The book I am writing about is titled, Blood Red Road. This novel is by Moira Young. Blood Red Road is 459 pages, and is part of the Dust Lands Series. Young is originally from Canada, but now lives in the United Kingdom, Blood Red Road is her first novel. The writer of the Maze Runner series James Dashner, seems to really love the protagonist, who develops a very strong personality throughout the book.
The main character of this book is Saba. In the beginning of this book Saba seems like a very background kind of girl, has her opinions, but for the most part keeps them to herself. Most of this has to do with her brother–twin brother Lugh. Lugh is everything she wishes she could be, and basically her best and only friend.
Saba’s world comes crashing down when Lugh is taken away by four shady men on horses, and her father is killed. The only person she is left with is her twin sister Emmi, whom she hates due to the fact that her mom died birthing Emmi. But she can’t just leave Emmi at their now deserted home, in the wastelands. So they travel to an old friend of their mother’s,Mercy. While she is there Saba learns about the men that took Lugh and where she could find him and a possible way, a heartstone. Mercy said, “It’s a heartstone, Mercy says as she puts it around my neck. Your mother gave it to me, an now I’m givin it to you. You feel how cool it is? A normal stone ’ud warm up next to your body. Not this one. It stays cold until you get close to your heart’s desire. Then the stone becomes warm. The closer you get to your heart’s desire, the hotter the stone burns. That’s how you know.” Her journey begins, or at least what she thinks, to Hopetown (ironic right?)
A couple days into their journey in the desert they meet a nice couple, who shocker turn out to be not so nice, and later put Saba into cage fighting at the Colosseum. Where girls have to fight to the death, much like the original Colosseum in Rome. They kept Saba fighting by acting hostile towards Emmi when Saba didn’t do as she was told. Eventually Saba escapes the Colosseum with a group called the Free Hawks and a former mysterious cage fighter Jack. That is when the real journey begins and Saba begins her quest to find Lugh.
As Saba is on her journey, the farther she goes from home the more she finds herself. As one reads the book, the reader will see Saba’s character develop more and more.
This book is quite…different from many dystopian novels, I have ever read. For one, you can clearly tell that this society is futuristic, but by little details here and there, such as when the characters refer to “Wrecker Times,” and the tall ruins of metal structures that we had (skyscrapers.) Though, the reader never gets a full background story as books like Divergent and the Hunger Games has, so there is much room open for interpretation.
Some of the very unique components to Young’s novel that make it hard to fall just under one category is that magic is mentioned, also the way the people live. The towns seem very old, as there is no mention of TVs, cell phones, or really any electronic of that matter. At the same time in many instances of the book, a gun or a telescope is mentioned, where as it would not have the formal name. A gun may be referred to as a fire stick and the telescope a looker, or something. In this book magic is mentioned well, but it seems to be for the most part a realistic world.
The scene that I chose is important, because it introduces a big player in this world, a controlling drug named chaal, and the effects it has on this society. Another important aspect of this scene is that Saba learns why her mission is so dire. This scene takes place in the cells of the Colosseum at night. Saba talks to her cellmate Helen, who thinks she know where Saba’s brother is being kept and why…:
“Helen talks fast and low. It’s all about chaal, Saba. You seen this place. Everyone here’s chewin it or smokin it. Mad Dog, the cellblock guards, everybody who comes to see us fight. An one person controls the chaal. He grows it, harvests an supplies it.
The King,I says.
That’s because there’s only one place with the right conditions to grow it. You need the right kinda earth, the right light, the right amount of rain.
Freedom Fields,I says.In the Black Mountains.
The Tonton round people up, take ’em to Freedom Fields as slaves an force ’em to work in the fields.
An they control ’em with chaal, I says.
Now yer gittin the idea, she says
So the man who controls the chaal, controls everythin an everybody. He’s all powerful, I says.
That’s the King, she says.
But . . . I still don’t unnerstand, I says. What’s all this gotta do with Lugh?
Every six years, on midsummer’s eve, they sacrifice a boy. They kill him. An that boy cain’t jest be any boy. He’s gotta be eighteen year old an born at midwinter.
The King believes that when the boy dies, that boy’s spirit, his strength moves into him, it moves into the King. An his power’s renewed fer another six years..”
I would rate this book a 6 out of 10, partly because I feel like the author should have build up the background more, so that the reader could have more knowledge of how Saba’s society came to be. And partly because, I thought the relationship Saba and Lugh had was just creepy. Though I will say I enjoyed the book to an extent. You would like this book if you are into low key “love stories” or enjoyed the Maze Runner series. This book may also be appealing to you if you like dystopian fiction or sci-fi (,obviously.) Also, if you can get past the broken English, which is not even that bad, this book is for you!!!