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Heartless Lyn @ Great Imaginations

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost"

Blood Red Road (Dust Lands Series #1)

Blood Red Road (Dust Lands Series #1) - 4.5, but the story is worth rounding up.It is about time that the YA field released something fresh, exciting, and different."Blood Red Road" provides an overlooked and underrepresented faction - The Appalachia and Deep South region - a fair shot at the YA Heroine table.Saba's adventure is a wonderful race to save her family, while repairing the bonds with her estranged younger sister. Her goal to save her twin brother is enchanting, and if she happens to fall in love on the way, then so be it.The language, at first, was hard to muddle through. I had to reread the first part of the book over and over before I slipped into the language. Even living in Texas, I found the dialect a bit disturbing. I never warmed up to the language, but I was glad to see that it didn't hinder the story.Saba is a girl that some of us need. She's sassy, serious, and afraid to let anyone in. I found so many of my own qualities in Saba, enough to become sucked down into the story, and cheering at the end. I cannot even compare Saba to any other character (not even Katniss) because she can hold her own. Her troubled relationship with one sibling, and then her near worship of the other, adds a rich layer to the novel. Siblings are a large part of the lives of some girls (I have one myself,in fact), and I believe that a story centered around a relationship with one's brothers and sisters helps add a great element into the story line. Even the troubled, fiery love story took a backseat to Saba's own shifting sister/brother relationship. I have to say, overall, my favorite relationship had to be between Nero, the crow, and the other characters. The feathered protagonist played an important and endearing role, and since I love to identify with the animals in any story, Nero's contribution to the plot helped me fall in love with Young's novel.Jack was also a great shift away from The Typical Male YA Character. When Saba refused him, he reacts to her like a normal, well rounded person: bitter. I was relieved (and a bit heart broker) to see the tension build between the two characters. It is nice to read stories where a guy will ignore the secretly swooning female protagonist ("Cinder"), but at the same time, I become a little frustrated that the guys are treated in such a fashion. I do not like the message that a guy will put up with someone's crap because he is SO IN LOVE. So I am personally thanking Young for presenting her male main character with a bit more dignity. The few flaws of the story line:The death at the end. Very unneeded, and it serves, in my opinion, very little to the story. It seemed that it was thrown in to add a little bitterness to the sweetness to the end.The fight scenes were a bit glossed over. I am all for character development, and I tend to like character-driven stories over battles and fight scenes, but I like the conflicts to contain a sense of tension, not just "Well, they fight and you get it." I was not able to sink into the battles at all.World building? WTH happened? I would have appreciated some mythology-building in the story.Ash and Jack - there one minute, gone the next. Again, the reader needs some tension.The character of DeMalo - I NEED MORE DEMALO!!!!! (Did anyone else channel Tom Hiddleston??)I can't think of anything else. It might be a huge flaw with the other fans, but I did like that everyone seemed to have a potential partner in the end. I like to see everyone win. Overall, a fantastic story of love, family, friends, and the true power of love. Oh, and and epic tale that teaches us that hot guys love you for your personality. Score!