This is the first volume of a new post-apocalyptic trilogy called Dustlands that takes elements of Hunger Games, Knife of Never Letting Go, The Scorch Trials, a little bit of Dune, and others, and felicitously combines them in a riveting book I raced right through. Well, let me be honest: I loved this book! Is it a literary tour de force? No, but that doesn’t mean that it is a great read and a good representative of its genre.
Saba and Lugh are twins who just turned eighteen. [Main big criticism right here: LUGH? Huh? How do you pronounce that? Why does everyone else have a name that is more common?!!!] They live with their sad and demented father and younger sister Emmi on a hardscrabble farm in a sand dune covered landscape ravaged by the “Wreckers,” Earth’s former civilization (i.e., us).
Right after a violent dust storm, a group of men on horseback show up, kill the father, and kidnap Lugh. They check first to make sure Lugh has the birthmoon tattoo that shows he was born on Midwinter Day. (Both Saba and Lugh have them.) Saba vows to get Lugh back, and she and Emmi take off after them. Saba tries to leave Emmi at a nearby homestead; she doesn’t want the nine-year-old to slow her down, and plus she still holds resentment toward Emmi because her mother died in the process of birthing her. But Emmi won’t leave her. Neither will Nero, her intelligent and loyal pet crow. She picks up other followers on her way, including handsome and sensitive Jack. The obstacles keep getting worse, but Saba,”strong and true” as Jack says, always keeps her word, and she refuses to be a quitter.
Evaluation: This book has already been optioned by Ridley Scott for good reason. It really could be bigger than Hunger Games, which is about life or death tests that seem relatively tame compared to what Saba goes through. And strong women? Holy cow, you’ve got them here all over the place! However, to paraphrase Robert Heinlein, there’s still time enough for love!
Don’t pass up this great summer read just because there are similarities to other books, common mythical elements, and abounding archetypes. Prepare to stay up late reading, and get ready to declare whether you’re for Team Jack or Team DeMalo!
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2011
Bigger than The Hunger Games?!? Well, you’ve certainly made me curious!
On the other hand, there are not dazzling dresses and sparkling make-up in this one…
Lugh…makes me think “Lou.”
since I love The Hunger Games, guess I have to check this out…especially before I get too far behind in the series.
Ok, your excitement coupled with an intriguing review has totally sold me on this book. Off to find out how I can get it now! Thanks for enabling, Jill! =)
Sorry I’ve never gotten into this kind of book. Well actually I’m not sorry – think how high my TBR mountain would be if I found another genre I like! I think I just dodged a bullet.
I love a good post-apocalyptic novel! I might actually try this in the audiobook version!
Hmm… Lugh? Does that rhyme with Lug or with Hugh? And which is worse?
Definitely need to check this one out! Great review.
Those are big words you’re saying there! Naturally, I have to check it out…
I love books that you cant put down.
So what sold you…the fact that it’s post-apocalyptic? Or that it’s a trilogy? 😀
Still haven’t read Hunger Games! I tend to like the post-apocalyptic movies but haven’t given the books a fair shake.
Thanks to you my list of YA, nana and granddaughter books is growing.
Even though I don’t think this one is for me I know both of my sons would really get into it!! Putting it on a list for them!
Pingback: REVIEW: Blood Red Road by Moira Young « Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog
I liked Blood red road but Saba didnt go through more than Katniss , sorry my opinion , and Hunger Games isnt more tame than Blood red road either a good read though. If you spesificaly want a very violent book read Battle Royal.