Genres: Young adult, dystopia, post-apocalyptic.
Spoiler note: This review does not contain any spoilers.
I’ll be honest with you: I do not understand people who “don’t read young adult fiction” (and likewise, people who only read young adult fiction). You may as well say “I don’t read books” because it’s such a massive generalisation. I have been very impressed with the diversity within young adult fiction over the past year and Blood Red Road is a perfect example. I know it’s cliché to say “I’ve never read anything like this before” in book reviews (and I do it a lot), but it’s true. I found Blood Red Road to have both a futuristic and historical feel to it. How does that work? Well, the book is set in the distant future. We know this because the characters refer to a past, technologically advanced civilisation, the “Wreckers”, which I judge is us. However, the world they currently live in is extremely primitive and Roman-like. One of the events in the book takes place in The Colosseum and involves cage fighting, reminiscent of The Hunger Games without the innovations in technology (although I am by no means comparing the two books; they are nothing alike). It also has the odd fantasy element.
I also see Blood Red Road as an adventure story. Saba, our protagonist, witnesses her brother Lugh being forcefully taken from their home and the entire book depicts the quest to rescue him. There are no chapters but instead it is split into seven sections – each major step of the journey. It’s not the type of book that has constant twists and turns, and puzzles that we must uncover, but instead we hang on to every word, wondering if the characters are going to survive their ordeal. There are underlining themes of family and friendship, and the lengths people will go to in order to help each other out.
The writing style is also unusual although fans of the Chaos Walking trilogy will feel right at home:
“Nero does what he always does, which is perch on my shoulder an caw real loud, right in my ear, to tell me what he’s thinkin. He’s always got an opinion does Nero, an he’s real smart too. I figger if only we could understand crow talk, we’d find he was tellin us a thing or two about the best way to fix a roof. He’ll of thought about it, you can bet on that.”
The entire novel is written in the characters’ regional accent, which really adds to the atmosphere. What I also really liked about the book is the presence of Nero at the beginning of every paragraph:
Who would have thought that I’d ever want to have a pet crow?
Overall, I really enjoyed Blood Red Road and the adventure does not end here – the sequel will be released in 2012.
My Rating: ★★★★