Review: Pure

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: PurePure by Julianna Baggott
Series: Pure #1
Published by Grand Central on February 8, 2012
Genres: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Pages: 431
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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.

First of all, I want to point out that, although the main characters are all teenagers, this is not a novel aimed at young adults. While some teens may enjoy it perhaps, the tone and the writing style definitely market towards adults. This change is visible, too, in the romance, which is much darker and less perfect than in most YA dystopias.

Let me discuss that a bit more. Whereas, even in the harshest of dystopias, like The Hunger Games or Battle Royale, people look and act like people, maybe not good ones, but people nonetheless. The violence may be gratuitous and the acts depraved, but, ultimately, the people are, wounds aside, attractive and normal. This is not the case in Pure.

In fact, this is what I liked best about the novel, and this is the part that will stick with me long after I’ve forgotten most of the plot. The people, the wretches, who were outside when the bombs went off fused to whatever happened to be near them at the time. Obviously, most people did not survive this, but a lot did, but they came out of it looking like something out of a horror movie.

Pressia got off pretty lightly all things considered: scarring on one side of her face and a doll’s head fused to one of her hands. El Capitan, one of the heads of the guards that rule the world outside the dome, fused with his brother, Helmud. Mothers who grabbed their children have their kids fused to their legs or breasts. Other people, Dusts, seem to have fused with the ground, the dust, the rocks. (Is it bad that this also makes me think of Sid’s toys in Toy Story?)

Now, this does seem somewhat far-fetched to me, but one of the remarkable things about nature is its ability to bounce back. So why not? These fused people (and animals–humans are not the only ones affected by the radiation) are completely terrifying and will haunt me.

What bothered me, though, was the plan that the folks in the Dome had. It doesn’t seem like they planned to stay in there for all that long. I thought radiation took a really long time to dissipate…how will they be okay until that time? This wouldn’t be Blast from the Past.

All in all, I’m really not entirely sure how I feel about this one. It was a bit of a struggle for me to read. Something about it just didn’t mesh with me. Having looked through some reviews on GoodReads, I know I’m not the only one who felt this way. Still, there were some cool things here, and I may read the next book in the series despite my reservations.

6 responses to “Review: Pure”

  1. Nori says:

    I’m not sure about this one. It also kind of reminded me of the Simpsons Movie…inside the dome. But, the way you make it sound so harsh actually makes it sound really appealing to me…I wonder what that means.

  2. This one sounds intriguing to me (not to mention the cover’s beautiful!). Thanks for your review 🙂


  3. Ann Kristin says:

    I was pretty excited to read this one, but I just couldn’t get into it. Like you say, there are fascinating things in this book, but for me the book just didn’t connect. The cover is gorgeous though. 🙂

    • Christina says:

      Yeah, I had trouble getting through this one too. I’m still planning to try Fuse, because conceptually Pure was amazing. I just want to see the characters become more likable and the plot move along a bit quicker.

  4. Emma B. says:

    I liked the creepy atmosphere of the book. The descriptions definitely gave me the heebie jeebies. But I thought that a lot of the characters were kind of boring, and the hook ups were predictable.

    • Christina says:

      Yeah, I wasn’t even sure if I would want to read book two, but I decided that I will because the world building was so interesting. I would love to see Baggott develop the characters more.

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