I read “Blood Red Road” by Moira Young a while ago, while on a dystopian fiction kick. I really enjoyed it. Getting used to the writing style (e.g. the lack of punctuation) took a while, but I admire the way it suits the book and the characters. Saba (and even Emmi) do such justice to my love of strong female characters!
Blood Red Road follows Saba, a testy young girl trying to track down and recover her kidnapped twin brother, Lugh. Their younger sister, Emmi, tags along the whole way and proves that she’s got just as much stubbornness as her elder siblings. Saba finds herself trapped in a grim situation and fights with a fierceness I admire while still holding onto her self, her purpose, and her humanity. There’s an almost simplistic black-and-white sense of good and evil in this book that is somewhat refreshing. Saba’s internal fight for what is right is mirrored clearly in her external fight against Lugh’s kidnappers / her oppressors.
I came away from Blood Red Road feeling optimistic and excited about the next instalment in the seires: Rebel Heart.
I just finished Rebel Heart and was sadly disappointed. The story picks up where Blood Red Road left off – following Jack on his errand as the bearer of bad news. It was nice starting things out from his perspective but it was a jolt going back to Saba (as she and her small party head West) and I felt like it made the story a little disjointed. I kept expecting the perspective to switch back to Jack and it did not.
Gone were the black-and-white good-and-bad divisions. These were stripped away almost too abruptly, and I didn’t know where my sympathies lay. With Jack? With Saba? With Lugh? Or (strangely and in a kind of misguided way) with DeMalo? Emmi remained true to form but the remainder of the cast shifted too much for me to feel comfortable with them. Saba especially. I felt that yes, she of course had the right to go a bit bonkers, but after the arrival at the tavern things seemed go downhill for me. The bit with DeMalo – I just don’t know. I couldn’t quite understand her and couldn’t agree with her. She went from being such a strong girl that I could really get behind to this … ambiguous figure. So I left feeling unsettled and uneasy. Particularly after reading the last bit in the book. (Oh, Tommo!)
I’ll definitely read the next book, when it comes out, and hope for some redemption from the second.
Blood Red Road = 4/5
Rebel Heart = 2/5