Pure – Julianna Baggott

11 Apr

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 have to be honest: for the first couple of chapters, I really wasn’t feeling this book. Could have been my mood, could have been the writing, could have been the characters, could have been the pull of the tides, I dunno. But I almost put it down a couple of times. But something – some nugget – kept me going. And I’m very glad that I did. Because by chapter three I was in love with this book.

It’s a bit hard to talk about what I liked about Pure without giving some of the story away, and I HATE spoiling things for other readers. So I’ll try to skirt around some of the surprises and secrets while still letting you know why you may want to give this book a go.

Okay, first Pressia’s world. The fusing that is mentioned in the book blurb? So cool and gross and disturbing and disgusting and brilliant. I want Pure to be made into a movie just so I can see the fusing come to life. But really, I don’t need to see it in a movie because Baggott describes it so well and vividly that I felt, quite often, that I COULD see it. (Which may be why it took me a couple of chapters to like the book, maybe. She’s quite graphic in her descriptions right off the bat, and I think it took me a while to feel comfortable with it).

After the brokenness of Pressia’s world, when we’re first introduced to where Partridge lives, The Dome, its order and starkness are obvious. I loved how even though The Dome is supposed to be the better option of the two, it quickly becomes evident that all is not as it appears.

Pure is told from several different view points. It took me a bit to understand why some of the secondary characters were getting their own chapters. But trust me, it all fits together. And a couple of those secondary characters ended up being my favorite parts of the book.

Pure took a bit of time to grow on me, but once I warmed up to it, I warmed up to it completely. I think this is a dystopian that will appeal  to a lot of people.

Thanks bunches to the folks at Hachette Canada for the review copy.

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