Wow! I was blown away by Blood Red Road. (Also known simply as Dust Lands in my head. Look at the giant font for the series' title in comparison to the actual title!) Not only did I find the novel to indeed be better than The Hunger Games, I also would rank the book as one of the better dystopians and even at the top of the list!
At first, I wasn't sure if I would like the dialect. There are no quotations marks and a lot of pretty bad grammar. There are misspelled words aplenty and you will find a lot of choppy sentences. However, all this makes this book one of the most realistic dystopians out there. Have you ever wondered why a character with supposedly no education can speak with perfect grammar and acquire such a large vocabulary? I certainly have, particularly in dystopians, and I am so glad Dust Lands fixes that problem.
I know a lot of people are still apprehensive of the writing of the novel. Will it be too hard to get into the novel with the bad grammar and lack of punctuation and spelling? For me, the dialect did not prevent me from getting sucked into Saba's world. In fact, the uncommon but smartly planned writing made me love the book so much more, and after a while I barely noticed the "errors". I was just in Saba's head and thinking the way she thought.
Also, I love the fact that Dust Lands is a dystopian without an overload of technonlgy. In all honesty, I was kind of getting bored with all the computer-y electronic-y aspects in some novels. Blood Red Road is simply a survival story in a world with a harsh terrain and plenty of fighting and cruel conditions. I also loved the lack of control the setting has. Everyone is out to keep only their heads on their necks and most are back stabbers that don't care about the fate of others.
The characters are superb. While I found Saba to occasionly be thick headed and mean, she was a unique character and her story of survival is also one about self discovery. The character I felt for most was Saba's sister Emmi. Saba treats her badly as she blames Emmi for the mother's death, and she goes through a lot of pain and trauma for a seven year old. Also, I found the brother, Lugh, to be a very interesting character. Although we don't see much of him, he has a big presence throughout the book and I hope we see more of him in the second book.
Jack, the love interest, was not a "wow" character for me, although I did like him. I was intrigued by him and I was on edge to hear his story. Unfortunately, we don't seem to learn enough about Jack and I was disappointed. Hopefully more will be revealed in the next book. Next, we have the Free Hawks. They were so awesome! Who can't love a "gang of girl warriors and revolutionaries"?
Finally, we have the adventure and plot. Well, it was amazingly paced and I really hated every time I had to set the book down. There is so much action from fights to storms to daring escapes. Along with the action there is also great, to-the-point descriptions that have you imagining the setting. Overall, I really enjoyed the journey Blood Red Road sucked me into. The characters, plot, setting, and dialect were amazing and realictic. Don't let this book scare you. Give Dust Lands a try.