Author: Julianna Baggott
Series: Pure #1
Published by: Grand Central
Publication Date: February 8, 2012
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.
I’ve procrastinated on writing this review for way too long. Pure… why is this so hard for me to write about? Why?! Don’t misconstrue my difficulty of forming a coherent thought about this book as me not liking it. I did like it. I really did! It’s just that Baggott’s imagination has overloaded my brain (haha). This is one of those books that had me in awe of the author’s ability to develop such a unique and disturbing world. I’ve read a lot of post-apocalyptic books, but this is definitely one of the more grittier of the bunch. I love that.
The characters, the setting, the story, everything… are disturbing and shocking. I can’t even tell you how many times I had the “what.. the… heck” reaction. I really like that. Also, I like how the author made some of the situation seriously messed up, there wasn’t always a good or happy outcome for them. The reality of this world is harsh, and surviving in it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. And I appreciate that the small love interests in the book doesn’t take over the story. Another thing I liked were the creepy singsongs; they’re dark and disturbing. But really, aren’t most nursery rhymes through history kind of dark?
The book is told from multiple POVs, but mainly Pressia and Partridge. Pressia is a 16-year-old girl who survived the Detonations. She has scars, just like everyone else does from the Detonations. Her hand is fused in a doll head and the side of her face is scared. I didn’t love Pressia, but I didn’t dislike her either. I liked her determination, and that she accepted certain situations even though she felt bad about them, instead of fighting over everything little thing. It just made her feel more… real. Then there is Partridge, an 18-year-old Pure. He was inside the Dome at the time of the Detonations, which protected him and others from the mutations and fusions. He hasn’t been outside the Dome since that day when he was just a little boy, and only learns about the things the Dome leaders allow. That is, until he discovers his mother may still be alive on the outside. I wasn’t completely wow’d by Partridge, but I did like him. He was stronger than I expected him to be. And when Pressia and Partridge paths cross, they are thrown into a situation that is way bigger than they could imagine.
Honestly, my favorite characters were Bradwell, El Captin, and Helmud. Bradwell is a rebel, and won’t let history be forgotten or misconstrued. He has information about what really happened before the Detonations, and knows that the Dome isn’t all it appears to be. What is Bradwell fused with? Birds. Yes, real birds are fused to his back. My other favorite characters, El Captin and Helmud… well, you’ll just have to see. As weird and grotesque as it is, they made me laugh.
I could tell early on what the connection with Pressia and Partridge was, but it was still a wild ride following them as they came to the conclusion. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, because I need to know what the Dome plans to do next. I think this is a good book, especially if you like it more gritty.