The cover of BLOOD RED ROAD (McElderry 2011) is not what drew me to the book. It was the opening chapter that grabbed me by the throat and pulled me into the story. Moira Young has built a world in her first novel for young adults, a world that seems quite unforgiving. When her twin brother Lugh is kidnapped by men on horseback, men who kill her father, Saba vows that she will track down the horsemen and rescue her brother. Off she sets to find Lugh. Her younger sister Emmi cannot be left behind no matter how hard Saba tries. The two run into much danger along the way. They are taken by a duo who force Saba to cage fight and make Emmi into a slave. Saba manages to escape from one disaster only to find herself back in harm's way. But she is determined to find Lugh and free him before he is sacrificed by a crazed leader. <283>
The dialect of the novel is the strong voice of Saba. It is distinctive and part of what will draw in readers, I think. For fans of THE HUNGER GAMES, here is a worthy match for Katniss in a future that is dystopic and dangerous. This is the first in a planned series, but stands alone quite nicely.