AUTHOR: Juliana Baggott
LENGTH: 448 pages
SUMMARY: We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again. (via amazon.com)
REVIEW: Originally, I was disappointed in this book but it was an unfulfilled expectations kind of disappointed rather than a bad book/bad writing kind of disappointed. I felt like there was so much buzz surrounding this book and I guess I was a little taken aback at how blunt and raw and bleak the book began. But…
Pure has an interesting chemistry all its own. The oscillating points of view between Pressia and Partridge provide a level of tension that ratchets up with every chapter. Every time I thought I was getting somewhere with one plot line, it would switch to the other character. Which was aggravating and made me read all the faster. The juxtaposition between the luxury and ease of the Dome and the deprivation and struggle of the Outside is jarring. And every new character introduced from the Outside is grotesquely endearing. They made me want to fix them and slap them all at the same time.
Baggott is able to create characters that are at once intriguing and maddening. I wanted to know more about Partridge and what happened to his mother. I wanted to make sure Pressia avoided the OSR. I wanted something REALLY BAD to happen to Ellery Willux. I wanted to SEE Bradwell’s birds and tell him that he could take down his guard for just a little while.
In addition, to an engaging plot and interesting characters, the description in this book is staggeringly vivid. The world that Pressia and Partridge inhabit is scary and grotesque and terrifying. All Outsiders are scarred and fused with inanimate AND animate objects making them freakish curiosities. There are graphically violent scenes surrounding incredibly tender scenes – all of which are threaded with a sneaky hope that the characters don’t realize is eating its way into their lives. Baggott runs you right to the end of the story with Pressia and leaves you grasping along with the characters for the next move. Luckily Pure‘s sequel, Fuse, is due to be published sometime next year.
Overall, I’m attached to the characters and really interested to see where Fuse takes me next.