster page about how this story came about.

Reading Next: No idea. I have several ideas, but nothing jumps out at me. I may try to really best through some writing, but I know that will only last so long (read: a few days, if I'm lucky) before I crack and need to find a book. May continue with The Name of the Wind again, maybe with The Black Lung Captain, maybe I'll start Tam Lin. What I'd really like to read is The Good Fairies of New York, which I got from Paperback Swap, but it hasn't even shipped yet. I have Terrorists in Love, but nonfiction never feels like anything but homework to me. I need me some fiction.

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