Author: Julianna Baggott
Publisher: Grand Central
Publish Date: February 8, 2012
Genre: YA, Dystopian
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . . Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. 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. 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.
Pressia's life has always been measured in days. A day alive was a day of success. A day in which she makes it through unscathed is another day she's beaten the odds. Pressia is marked and not pure. On the other hand, Partridge is a Pure. He should feel blessed. His life is superior. His days aren't numbered, and he lives in the safety of the Dome, but something's missing. He's on a quest to find that missing piece, and when he voluntarily relinquishes his life in the Dome, he realizes just how dire the world of the those outside and meeting Pressia might just change everything.
This book doesn't release until February, and I had every intention of waiting to review it, but a rave review from my brother-in-law's sister convinced me to bump it up in my queue. Pure is dystopian in every sense of the word. Picture a world that's as picturesque as possible, without war, or greed, or hatred. Now picture the exact opposite. Julianna Baggott has created an eerily real world that is terrifying, horrifying and entirely magnetic and tangible. Vivid and accessible, the world within Pure is written with a haunting prose and tone that latches onto the reader and refuses to let go.
Pure truly embodies bleakness. Gritty and action-packed, the book perfectly balances character and plot, letting the two feed off one another and fuel the fire of the story. Pressia's life was painful to read, and I'll admit that I had my doubts about the doll head being fused to her body. Partridge, likewise, could easily have come off as an arrogant, self-entitled jerk who wanted more than he had for no greater reason than to want, but his genuine desire to find his mother, hold onto hope and discover a truth within himself was endearing and engaging. The world of Pure, however, was breathtaking in the most cringe-worthy way. The wake of the nuclear holocaust was so descriptive and detailed that it was mesmerizing, painful and raw. The best par of Pure though was that it makes the reader uneasy and feel unsettled long after the final page. It makes one think "what if?" What if we go too far one day, and we can't turn back? Pure presents this war between the haves and have-nots is horrifying in the best possible way.
I'm so glad to see a dystopian book step outside of the ordinary, boring little "teen romance with a touch of dystopia" mold. Pure is a powerful first book in a planned trilogy with cross-genre appeal that is certain to make the reader feel. I give it a 5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to both YA and adults, especially those who enjoy dystopian fiction.
I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.