Saturday, June 9, 2012

“She knows that whispers can be useful. Sometimes they contain real information. But usually they're fairy tales and lies. This is the worst kind of whisper, the kind that draws you in, gives you hope.”

Pure – Julianna Baggott
Book 1 in the Pure series
448 pages
Genre:  Dystopia

Summary:  A cataclysmic event known as the Detonations occurred, and the world has been forever changed.  Survivors of this apocalypse were fused with items they were holding at the time, and some people were even fused with other people.  Pressia, the protagonist, doesn’t remember much about the Detonations, but does have a souvenir from them:  a doll that was affixed to her hand by the blast.  As Pressia nears the age where she is to be turned into a soldier, she leaves her home and lives a life on the run, meeting up with many different people.  One person in particular, Partridge, is a Pure, or a person that has no abnormalities from the blast. Can the two work together, even though they’re from vastly different backgrounds?

Review:  I really love dystopias, so when I saw that Pure was one of the new titles at my library, I screamed with delight and checked it out.  I also may have clapped like a seal while I screamed with delight, but that’s neither here nor there.  Anyway, I found Pure to be a rather compelling read, and I’m anxious to read the next book in the series.

Before I get into my review, I feel like I need to comment on the YA distinction for Pure that I first noticed on GoodReads.  I was quite surprised to see it advertised as such, as I felt the tone and writing style were much better-suited for adult readers.  Would teens like these, too?  I would say yes, probably so, but I’m not quite sure if that was the original intended audience.  This is, of course, my opinion, and I’m really interested to hear your opinion on this if you’ve read the book.  Okay, onward!

I really liked the premise of Pure, and I especially enjoyed that it was told mostly through the eyes of the survivors who were outside of the Dome when the blast occurred.  While I’m not sure that I completely buy the explanation regarding people’s fusion with objects and how they survived, it was still rather interesting to read about.  The objects themselves were almost characters of their own, and the way in which they inserted themselves into people was really creative.  For me, two in particular really stood out:  the doll head on Pressia’s arm, and the fan that lodged itself into her grandfather’s throat.  Creepy, but definitely unique.

I enjoyed most of the characters, and I definitely liked that the majority of the novel was told from Pressia’s point of view.  Pressia was quite brave and strong, and I liked seeing things from her perspective, as she was one of the people who were left behind.  Partridge was also great, and it was enjoyable to contrast the two, as their lives were so vastly different.  While he wasn’t featured in the majority of the story, I also really liked Pressia’s grandfather, as he was smart and interesting.

The contrast of life in the Dome to life outside was also rather fascinating.  It was interesting to read about how history had been distorted, along with the things that those both inside and outside of the Dome were taught to believe.  It definitely provided a great foil when the two worlds collided in the form of Partridge and Pressia.

Pure left me with a lot of questions at its end, and I’m really looking forward to getting some answers in the next book.  If you enjoy dystopias, especially those dealing with detonations, give it a try.

Rating:  3/5

Other Books in this Series:  Book 2:  Fuse (expected publication:  2013); Book 3:  Burn


  1. We already talked about this, so you know I agree with you. The worldbuilding and descriptions were insanely cool, but the characters needed some work. I also agree that this book did not 'feel' young adult to me. I totally read it and reviewed it as an adult book and then realized everyone else thought it was YA. *shrug*

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone! I didn't realize it was even categorized as YA until I was looking for a quote online. Hmm...

    2. The categorizations really baffle my mind.