There is something about BLOOD RED ROAD that makes me want to write it in all caps. It's probably because whenever asked what I was reading I would practically shout (in a deep gravely voice) "BLOOD RED ROAD!"
"What's it about?" They would ask. And I would tell them: "It's about a girl named Saba that lives in a Mad Max-ish type post-apocalyptic wasteland who has a pet crow called Nero and a fraternal twin brother named Lugh who has been kidnapped by these bad guys called the Tonton on behalf of the King who controls everyone with a substance called chaal." Their eyes would then roll into the back of their heads from information overload. Their minds would take a second to reboot and they would start talking about how great The Hunger Games are.
"The Hunger Games?" I would ask. "Do the hunger games have two girls locked in a cage with a main character ruthlessly sending them to their deaths without question? With very little remorse? Did Katniss Everdeen ever get all her hair shaved off like Natalie Portman in that one movie? No. She didn't. Did Katniss Everdeen spend all her time thinking about boys and how neat they are? Yeah. She did. Weak!"
Not to say that Saba doesn't fret over boys. Oh, she does, but it's a side point. She'll beat and kick anyone that gets in her way and that includes the guy she wants to tussle about in the sand with.
Saba's search for her brother takes her all over the wastelands where she encounters thieves, giant mutant worms, a crazy king, kidnappers, murderers, drug pushers, drug users, lunatics, Al Gore*, and the love of her life (this is a young adult novel about a teenage girl; you cannot escape boys).
And yeah, Saba talks in a Deliverance you-got-a-purdy-mouth way:
He's dead. They've killed my pa.**The voice given to Saba by Moira Young does inspire mental images of banjos and mullets and rusted pickup trucks; it is really backwoods-y, but it's pretty freakin' unique and brings something different to the YA dystopian offering table. And Saba's pure badassery proves that she's not just another Walmart shopper.***
On a scale of one to I spent my weekend reading this book on my couch I would rate it I told my Saturday night plans to screw off and stayed in. For the next novel (as all young adult novels set in a future dystopian society are part of a series these days) I will read it on a Wednesday night as to not disappoint my friends. Maybe.
*I could only imagine him jumping out from behind a sand dune and yelling "Global warming! Yarg bleh blah!"
**A three-legged dog walks into a bar. He says "I'm lookin' fer the man that shot my paw."
***The kind that wear trucker hats and talk in a you-got-a-purdy-mouth way for real.