Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer of Reading #4: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

The Summer of Reading Series is one part commentary and one part analysis. Each post includes both a review of a book that I've recently read and, perhaps more importantly, the positive and negative aspects of the writing and the story within. The goal of this series is to learn lessons that will help make myself, and anyone reading this, a better writer and storyteller! Enjoy...

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road is a dystopian Young Adult novel that mixes the formula set out in The Hunger Games with the post-apocalyptic world of the film The Book of Eli.

Interestingly, it's told via an intriguing, back-country 1st person voice, and a distinct literary style (no speech quotation marks). At its heart, the story is a simple, archetypal narrative: the Hero sets out on a journey of revenge, acquires helpers along the way, and grows into a full-fledged Warrior.

Like any good dystopian science fiction author, Young slides in a bit of social commentary on how current social practices are destroying our planet - even referring to our civilization as the "Wreckers".

Key Positives:
+ The author creates a very strong connection and understanding between the reader and the protagonist via an effective 1st-person narration
+ "The Dustlands" is an interesting, albeit familiar, post-apocalyptic world
+ The author's writing style also does an effective job at character differentiation through distinct voices and character-specific phrases

Key Negatives:
- At times, the 1st-person perspective tends to drag and become tiresome - it's easy to get bored of the main character's mind!
- Although effectively using a story archetype, the story itself is a bit too simple for its own good - there are no subplots, and rarely any surprises
- Part of the reason why there aren't many surprises is that many of the characters and story elements are too cliche, and have been done many times in the past

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