The silhouette of a woman walking in a bright red wasteland.

About the Book

Title: Blood Red Road (Dust Lands #1)
Published: 2011
Series: Dust Lands
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Cover Story: Cowboys Vs. Aliens
BFF Charm: Eventually!
Talky Talk: Last Exit To Hopetown
Bonus Factors: Thunderdome, Drugs, Giant Worms
Relationship Status: I’ll Come Back For This Book

Cover Story: Cowboys Vs. Aliens

I mean, what IS that thing on her wrist? This book cover isn’t necessarily one that makes my cover sense tingle, but it’s more Sci-fi than YA, so I’m embarrassed less. Plus, the girl looks sufficiently badass.

The Deal:

You guys! The sequel to this book, Rebel Heart comes out today!!!! For those of you on top of things who’ve already read this first one, GET ON OUT TO THE STORE!!! I can’t believe you’ve hung on to your sanity during this wait! Go on! Go! You can read this review later! Plus I’ll be reviewing Rebel Heart next week.  If you haven’t read this book… well, go ahead and read my review, but THEN go to the store and GET ON IT!!!!

Saba lives out in Silverlake with her Pa and Lugh and little Emmi, and they get by. Barely. Since the lake dried up, things’ve been getting worse and worse, and her Pa just keeps saying weird stuff, like “it’s written in the stars”. But that’s okay, ’cause Saba has Lugh. Her twin. He came first, and he’s better than her at everything, and that’s just fine with her. ‘Cause Lugh is Saba’s hero.

But then those men come and take Lugh away, and it’s up to Saba to rescue him.

BFF Charm: Eventually

BFF Charm with a sweatband on

Oh Saba, Ike was right, you are SUCH a prickly pear. There are SO many things I wanted to sit you down and talk to you about. Like how you should treat your little sister better, because half of Emmi’s problem is YOU. And look, I know you love your brother. Hell, I love my brother, too. But you needed to cool it with Lugh being the only thing in your world. I mean, I got it. Before you left Silverlake, Lugh WAS the only good thing in your world, so your hero worship was understandable. But for a while there, I thought I was going to have to smack some sense into you, and you know, that was a pretty scary prospect, considering it was you I was going to have to smack. And that’s when I realized that I cared. You are so fiercely loyal, and strong, and one scary mammajamma, but you’ve never known anything else, have you? So Saba, I’d like to give you a new necklace. It won’t have a stone on it, but it will have half a heart.

I’d also be remiss not to mention Ash, Epona and Ike.  Hell, I pretty much loved every character in the book.  And even though I got sick to death of hearing about Lugh! Lugh! Lugh! I think he’s probably a pretty alright guy, and I’m looking forward to getting to know him better in the next book.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Holy magoly, can Moira Young write a make out scene! With a leading lady as vexatious as Saba, there’s obviously no other choice for her but a guy who’s all sexy swagger, and lemme’ tell you somethin’: Jack is FULL of sexy swagger. Lord! He’s the kind of cocksure scallawag that really only works in a high-stakes adventure-type story. But when it works, it is my favorite.

Talky Talk: Last Exit To Hopetown

Much like Hubert Selby, Jr., Young writes stylistically in a way that’s specific to her world. The story is told from Saba’s POV, in a future where the world as we know it has been desiccated. Everything is a wasteland (or Dust Land, I suppose), reading is primarily a thing of the past, and language and grammar have devolved a bit because of it. I have to confess that this was a stumbling block for me initially, because I am old and don’t take kindly to change. I was all “Where are the quotation marks? How can I tell when someone’s speaking?!! Get off my lawn!!!” BUT, the story itself spurred me on, and once I did get a handle on the language of the book, I found myself using it all the time — at least in my head. (Cause I cain’t ezzackly go aroun talkin like this.) Haha, just kidding. I can’t even do it right when I try. But never mind, because this book gets in your blood and stays there. I’d go so far as to say this is the best Dystopian novel I’ve read since the first Hunger Games.

Bonus Factor: Thunderdome

A desert with a open metal cage structure and the word THUNDERDOME on top of it.

So I suppose all of these bonus factors could be considered anti-bonus factors. The Dust Lands are a hard world, filled with horrible things. BUT, that’s one of the things that makes this book so good.

Two men enter! One man leaves! To avoid being spoilerish, I can’t really say more, except that THIS WAS SO GOOD!

Bonus Factor: Drugs

Pile of colorful, unidentified pills

Drugs used by others as a means of chaos and control is one of the scariest things I can imagine!!!!!!  ACK!!!

Bonus Factor: Giant Worms

A giant desert worm thing.

There are many, many bad guys in this book, and they are all deliciously, creepily evil, but I’m just going to highlight one.  Although they technically have legs and arms, they are still GIANT. WORMS. ARGHHH!

Relationship Status: I’ll Come Back For This Book.

I mean it. Yer in my blood, book. Yer in my heart. I’ve got somethin I got to take care of, but when I’m finished, I will find you… wait, what am I saying, I’ve got your sequel RIGHT HERE!!! LATERS!!!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from McElderry Books.  I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Blood Red Road is available wherever books are sold.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.