Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Book Description via Goodreads:

ARC, 434 pages
February 8, 2012, Grand Central Publishing

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.

Source: Julianna, Linda & Grand Central Publishing (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

Pressia was fifteen years old. She was a wretch, one of the people living outside the dome. She was scarred, burned and fused – one of her hands was fused with a doll head, the last thing she was holding when the Detonations hit. She lived with her grandfather at the back of an old barbershop where she tinkered with small scrap to build miniature butterflies and other creatures. Her character was very likable. She was logical, loyal and loving. Above all, she was a survivor. Her life was all about survival. It was apparent in how she used her miniature butterflies to barter at the market for food. Most of all, it was apparent in how she ran and lived after she turned sixteen.

Bradwell was one of the ‘dead.’ He was listed as one of the people who died after the Detonations. Bradwell was broad and muscular and had several issues against the OSR and the Dome. He was attractive, mysterious and dangerous all at once. But I liked that he had a soft, vulnerable side. He had birds on his back and he lost everybody in his life. He was the son of a couple who knew the truth behind the Dome and the Detonations. He acquired their knowledge and shared it to the wretches through a lesson called Shadow History. He owed Pressia’s grandfather a favor in exchange for having the scars on his face fixed. So when he met Pressia, it was not surprising that he offered her his help. But it turns out owing a favor was not his only motive.

Partridge was the son of Willux, the head of the Dome. He was one of the Pures, the healthy, beautiful and strong people living inside the Dome. Even though he was safe and sound and had the privilege to be one of the Special Forces, he couldn’t help but think about the fact that he and his father weren’t close, that his brother, Sedge was dead and that his mother never made it back to the Dome. When his father said something that gave him a hint that his mother was still alive, he ventured outside of the Dome. Outside the Dome, he witnessed reality: the strange wretches and their scars, burns, welts and fusions, the daily survival, the death, the blood and the loss. But when rumors spread about a Pure getting out of the Dome, could Partridge survive out in the open?

The lives of these three youths become tangled. They leave their homes together and go on a search for Partridge’s mother. They learned to trust and depend on one another. I like how Pressia and Bradwell started develop feelings for one another and how Partridge learned to live and survive as a wretch. On their journey, they will discover a truth so startling that will change everything they knew about their selves and shatter their hearts. Do they have the strength to stand up for what is right? Will they resist and will they obey?

Baggott introduced me to a world of possibilities, science, horrors, errors, ambition and consequence. Pressia’s world was filled with danger – mostly people who have changed, fused to different things and even to each other. There were Beasts (people who fused with animals,) Groupies (people who fused with one another,) and Dusts (people who fused with sand and stone.) But the most dangerous of all was OSR. They get all the youths who turn sixteen, decide if they were going to be a soldier or a target and from time to time, they had Death Sprees. It was a game used to purify the population, to get rid of the weak. The scenes of the Death Spree were bright, vivid, bloody and unforgettable.

Baggott’s writing was undeniably beautiful and addicting. It bought out the ugliness and the beauty of her story world. The first half of the story allowed me to get to know the characters, to know the situation and to get inside the world. The second half of the story was all about unearthing secrets. It worked well for me. By the time that things were starting to unravel, I was sure that I knew the characters. I wasn’t confused because I got to know them first before the important parts of the plot happened. All the characters were well-written, even the minor ones. I got an inkling of who they were and what they were.

Pure is a deliciously dark journey that encompasses the drama and tragedy of the past, the consequences of ambition and desire, the intensity of cruelty and violence, the scarred face of hope and beauty and the brilliance of survival and love. Pure is a superb and obsessive adventure. I highly recommend this to dystopian and post-apocalyptic readers!


Here’s a little something for you to watch. The Pure Trailer! I have to say, I didn’t exactly imagine Partridge looking like the guy in the trailer but it’s close to what I imagine him to be.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Precious. I've been hearing quite a bit about this lately, but I have to say, your review has 100% sold me. It sounds amazing! The first and second halves of the story sound like they compliment one another perfectly in how they introduce the reader to the fascinating world and then bring all the deeper shocks and secrest and juicy stuff we adore.

    I am so intrigued to learn more about the mythology Julianna has crafted. Brilliant review! <3 Is it Feb yet??