Sunday, July 31, 2011


Yay! A brand new, fascinatingly disturbing, but hopeful, young adult, dystopian novel! My sister-in-law and I are really into these, and we can both attest that this is a good one. Pure, by Julianna Baggott, is the first of a trilogy. If you liked the world of The Hunger Games, you will surely like this world, too, available in February 2012.

Pressia is what those inside the Dome would call a wretch. She survived the Detonations that turned the world to rubble and ash and fused people together or to the nearest objects. Pressia has a doll head for a hand because she was a child during the Detonations. Her grandfather has a fan lodged in his throat. And the boy she's just met has live birds in his back. Now, Pressia is 16, the age when you get forcefully recruited into the army, if you're not so weak that they just shoot you for practice. Pressia is on the run.

Partridge lives in the Dome. He was protected as a child from the Detonations, and instead of bearing scars and fusings, he is privileged to receive special enhancement coding. He's what the wretches call a Pure. But he believes his mother may have survived outside the Dome, so he's putting together a plan to find her, even though no one has ever left the Dome, that he knows. Partridge is on a mission.

One world is ruined. One world is too good to be true. But Pressia, Partridge, and those they come in contact with are hoping for something better. In such a world, things only change if you change them yourself.

What makes this book are its characters and the setting. It's so different, post-apocalyptic in a way unexplored before, at least not that I've come across. The mutations resemble those in The Hunger Games but are taken to a different extreme. Rather than survival of the fittest creating stronger species, the plants, animals, and humans are warped beyond redemption and left to fend for themselves however they can without a hope of reversing the effects. It's rather like a train wreck to read. You can't help but stare at the wretches in your mind's eye and read page after awful page, wondering what will become of them.

But it's beautiful, too. Pressia and the wretches feel deeply human, despite their monstrous appearance. Some of the wretches let their situation make them monsters, but there are those like Pressia who try to rise above it. They are capable of kindness. They can fall in love. They can be selfless.

The world alone makes an interesting book, but Baggott ups the stakes and creates danger around every corner. While the book doesn't bring the story to an end, it unfurls a thrilling plot, sets up what is sure to be an epic trilogy, and ends with some emotional resolution.

I've read the covers of books claiming to be the next Hunger Games. I've even tried to read some of them. Pure can actually compare and stand on its own as the next big series in post-apocalyptic, young adult science fiction. It's pure imagination.

As with The Hunger Games, this series is recommended for older teens due to mature themes and violence.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.