Monday, March 4, 2013

Book Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Title:  Pure
Author:  Julianna Baggott
Series:  Pure trilogy #1
Genre:  Dystopian
Pages:  431

Rating:  C-

Synopsis from  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.

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

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I really wanted to like this book more than I did.  It had an interesting (if not original) concept, an exciting plot, and pretty good characters.  But it was just too... icky.  There were several moments/descriptions throughout the book that made my stomach do somersaults.  I actually had to force myself to finish the book, skimming over the gross stuff as much as possible.  It's making me sick just thinking about it now.

The story takes place in post-Apocalyptic America, where the privileged few that escaped the nuclear radiation are living in the Dome, and the survivors live as wretches outside.  Most of the survivors have fused to the things they were near or holding when the bombs went off, which is where most of the grossness arises.  The descriptions of the human-animal, human-human, or human-object fusings are intense and meant to disturb.  Also, some of the creatures have become very zombie-like, and I already don't like the zombie craze, so that certainly didn't help with my opinion of the book.

Which is a pity because if the ick had just been toned down, I would have loved Pure.  The characters were easy to connect to, and they drew me in to the story.  Pressia is a great main character.  She's an atypical heroine in that she's very honest about her feelings and how much she's tempted by the comforts the "bad guys" provide.  She's not some untouchable creature who doesn't feel the slightest pull towards the opposite side.  She's gruff and independent but also scared out of her wits.  Her love interest, Bradwell, is pretty cool too, if a little stereotypical.  He's the loner conspiracy theorist, living in a basement surrounded by papers proving his theories.  The other main character of the story, Partridge, is a little wooden in the beginning, but his character developed a lot during his adventures.  I actually enjoyed his story more than Pressia's.

Overall, Pure had so much potential, but it lost me with all the creepy imagery.  C-

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