Book: Pure (Pure #1)
Author/Authoress: Julianna Baggot
It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Breath-taking, even. Can you blame me got wanting to read this? Although the covers’s not exactly accurate (why is the dome so small?)-it’s pretty damn close. Symbolism. I like it Yeah you get 5/5 for your gorgeous cover, Pure. Pure beauty.
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
So what makes this book a dystopia? Obviously the stark difference between the Pures- the people who escaped the Apocalypse (mostly) unscathed and are living it up, and the Wretches- the people who couldn’t make it to safety when the Apocalypse happened and now live disfigured and scarred in horrible condition. But then there’s this whole conspiracy theory that’s underfoot anyways.
This book’s original. Scary, creepy, dark, disturbing and somehow beautiful at the same time.
Beauty you can find it here if you look hard enough.
This book both pays homage to and reminds us of the terrible Hiroshima- Nagasaki atomic bombing that the Japanese suffered through. It’s a deep, dark topic. And well, the images that Julianna Baggot uses…well, they’re disturbing to see the least. (More about this under Writing). I don’t mean to make light of the tragedy but parts of the book are disgusting to visualize. I’m 14- I thought I was done with nightmares, yet somehow this paragraph seems to bring them all back
Three women step out – all fused – a tangle of cloth hiding their engorged middle. Parts of each face seem to be shiny and stiff as if fused with plastic. Groupies, that’s what they’re called. One of the women has sloped shoulders, a curved spine. There are many arms, some pale and freckled, the others dark.
A lot of this book deals with descriptions of disfigured people and it’s just hard to imagine all the suffering that’s going on.
You know how they say most Young-Adult books have little to no substance in them? How they try stretching plotlines too thin? Like bulimic, half-starved models? Not this one. Now imagine that model growing up to become an obese, middle aged women with frizzy hair. This book’s too stuffed with information. There’s too much going on, too much of flesh and meat. And no skeleton to support it. I’m just saying that this book is like the woman. It would have been better off being divided into two.
There was a lot of bouncing around of Point of Views in this book but that didn’t help much in revealing much about the characters. I got a good feel of Pressia and Partridge but I didn’t really get much about their ‘love-interests’ (more about that under romance).
Pressia’s the kind of girl who’s an idealist. She hasn’t been sheltered, exactly but she hasn’t been exposed either. So at times she’s very, very naïve and trusting. While, at others she seems to be a bitter cynic. And sometimes she’s confident and self-assured while at others she follows other people, taking their lead before trying it out for herself. Now, it might sound like Julianna Baggot did a horrible job creating a character who’s split into two. But in the book, it doesn’t read like that. In the books, she’s a teenage girl. A teenage girl who grew up in a complicated, dangerous, deadly world. She’s comfortable with the familiar aspects of her life but when tossed into new situations, she’s hesitant. She’s self-concious about her looks (she has reason to be, she has a doll’s face for her hand and her face is scarred) but is there any teen age girl who isn’t? And like any teenage girl, she hopefully (and naively) waits for her Prince Charming to carry her off on his white horse… No, wait she just wants the world to go back to normal and be safe. I have a few friends who would probably be just like Pressia if an apocalypse happened.
Partridge. Stupid name. Not a stupid character. Since he lived in the Dome for most of his life, he’s considered privelaged. But he’s lost a lot- his mother and his brother (or has he?). His father’s an important, busy, manipulative man who’s emotionally-distant (and maybe just a little bit evil too). Not only is his father unapproachable, he makes it hard for other kids to approach Partridge. So Partridge grows up isolated and alone (although considerably better off than Pressia). He constantly lives in the past, trying hard to remember his mother and his life before the Apocalypse. When he gets the opportunity to run out of the Dome, he grabs it with both hands and seizes the chance to find his mother (who may or may not be alive). Having lived in the Dome, he’s more morally….ahem, inclined then the other characters in the book. He has a high sense of honour but runs around most of this book envied and hated (and maybe a mixture of both) by the ‘wretches’ who’re probably just jealous.
But don’t tell Bradwell that. He’s a bitter revolutionist who buys into the conspiracy theories. Fiery, angry, not exactly likeable- he’s everything we want the love interest of our story to be. And he’s got the coolest disfigurement ever (not to be insensitive or anything). He’s got live birds attached to his back which flutter their wings whenever he gets agitated and angry. Much cooler than a tattoo, isn’t it.
Partridge’s love interest is boring. So boring, I can’t actually remember her name. She goes kind of crazy and she needs to be saved ALL THE TIME. Frankly speaking, Partridge, you could do so much better.
And the supporting characters are pretty cool. For example, El Captain is attached to his brother. Literally attached to him. And he resents his brother for it. But deep down, he really loves him too.
For the first time in as long as he can remember, El Capitan is proud of his brother. “Damn it, Helmud! Shit! You’ve been planning to kill me.
Romance: No rating
There’s only some romance if you squint and tilt your head to the side. No, not like that. Just a little bit more. There you got it. And now it vanished. You didn’t see it? Did you blink? Of course, that’s why.
The romance in this book is just like that. A few measly confessions like ‘I like you’ and a (maybe) pity-kiss and the romance in this book is pretty much done with. It would be unfair for me to judge this book on the romance on the book.
I think it was the multiple POV’s which killed this book for me. There were more than four of them! And they all sounded so similar. Then what really buried the books were the long, in-depth (and maybe even incorrect) technical scientific explanations. Worse than world-building info-dumping, this is real info-dumping. The writing in this book makes it confusing to read. Not an easy read at all.
Julianna created this magical, dark, dangerous scary world. And kudos to that for her. But her writing style and her uninteresting character- I’m looking at you Partridge’s sort-of girlfriend who’s name start with a ‘L’ made sure that this book wasn’t spectacular. I guess if an author gets one thing right, he/she’s going to mess up the other.
Plot Holes: 2/5
I don’t fully understand what the OSR did. It’s a military group that snatches people outside the dome away when they turn 16 to be drafted into their ranks. But wouldn’t that mean that everyone over that age should be part of the military?
And there’s a lot of gross imagery in the book. At first it’s kind of a novelty, but halfway through the book I’m like ‘Ew. No more please.’ As far as emotions go, I’d say the book evoked mostly digust and fear from me. I think it’s kind of shallow that Julianna Baggot has to depend so much on these cheap visuals to get us to remember the books.
Overall Recommendation: 4/5
Read it. But only if detailed descriptions of disfigurements won’t disgust you or bore you. And if you can handle the multiple point of views. Read it because it really does have an interesting plot premise and cool characters.