Pure by Julianna Baggott
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: February 8, 2012
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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 don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone who reads my reviews that I love a good dystopian novel. I love the end of the world and what happens next scenarios. Pure presents a dark and dreary world after “The Detonations.” The world is not far from today’s world where the water is contaminated, food is scarce, chemical warfare has left the Earth scorched, and the humans have changed. People are now deformed and have fused to objects during the detonations.
"Kids before the Detonations are called Pre and those born after are Posts. Posts should be Pure, but that’s not how it works. The mutations caused by the Detonations settled deep into the survivors’ genes. Babies aren’t born Pure. They are mutated, born with traces of their parents’ deformities. Instead of starting anew, the breeds only seem to get more convoluted, a mix of human, animal, earth, objects."
This book may be labelled as YA, but it’s dark, grim, and gory. There are some pretty dark and gruesome descriptions, and the story reads more like an adult science fiction book than one geared towards a younger audience.
I did enjoy Pure, but I didn’t love it. Pure was a very slow paced book. It wasn’t so much that I had a problem connecting with the characters because I didn’t. All the characters were well developed and each had a unique voice. The only character I didn’t connect with was Lyda, but that could because she only had a few chapters. The biggest problem was also what made this novel great. Julianna Baggott creates this fantastic world, but it’s a world that has a lot of backstory. You don’t really get a sense of where this story is going until you are over half way through the book. Sometimes the backstory explanations just took away from the plot line and didn’t help move the story forward.
The fusing of body parts to various objects was weird. It made me squirm sometimes yet still was fascinating. The descriptions of each person’s fusing was so detailed it was impossible not to picture. Pressia had a baby doll’s head as a fist instead of a normal hand. Bradwell had birds attached to his back, and El Captain and some women had whole humans latched onto them. There is no way for them to remove these items or people as once they were fused they became part of the host.
Partridge and Pressia relationship did not go where I thought it was going to go. I just assumed that this was going to be another love triangle. I definitely look forward to reading more in the next book to see how they develop their unique relationship.