Monday, January 30, 2012

Audiobook Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: June 7th, 2011

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 a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I've made several attempts to read the print version of this book to no avail.  The main character, Saba, has a strange manner of speaking, using odd variations of English words, almost like a different dialect, that I had a hard time staying with.  It isn't like reading a book where the characters are speaking proper English or using Brit or Irish slang; I don't usually find them difficult to follow because I've become fairly used to it over the years.  Saba's manner is almost like a version of uneducated Southern US English with a touch of made-up slang.  I often had to re-read words to get what their meaning and I often grew frustrated with the way things were spelled.  At any rate, I started this book several times and couldn't make it further in than the first 100 pages, but I really wanted to experience this book that I had heard so many great things about, so I got the audio version.  I was absolutely blown away!  This book is everything fans say it is.  It's exciting, well-written, action-packed, thought-provoking, tender, and unpredictable.  I'm so glad I didn't give up on it, because I would have been missing out.  So, what was the difference?  The narrator, Heather Lind.  She did a fabulous job breathing life and reality into this story.  She has a Southern accent, and she manages to read the odd words and their different contexts in ways that I couldn't in my head.  She took the one element of this book that turned me off, and made it not only work really well, but made it relevant and crucial to the story.  She gave Saba a voice that I couldn't give her, making me enjoy Saba's character like I could never manage to do when reading it.  The audio version of this book reads like a movie.  Honestly, if you haven't read Blood Red Road yet, give the audio a try because it so amazingly done.  It is probably one of the best audio versions of a book that I have ever read.

As for the story itself...  It was so well plotted and paced.  Moira Young did a fantastic job answering every question and adding the right elements of surprise and action at the right times.  The writing was so flawless that I have to believe she had this outlined to the very last detail before she wrote the first word.  If she didn't, then my awe of her talent goes even further.  She built a desolate and oppressive world that I cannot even fathom being a part of.  I'm am so intrigued by it and can't wait to continue the series, where I will hopefully find out more about how it came to be so.  The characters were awesome as well.  Saba is a smart (but uneducated), kick-ass, determined, fight-to-the-death female heroine.  She is up there on my list with the likes of Katsa from Graceling and Katniss from The Hunger Games.  Jack was also great, and I was glad that his relationship with Saba wasn't insta-love.  I also liked Saba's annoying little sister, Emmi.  She was surprisingly intuitive for a girl so young.  I loved the Free Hawks and the fact that they were a strong bunch of girls, much like Saba, who stuck by each other.  With so many bestselling YA books out there glorifying mean-girl behavior, I love that Moira Young chose to go in the other direction.

Overall, I consider this book a must-listen.  I can't bring myself to recommend you read it, though.  This is the type of story that is so much better when you let someone else tell it to you.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  This book is very violent, but otherwise pretty clean.  I would liken it to The Hunger Games as far as grade level recommendation, which for me is 5th grade and up (ages 10+).


  1. I met Mrs. Young a while back at an author signing but completely forgot about BRR on my bookshelf. Thanks for the reminder :) Will definitely check it out soon. thanks for sharing!

    Diana @ The Lovely Getaway

  2. Oh man, I really want to read--or listen to, actually--this book now. Thanks for the review!
    Book Light Graveyard


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