5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Favourite Book of the Year So Far,
This review is from: Blood Red Road (Dustlands) (Paperback)
Blood Red Road follows Saba on her journey to find her brother Lugh, who's been taken by some cloaked men. Saba has to leave Silverlake, the only home she's ever known, to go and find him, risking her life to get her twin back.
Blood Red Road is set in an apocalyptic future where there are no laws. Saba, Lugh, their younger sister Emmi and their pa all live so far away from anyone that they don't get into any trouble. However when Lugh is taken, Saba more or less goes running for trouble and shoving it out of her way. Blood Red Road is set in the Dustlands and the settings are all rocks and sand and harsh, like Saba's world.
To start with, I struggled with Blood Red Road. This is because the writing style is so different than anything else I've come across. The whole novel is narrated in Saba's speech patterns, for example: git instead of get, an instead of and, jest instead of just. Because of this, a lot of it is also grammatically incorrect which didn't bother me but I feel it may bother some readers. It was difficult to grasp but once I fell into it somewhere in the first fifty pages, I loved it. I don't think it should've been written in any other way. My favourite example of the way this is written I have to share with you. It's the word exactly. In Blood Red Road it is spelt like this: "ezzackly". I think it's brilliant.
Another style choice - much stranger than writing the novel in Saba's speech patterns - was the decision not to include speech marks. This was much more difficult to get on with as sometimes I was unsure what had been said aloud. But I was shocked to find that it wasn't impossible to get on with. If Blood Red Road has taught me anything about writing, it's that you don't have to listen to the rules. And sometimes you'll get on just fine without them.
Blood Red Road has again done things differently with its way of chaptering. The chapters are separated into places - it's more like parts when I think about it. Each part ends when Saba arrives in a new place and it's much more interesting like that. The breaks in between the chapters can sometimes be very small, less than a page sometimes, which makes it very easy to read and get into. And most important of all it makes it easy to pick up and impossible to put down. But I never felt like the sections were ever too short or going too fast. I thought the pace was spot on from start to finish.
I felt the characters speech patterns made them even more endearing and lovable. I felt it made it that much easier to feel what Saba felt and because of it I felt really connected to her and I wanted to follow her every step of the way and to the ends of the earth to find Lugh. The other characters are all so different that it makes it that much easier to fall in love with them. There wasn't one character in the book that I didn't like (who I was supposed to like). Even the ones I disliked I liked, if you know what I mean. Everyone loves the bad guys really.
The plot amazed me. That's all I can say. Unlike most books you - literally - cannot guess where the plot is going to take you next. Well, you can try but you wouldn't be right. I loved that about Blood Red Road, there was so much going on and most of it I could've never predicted.
Speaking of this, the final climax at the end just goes on and on. I was breathless, just reading and turning pages, knowing there was no way I was putting the book down until the end, that was certain. I even had to cover up the end of a section where I could see a break so that my eyes didn't wander. I just needed to know what was going to happen! To say my heart sped and so did my breaths would not be an exaggeration. This book had a real physical reaction on my body. I was there in the moment with Saba and the other characters and I was fighting side by side with them.
Also, a mark of a great book. It made me cry.
Plot Idea - 10/10 - I loved everything from start to finish. The plot was thick and fast and never did I question the relevance of anything. It was all important. It was amazing.
Way Plot Was Pursued - 10/10 - I love post-apocalyptic novels and I loved that Saba went from place to place.
Characters - 10/10 - they were all amazing. Good, bad, ugly. Perfect. I loved them all.
Style - 9/10 - the only reason this is not a 10 is because it was difficult to grasp the style at first until you got into it and I think it would put some people off.
Pace - 10/10 - there's nothing to say but it was perfect. Start to finish.