Kelli Lee's Reviews > Pure

Pure by Julianna Baggott
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Feb 23, 2012

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bookshelves: post-apocalyptic, speculative-fiction
Read from February 15 to 23, 2012

3.5 stars
Pure was such a strange book for me, so much so that I’m finding it difficult to wrangle my thoughts. I was into it, then I wasn't. Then it picked up, then not so much. A reading roller coaster of sorts. So I’ll start with what I enjoyed.

The atmosphere. Awesome. Fantabulous descriptions. When Wednesday Addams Pressia ambled down the street her little decapitated dolly-head’s eyes blinked with each step. The fan lodged in Pressia's grandfather's throat whirred as he breathed. These are minor examples, but this novel is rich with description down to even the tiniest of details. A quality I adore in my reading experience.

Background. A background as to how the world ended up post-apocalyptic. Yes, yes, yes! Finally an author that realizes the importance of including that once-major-but-apparently-as-of-late-thought-to-be-minor-and-passé detail. Totally appreciated the knowledge. Humans wanted to bring life back to a near-devastated Earth and in turn cull the population. The Pures would wait it out in a life-sustaining Dome, it as in the Earth's healing of itself. And the rest of the whys you can discover for yourself.

And I definitely was a happy reader when the story became quest-y for awhile.

Why only three stars? Even though this novel was so rich in atmospheric detail, the overall story fell short on me, or maybe I should say didn’t hook me. It wasn’t until 150-odd pages in that I began to feel invested in the plot. It was plot-ish, not plot heavy. And really, not until in the 200’s did I want to keep reading.

I should mention that normally I’ll put a book aside if around page 100 I'm still not sure what the overall plot is, the point, so clearly there was something within the pages of Pure that urged me to continue. A whisper of cool things to come. And the whisper was right, revelations were revealed, oohs and aahs were aplenty, but then it petered out before the story even ended. Major bummer. I have zero clue where the author will even begin to take this story in book 2. I mean, this novel could end with book 1. The story felt wrapped up in a not-so pretty bow at the end.

If people are easily freaked out and are feeling squeamish from reading about the supposed grotesqueries going on within, I thought some of the circus side show freaks were creative, but by no means the worst I’ve read. I wasn't swallowing back bile or anything. In fact, the slaughterhouse stories are what got me. Being a vegetarian and all, I grimaced while reading that section, but really, I wasn’t disgusted whatsoever, regardless of what the description said.

And if you’re buying into the hype that Wednesday Addams (Seriously try as I might, I couldn't stop picturing that beloved character of mine.) Pressia is 2011’s Katniss, um, yeah, really? Not so much. Yet again, here’s another book that is supposedly the next Hunger Games. What, are there like 10 next Hunger Games out there or what? That doesn't even make sense. Mathematically speaking, there can be only one. Anyhow, this book is absolutely nothing like the Hunger Games. And that’s not a bad thing at all. Unlike THG, this book definitely took me a l-o-n-g while to get into, but if you keep that in mind and continue on reading, the story does pick up.

So yeah, all you post-apocalyptic junkies out there in Goodreads land, I'd urge you to pick up this novel. It might end up being your thang. And while I wasn't completely hooked, I for one will definitely be continuing on with this series. I'm very curious to see which direction the author's gonna take this story.
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Reading Progress

02/21/2012 page 138
31.0% "V-e-r-y slow start. Not getting " the next hunger games" vibe. Whatsoever."
02/21/2012 page 179
40.0% "Try as I might, I can't stop picturing Pressia as Wednesday Addams, with her decapitated dolly in tow."
02/22/2012 page 332
74.0% "I'm about ready to give this book 5 stars (not really) just for the simple fact of including a somewhat backstory that lead to its post-apocalyptic status. Hallelujah."
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Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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Leanna eep! I just bought this today. 1) the cover was that new kind of matte material that is really smooth to the touch, which I love. 2) it's going to be a trilogy so if it's good, there are more to come! and 3) I pretty much love the character names. I think I'll start reading it tomorrow :)


Kelli Lee Leanna wrote: "eep! I just bought this today. 1) the cover was that new kind of matte material that is really smooth to the touch, which I love. 2) it's going to be a trilogy so if it's good, there are more to co..."

Hey. Yeah, I started this pre-trip and liked it enough to bring it with me on a plane. I'm only 3 chapters in, but so far so good. It hasn't gotten the best reviews- lots of description and that's it. Anyhow, let me know what you think. We're kinda having a read along. :)


Leanna I'm pretty sure I'm going to finish it tonight or tomorrow. I want them to find Partridge's mother so badly...


Kelli Lee Leanna wrote: "I'm pretty sure I'm going to finish it tonight or tomorrow. I want them to find Partridge's mother so badly..."

Is that the major plot then?


Leanna Seems to be one of the main themes - although I also would like some more information on Lyda- have you got to her chapter(s) yet? They threw one in a while back and now seem to leave that part of the story hanging...


Kelli Lee Leanna wrote: "Seems to be one of the main themes - although I also would like some more information on Lyda- have you got to her chapter(s) yet? They threw one in a while back and now seem to leave that part of ..."

Yes, with the Lyda chapters. I've read a few of hers thus far. I don't mind her, actually liker her. I'm not sure how I feel about pressia yet, but don't mind Partridge or the other dude (Branswell?, don't have book with me). The story's picking up, thank God.


Leanna it was slow-going at the start, but for some reason I didn't mind--?? perhaps I was in a weird mood. But just finished now &... the end's pretty intense. Not sure what might happen in book 2 though.


