Blood Red Road
Blood Red Road
Moira Young
ISBN 9781442429987
Margaret K. McElderry/ Simon & Schuster, 2011.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: blood-red-road coming-age loss moira-young post-apocalyptic romance

Blood Red Road
by Moira Young

Moira Young's debut novel unfolds in prose as spare as its wind- and sand-dominated landscape. Saba and Lugh are twins, born on Midwinter Day 18 years ago. Their mother died giving birth to their now nine-year-old sister, Emmi. Their father reads their fates in the stars, and does not seem surprised when four men arrive one day on horseback in long black robes (calling to mind the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse). They kidnap Lugh and kill Pa, leaving Saba to protect Emmi and find her twin brother.

As Saba's world becomes wider, so does her perspective. The people she meets help her see herself differently. One is a friend of Saba's mother, Mercy, who parted ways with Saba's father because " 'he looked to the sky for answers, I looked here.' She tap[ped] her hand over her heart." The heroine must decide for herself which one guides her path. In this world, Saba discovers expanses of beauty, but also shifting sands and winds powerful enough to make skeletons of skyscrapers. Few people know how to read. Chaal, an addictive drug, rules everything, and the Tonton--the men in black robes--round up slaves to serve a "king" dressed like Louis XIV of France. Terror pervades the country, akin to Mad Max, ruled by tyranny rather than anarchy. But Saba also discovers romance, friendship and trust. Does fate or the heart rule her path? This first book in the Dustlands series comes to satisfying completion, but leaves the answer for Saba's next adventures.

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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