Blood Red Road by Moira Young

blood red road

The basics

Title: Blood Red Road

Author:

Series: Dust Lands #1

- Blood Red Road (2011)
- Rebel Heart (2012)
- Raging Star (2014)

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Goodreads Summary:

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.

in short

Lugh is taken by the Tonton and Saba and Emmi go to save him. Saba is forced to become a cage fighter, but the FreeHawks rescue her within a few months in exchange for her help. Saba and the rest travel to the Freedom Fields to save Lugh from the ritual. They manage it. Ike dies. Jack goes off to find Molly. Saba heads west.

what went down

  • Saba recalls how a traveller once visited their home and taught Saba’s father to read the stars and the future.
  • There hasn’t been any rain in months. Saba’s father asks Lugh (her brother) to help with a rain spell. Lugh argues and storms off. Saba follows.
  • Lugh tells Saba to be nicer to Emmi, their younger sister. Saba blames Emmi for their mother’s death.
  • Proctor John and the horsemen ride in. On of the men asks if Lugh is the boy born at midwinter. He is.
  • One of the men kills Proctor John. The men take Lugh. Saba and her father try to stop them and her father ends up getting shot and killed.
  • Saba leaves Emmi with  a neighbour called Mercy. Before she goes on her quest to find Lugh, Mercy tells Saba that she was meant to help deliver Emmi but she didn’t make it in time.
  • Mercy says a traveller witnessed Lugh’s birth and said it was a rare thing.
  • Mercy thinks the horsemen were the Tonton and they could have taken Lugh to Hopetown.
  • Mercy gives Saba a heartstone that’ll heat up when you’re close to your heart’s desire.
  • Saba sets off to find Lugh.
  • Saba falls asleep in an aeroplane. She’s woken by someone on a horse. It’s Emmi.
  • Emmi has no food or water, so Saba can’t send her back to Mercy. Instead, Saba lets her tag along.
  • A married couple, Rooster and Miz Pinch, “bump into” Saba in the desert. They offer to help Saba and Emmi get to Hopetown.
  • Turns out these two are horrible and they drug the two girls. They plan on selling Saba to become a cage fighter, and they threaten Emmi’s life.
  • They go and see the Cage Master.
  • DeMalo and Saba “meet”. A voice says “I know you”.
  • Saba wins her first fight as a cage fighter.
  • Saba is put in a cell. Emmi is taken away by Rooster and Miz.
  • A month passes. Saba wins every fight.
  • A girl called Helen befriends Saba.
  • Emmi visits Saba in her cell.
  • Helen tells Saba that the Tonton would have taken Lugh to the Freedom Fields.
  • She also tells Saba that the King grows a drug called chaal and he gets people addicted so he can control them. Chaal is grown in the Freedom Fields.
  • Lugh is meant to be the boy who would die to save the King.
  • The King’s men kill a boy born at midwinter every six years because this apparently renews the King’s power. Hmm.
  • Mag Dog kills Helen for not dancing for him.
  • Saba is sent to the Cooler.
  • During her next fight, Saba sees a mysterious girl in the audience. This girl is Maev, the leader of the FreeHawks. Maev says that Epona (another fighter) is a FreeHawk. Saba and Maev agree to help each other.
  • Emmi gives Saba back her heartstone.
  • Saba meets Jck and the heartstone heats up.
  • Saba loses her fight against Epona intentionally.
  • DeMalo, Miz Pinch, and the King accuse Saba of losing on purpose.
  • Saba loses her next two fights. The King changes the location of the Gauntlet. The FreeHawks can’t save Saba from this.
  • Saba escapes and goes to find Emmi. A FreeHawk called Ash convinces Saba to help free the other cage fighters.
  • Saba rescues Jack from a burning building. He kisses her. It’s all a bit sudden, really.
  • Saba escapes with the FreeHawks.
  • The King, the Cage Master, Rooster, and Miz Pinch come after them but all supposedly die when their landboat crashes.
  • Saba goes to the FreeHawks’ camp. Jack arrives and says he’ll take her to the Freedom Fields. Saba goes with him.
  • Jack wants Emmi to come along. Emmi shoots a gun to prove she’ll be safe.
  • Ash and Epona follow them.
  • Saba’s heartstone falls in a river. She dives in to get it back, because it was her mother’s, and almost drowns.
  • The group arrive at Ike’s inn. Ike punches Jack in the face. Ike tells them the way to the Freedom Fields.
  • Jack reveals that he and Ike were both slaves in the Freedom Fields.
  • The group tries to cross a dried up lake before dark so the Hellworms don’t get them. They don’t make it.
  • The Hellworms attack and are defeated. Saba is clawed and falls into unconsciousness.
  • They arrive at the Freedom Fields, where the ceremony is just starting.
  • The King didn’t die after all and he’s at the ritual, ready to kill Lugh.
  • The group flood the fields.
  • The group makes it to the stables. Epona is missing.
  • Epona is trying to escape the Tonton. Saba mercy-kills her.
  • Emmi is captured.
  • The King and his men are ready to attack.

how did it end?

The FreeHawks rescue the group and DeMalo releases Saba before riding off. The King is left behind. The King escapes and Saba chases him. She shoots him with her crossbow. The King falls off a cliff. Ike is killed in the kerfuffle. The FreeHawks head back to their base. Saba, Tommo, and Lugh plan to head west. Jack goes off to tell Molly about Ike. Saba gives him her heartstone and kisses him.

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