Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands #1
Published: June 2011 by Marion Lloyd, Simon & Schuster
Length: 492 pages
Warnings: Violence, (fictional) drugs, slight romance 12+
Other info: This is Moira’s debut novel. The sequel, to be published later this year, is called Rebel Heart.
Summary : In a lawless future land, where life is cheap and survival is hard, Saba has been brought up in isolated Silverlake. She never sees the dangers of the destructive society outside. When her twin brother is snatched by mysterious black-robed riders, she sets outon an epic quest to rescue him. The story's searing pace, its spare style, the excitement of its fabulously damaged world, its unforgettably vivid characters, its violent action and glorious lovestory make this a truly sensational YA debut novel.
Review: Saba has lived in the Dustlands ever since she was born, and nothing out of the ordinary has ever happened. Until she is eighteen, when her brother is stolen away by men who appear out of a dustcloud and have been waiting for him ever since they were born. Saba is determined to get Lugh back and sets out on a quest with her sister Emmi, her crow Nero and a group of people she meets along the way. Nothing will stop her from getting him back.
I was initially put off this book by the writing style. There is a clear lack of conventional spelling and punctuation: the word “and” being replaced by “an”, an “ing” at the end of a word having its “g” lopped off, “says” being continually used with “I” and no speechmarks to be found throughout, initially made me think “I can not be bothered right now to put this into something I can understand”, but I got used to all of it surprisingly quickly. It gave Saba a really unique voice, and a personality of her own.
The plot starts out with something quite typical for an action story-giving a reason for a quest, then going off and doing it. Some things were really predictable though. The variety of places she gets to is huge. My favourite, because I think it’s the best imagined, is the cage fights. All of them are quite well imagined, with the Dustlands becoming a real world to me.
I never really cared for Jack. Or any of the minor characters. While I did enjoy reading about them, all that really mattered to me was Saba and Emmi. Saba goes through a lot, so most of my care-for-characters-quote was used up on her.
The pacing meant something was always happening, no matter where you were in the novel. It also meant that there wasn’t really many convenient places to put it down. Well, there were. But you just didn’t want to put it down. You wanted to read on and on and see what happened.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a fast paced action filled novel. Can’t wait to see how the next one will turn out.