Dust Lands: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

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 four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba’s world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba’s unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Saba is a tough, young woman who is extremely close with her twin brother. But she has little patience for her little sister. In fact, when the story begins, Saba feels little to nothing for her. And her selfishness made me dislike her; though as the story progresses, Saba begins to change for the better. In the face of danger and adversity, Saba tries to do the right thing.

The writing style takes some getting used to. It’s choppy and written in an Old West, uneducated dialect with misspellings, narrated by Saba. I eventually got used to it, and began to enjoy the dialect as I could imagine the characters speaking this way. But my biggest hang-up was that there were no quotation marks when people spoke. The last time I tried reading a book without quotations, I ended up giving up in frustration and annoyance. Fortunately, I stuck this one out, and ended up enjoying the story. Though, I still think quotes would have helped tremendously for those of us who read quickly. I tend to slow down my reading a bit when people speak, to better absorb the narrative.

The world of Dust Lands is a dystopian Earth covered in a desert wasteland, as the name would suggest. We’re not told yet what exactly happened in their history. Only that the land now feels like Dune meets Mad Max, with terrible sandstorms, monstrous creatures, and corrupt leaders. Saba’s journey to find her brother is a long one, filled with hardship and heartache. But her trials, shape her into a better person. Blood Red Road is an exciting adventure filled with drama, action, mystery, and a bit of romance. First in the Dust Lands trilogy, I will definitely be checking out the next in this thrilling series.