Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Hardcover: 431
Release Date: February 8, 2012
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Pre-Order the Book: Amazon
Add It: Goodreads | Shelfari
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.
The first time I heard about Pure was from the publicist asking if I would like to review it. I looked it up in Goodreads and while it sounded good, I didn't know if I wanted to give it a try seeing as it's 400+ pages. A lot of the time when I see something that long, I am wary to pick it up because with more pages that could mean two things: More pages to love or more pages that you have to slug through to finish. I guess it's safe to say I vastly underestimated this book.

If I'm remembering correctly, this is the first Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian book that I've read since the Hunger Games series. At least, one of this specific sub-genre. And while they are very similar in mood, they are very different in story. 

Pure is set nine years after the Detonations occurred wiping out most of humanity on Earth minus the few who made it to the safety of the Dome. Those who didn't make it either died from the radiation or were fused to nearby objects when the Detonations occurred leaving them permanently scarred and other. Those living in the Dome were called Pures because there bodies were unharmed by the radiation and life continues on normally there. They say they are waiting for a time when the earth can support life again and they will come out of the Dome and start a "New Eden" and repopulate the earth. 

The story is told from multiple point of views. Pressia, a 16-year old girl living outside the Dome who is marked  by a childhood doll fused to her hand from the blast. Partridge, a teenage boy and son to a very powerful figure  inside the Dome. And a few others as the story progresses. It's mainly these two though seeing as their the protagonists here. I really liked the changing POVs because it gave a little more insight into what one or the other was thinking during certain scenes and it really helped keep the story fresh.

Though it is still our earth and it is still America, it is not the same as we know it. After the Detonations, everything mutated. The humans, the plants, the animals. Some became hybrids. Humans covered in metal shards, broken glass, or in the case of one of the other protagonists Bradwell, birds fused to his back. 

I won't lie to you, Pure is not a light read. Much like the Hunger Games, there is a lot of death and an overall aura of darkness. It is a wasteland outside of the Dome. There is death and disease and destruction. The OSR (militia) go on human hunts. It is a pretty dark book, but without these dark descriptions of what Pressia has to endure daily you wouldn't be able to properly know her story.

The plot progression was fantastic and every chapter left me wanting to keep reading more. Julianna Baggott  is not a novice. She's been around the writing business for a while, so she knows how to write a great story. I haven't read any of her other books, but I am really curious to see how they compare to this beauty. I will be recommending this a lot. Especially to fans of the Hunger Games.

Apparently, the movie rights have sold for this book (and maybe the series?), but I really hope this makes it past the cutting room floor. I know a lot of books get picked up and then dropped shortly after or halted in pre-production, but I would love to see how it would be brought to the big screen.

-Reviewed by Jeffrey


  1. Great review. Unfortunately I didn't like this book though I can definitely see it appealing to other readers of the Hunger Games.

  2. This book is dark, I could tell from the first few pages I read, but it still seems intriguing. Is this considered a YA novel ?

  3. It is a YA novel.

  4. It's more of a crossover novel because it's published by Grand Central and set at adult prices. At least that is what i was told. Great review though. I liked this book a lot, but I didn't love it. I found it to be a bit sluggish in places. But I do think it would make a GREAT film.

  5. I can see it being marketed at both teens and adults. I hadn't noticed the retail price, but you're right. I hope that doesn't deter teens from picking it up.
    I agree that it was sluggish in parts. Parts I wish I could fast-forward through haha But I would love to see what a production company could do with it!

  6. Loved your review! Hard to believe a book like this is targeted to YA. I would think it more along the lines of dark fantasy, if anything! But great job with giving us a perspective of where the book's strengths lie! :)

  7. hmmm sounds interesting, and like everyone else pointed out, very dark. It's raised my curiosity, I'll have to look into it. 

  8. Bring on the dark future plot! That's just how I like my dystopians and post-apocolyptics. I'm glad to hear it was a hit overall too :]

  9. That cover is stunning! ANd the synopis sounds do intriguing! Definitley going to read this one.

  10. Enjoyed your thoughts. This is my favorite book in the post-apoc/dystopian subgenre and I've pushed it on people, probably to the point of becoming annoying. But I stand behind work that I believe is really good. I love it mostly because of the world-building and characterization but also because it is in fact a crossover, which I tend to enjoy quite a bit. I am elated for release day and I am impatient for book two. Like, bigtime. Glad you gave it a chance and stuck with it.  ;)