Kelli Lee Leanna wrote: "it was slow-going at the start, but for some reason I didn't mind--?? perhaps I was in a weird mood. But just finished now &... the end's pretty intense. Not sure what might happen in book 2 though."

good to know. I'm somewhat into it now, actually wanting to read it. Which is a good sign, right?


Leanna haha, yes! that should be a good sign... unless of course your motivation is simply to finish it so you can put it down ;)


Leanna I actually thought the afterword/author's notes were some of the most interesting parts of the book! Especially the last few sentences, when she mentions hoping that people will learn more about the actual atomic bombs that have already been used in the past... I really get her motivation for writing it, you know? That said, I obviously still rated it 3 stars. But I'm curious to hear what you thought :)


Kelli Lee Leanna wrote: "I actually thought the afterword/author's notes were some of the most interesting parts of the book! Especially the last few sentences, when she mentions hoping that people will learn more about th..."

That's too funny about you liking the author's notes more than the book. Yeah, this book was like a roller coaster. I liked it, then I didn't. I was intrigued, then it was snoozeworthy. The Dusts were anti-climatic and not at all nail-biting worthy. And I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal how movie execs are hoping Pure and the Matched Trilogy will be the next Hunger Games. really? Okay, aside from great CGI, Pure will undoubtedly bore most people and I can't see it translating into a movie. And the Matched trilogy? There are no words to describe the boredom. I really can't see Pure being what they/hollywood execs call a four-quadrant picture (males, females, young and old). The plot was really plot-ish, no? Do you think it would make for a successful movie? Side note: aside from being a bibliophile, I'm a cinefile as well. Big time.


Leanna All the way throughout the book I kept dreading what they'd make the movie like. Honestly I totally would not want to see it made into film, mostly because of all the inner dialogue-y stuff (I hate movies that over-use narration, pretty much Amelie is the only narrated movie I like, haha). I feel like if this was a movie, it would be 15 minutes long. OR it would be 2 hours long, and they'd do a lot of sequences of the characters fighting off the Dusts & stuff. CGI, like you said :)

Side note of my own: I'm a vegetarian, too! And yes, I lightly skimmed the descriptions of meat hooks etc.


Kelli Lee Oh, fellow vegetarian. I love it. Yeah, totally can't see this being turned into a movie. It would be anti-climatic to say the least. I haven't seen Amelie for that very reason. Should be interesting to see how well this book does out there in book land.


Leanna re: Amelie, for some reason the narrative isn't as annoying in French/with sub-titles! It's beyond explanation.


Kelli Lee Leanna wrote: "re: Amelie, for some reason the narrative isn't as annoying in French/with sub-titles! It's beyond explanation."

I'll have to Netflix it then. I was just about to stalk your shelves to see if you've read the Hunger Games. So I'll ask you instead. Have you read The Trilogy? And also I started reading Under the Never Sky which is strangely similar to Pure, dome dwellers and those who aren't. A dome dweller leaves and hooks up with a non-dome dweller-a savage. Anyhow, the book's definitely a tad more interesting than Pure. Actually more than a tad. Bunches more exciting. So if interested? You might want to check out that book.


Leanna Cool! Sounds like a good one :) Nope, have not read any of the Hunger Games books, but actually passed by a display ad for the upcoming movie at the grocery store yesterday, which made me think I should read at least the 1st one before the movie previews make me think twice!


Kelli Lee Leanna wrote: "Cool! Sounds like a good one :) Nope, have not read any of the Hunger Games books, but actually passed by a display ad for the upcoming movie at the grocery store yesterday, which made me think I s..."

Oh man, I feel like such a book pusher. You have to at least read The Hunger Games. Everyone's doing it. :) I'm only pushing it on you because you seem to enjoy post-apocalyptic books. And yes, I only know of one you read, but still. I couldn't put THG book down. It was/is that good. Oh yeah, I'm so gonna be at the movie opening night. Can't wait!


Leanna Don't worry! It sounds good :) I read tons of Monica Hughes growing up & she was the best at futuristic world-building... sadly I found out she died recently, so I'm looking for new post-apoc books to read!


Kelli Lee I've never read anything by Monica Hughes. I'll have to check her out. Any one in particular that you would recommend? I've had such bad experiences with post-apocalyptic books recently. And I do enjoy the genre. But wgat irks me is the reason for their post-apoc status is not explained. It's just pooh-poohed away. Like it's no big deal. But it is to me. So yeah, not that The Hunger Games does a stand up job with the explaining if I remember correctly, but what it lacked it made up for in spades with an interesting, adrenaline-laced plot.


Leanna Monica Hughes is brilliant! But there are some wonderful ones to start with - I loved Invitation to the Game, and recently re-read it. Also the Isis series & the ones that take place underwater (apparently in some futures we colonize underwater domes & live among fish-human hybrids. I will look up some of the titles :)


Leanna Earthdark
Sandwriter
The Keeper of the Isis Light
Invitation to the Game
The Tomorrow City

(now who's a book-pusher? haha, promise I don't have shares in her publishing-house or something. She wrote tons in the 70s, 80s & 90s and lived in Canada which is probably why our libraries here had so many of her books... some are geared more towards younger teens, but the worlds she writes are amazing!)


Kelli Lee Leanna wrote: "Earthdark
Sandwriter
The Keeper of the Isis Light
Invitation to the Game
The Tomorrow City

(now who's a book-pusher? haha, pr..."


Awesome. I'm gonna add these to my to-be-read list. Don't you just love Goodreads?


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