April 28, 2012
Blood Red Road
First sentence: "Lugh got born first."
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This one took a while for me to get into. In fact, I read the first quarter, then put it down for a good week before picking it up again (and then, only because I didn't want to return it to the library unread -- since I had already started it -- and I couldn't renew it). But, once I got halfway through, I was in, hook, line and sinker.
It's the future, and because of some undetermined event, the world as we know it has dissolved into chaos. Saba and her family, twin brother Lugh and little sister Emmi along with their father, live out in the middle of nowhere, going nowhere, basically existing. That is, until four men come and forcibly take Lugh away. Well, that doesn't sit well with Saba, so after her father dies (which is pretty much right away), she takes Emmi and heads off to get Lugh back. Actually, she tries on several occasions to ditch Emmi, but the little girl is tough and won't be left behind.
The world they discover is not a happy place. They spend a month in Hopetown where Saba is a cage fighter (which is as grim as it sounds), before they manage to escape. From there they have to make it to the hidden valley in the mountains where the king (who is certifiably insane) has Lugh hostage, preparing to kill him as a human sacrifice on midsummer day. Which, by this point, is right around the corner.
It's a tough book to get into -- there are no quotations marks, and it's written in dialect, which always throws me for a loop -- but I have to admit that Young knows how to write action (there are many intense moments) as well as romance (seriously). She's given us a strong reluctant heroine, someone who leads without knowing it, inspiring greatness in both herself and those around her.
All of which makes me curious to see where Young is going to go in the next book.