Pure by Julianna Baggott

Pure by Junianna Baggott was … strange, very, very strange. I liked it but it’s not for everyone.

 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 stumbled upon this book when I mistook it for another book I heard rave reviews about under the same name. I thought about scrapping it once I figured out it wasn’t the right one, but I read it anyway. This book got me thinking, but about the oddities within the story and not so much the story itself.

 Baggott has a unique writing style. Her third person view of this broken world shadowed by the Pure-filled Dome brought a lot of unique perspectives. It was interesting how each chapter progressed between the differing views of each character. Personally, I’m not a fan of this type of writing, particularly because I fall in love with one voice and I hesitate to read the next chapter because I’m annoyed in the view shift. Also, since it was in third person, I was confused at who was the dominating voice in each chapter because everyone is referred by their name. The lack of first person left me thumbing back through the pages looking for a reference of which character was talking.

 There was a well-paced build of relationships between the characters which took off rather quickly. Yet, throughout the whole book I wished for a first person view. All romance was muted due to the third person. It didn’t draw the reader in and allow them to fall in love with the characters. It was almost as if I was watching the characters through a transparent dome, seeing but not really grasping who each character was. It was really disappointing.

 Baggott came up with a crazy world. I’m all for a creative imagination and unforgiving post-apocolypic worlds but, dang, Baggott has no mercy. I’ve never read such beautifully grotesque descriptions and disturbing characters. I hope they never make this into a movie, I will NOT watch it. It’s too much to handle. I admire Baggott’s forward-thinking attitude and dabble into the biosciences and nanotechnology. It added a plausible scientific angle with the possiblity of messing with DNA. However, even though the outcome was believable, I was turned off by the hybrid creatures and the fusion of objects to body parts. I had an issue believing that people could survive fused to other people or that objects fused to organic material wouldn’t deteriorate or break from use. It’s quite frankly disgusting and this distasteful quality prevented me from fully accepting the characters.

 The second novel, Fuse, will be released in February 2013. I will most likely pick it up out of curiosity but the characters weren’t memorable enough to account for excitement. I feel like a lot of readers won’t enjoy this novel due to its grotesque nature. The plot seemed forced and too set up. For all the action, it wasn’t very exciting. The cover is pretty and the story was interesting but it doesn’t have that spark that’s needed to create book magic.  It was just strange — very, very strange.

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