Friday, March 16, 2012

Book Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Title: Pure (Pure, #1)
Author: Julianna Baggott
Reading Level: Adult
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hardcover, 431 pages
Date Published: February 8, 2012
Source: Publisher
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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.
Dystopian novels are all the rage right now, but it’s difficult to create something so evolved and complicated and plausible, the way that Julianna Baggott has with Pure. The world-building is richly detailed and the barren, ashen landscapes are so vivid that you can almost feel the oppressive air against your face.

Pressia Belze is a disfigured, disheartened, and disenchanted 16 year old struggling every day to survive. Living through the Detonations that destroyed her family sounds dark, and it is. Pure isn’t light-hearted or joyful. Pain radiates off the pages and the death lingers in every chapter. But the characters are real and honest.

Pressia has heart and can somehow live off of hope, despite never experiencing it herself. Bradwell is angry and strong, but has a soft side. Partridge is almost na├»ve, but his innocence makes him so likeable. Having several characters – theses three among them – narrate the story allows for the reader to get a full view of the world they live in. We get to see life outside the Dome, as well as life inside the Dome. We see family life, the life of a revolutionary leader, soldiers, students, and everything in between.

Baggott commands attention with Pure. The world she has created is unlike anything else I’ve ever read, and it somehow makes sense. The fusions – Pressia has a baby doll for a hand – the politics, the creatures, and creations are astounding and disturbing, but so messed up that I couldn’t get enough.

Mesmerizing and stunning. Pure is exquisitely dark and grotesquely beautiful. Julianna Baggott somehow takes the most horrifying creations and situations and spins them into a tale of hope and perseverance; of survivalists in a terrifying world who can still see the goodness in others. This is a the first of a trilogy and I’m and now dying to see where things go next and who will live to see tomorrow.

Opening line: There was a low droning overhead a week or so after the Detonations: time was hard to track. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages: “All the losses mount up,” he says. “You can’t feel one without feeling the others that came before. But this feels like an antidote. I can’t explain it, like someone fighting back.” ~ pg. 320
 More like 4.5
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Julianna Baggott online:

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As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

THis book has been on my radar (and nightstand) for a while, but I've not picked it up yet. It's interesting to me that while the book could have passed for YA, it's being marketed to adults instead. Do you have a take on that? (Rumor has it that in-house marketing debated long & hard about where it should be slated)

caitieflum said...

I really loved this book also and you mentioned why I think it is a step above a lot of the other dystopian novels coming out - plausibility. It made everything mean more and feel more realistic. Fantastic book, thanks for sharing your thoughts and making me think about this excellent book again!

Nerd Girls said...

I so agree with you, the world building was phenomenal. I almost felt like I was breathing ash right along with the characters.

I also can't wait to see where this series goes!

Jenny at Books to the Sky

Elodie said...

This book sounds amazing .. I love dystopian novels but as I've read a lot of them it is now difficult to find one that really stands out !! I really can't wait to read Pure .. Thanks for the great review Nikki :)!

Bridget Asher said...

The novel went to editors in adult houses and YA houses and bids were made by both. It's published by an adult publishing house, but many of the overseas pub houses are YA. In the end, it's a mix.

(The signature will say Bridget Asher -- but it's Baggott. Hello...)

Jessica A. said...

There have been a lot of dystopia type books lately so it is not the easiest thing to find a new-ish storyline.
Pure sounds fantastic. Creepy and haunting, but fantastic. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the review :)

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Honestly, I think it could have done wonders in YA, but is probably marketed as adult because the author has been a NYT bestseller with adult titles. It's also quite dark, so maybe they didn't want to contend with any challenges it may have faced in schools and libraries. I hope that older teens to pick PURE up though because it is fantastic.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it as well. The plausibility factor was what made me feel so involved with the story and I'm very curious to see what will happen next.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Wow, the author stopped by and answered the YA/Adult reasoning debate below. :)

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

It was truly incredible. Everything about the setting just jumps to life.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I'm with you, Elodie. It is hard to find unique dystopians, but PURE stands out so much. I hope you give it a shot.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Wow, thank you so much for stopping by. I'm always blown away when an author stops by my blog and I appreciate you answering the Adult/YA debate.

I loved Pure and I cannot wait to see what happens to Pressia next.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

It's definitely creepy and it's most certainly haunting, but fantastic as well. It's honestly one of the most unique books I've read and I'm excited to continue the series.

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