Glenda Christianson's Reviews > Pure

Pure by Julianna Baggott
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Feb 11, 2012

really liked it

I am developing a love-hate relationship with books that are part of a series. I love that the story continues and that I get to visit some of my favorite characters again, but I hate waiting for the other books to come out. I want instant gratification! I do not want to wait to see what happens!

OK, now that I got that out of my system, I can proceed to the book review....

There seems to be a lot of debates out there about the genre that this book falls into. Is it YA or adult dystopian or is it a "crossover"?? When I was growing up we only had two genres, fiction and non-fiction. I don't really think it matters what genre you place this book in. I read what I like. And I liked Pure.

Now, not everyone is going to agree with me about this book (no matter what their age is). Which is part of why I liked it. This a dark, dark world. It's not a happy place to be. There is very little romance and the heroine is not beautiful, kind and brilliant. This is a world that the conspiracy theorists will love! This book is refreshingly different from anything I have read recently.

The story is told from multiple characters view points. The writing was so well done, that I hardly noticed this until after I was finished with the book. Usually I have to stop and re-read pages of books that are written in this manner and I find it confusing and distracting. The author, Julianna Baggott makes the transition between characters seamless. Overall, it is a beautifully written novel. ( I didn't have the urge to grab my red pen and correct grammar and sentence structure once!)

This is a world where the people of influence, power and wealth have isolated them selves from the rest of the population. Instead of a gated community and exclusive country club, they built a self contained Dome and plotted to destroy the rest of the population. They are the "Pures". Hitler and his Aryan race come to mind about now. This political undertone continues to be just barely submerged beneath the surface of the plot.

The bombs are detonated. The people outside the dome suffer but continue to survive in their damaged world. Instead of the genetic experiments and concentration camps of the Holocaust, the detonations were engineered to destroy and create genetic mutations. People fused with whatever objects they happened to be near at the time. The results are so bizarre and deeply disturbing that it adds a surreal feeling to the book, an almost "nightmarish" feeling of horror that persists throughout the book. This is where the book begins.

These mutated characters are fascinating, yet repulsive. Pressia is the "heroine" of this tale, but as I mentioned above, is not your typical heroine. She has mutations like all of the others, but I found hers to be particularly freakish. Despite this, Pressia is resilient and resourceful. She evolves as the book progresses and becomes stronger even though she is discovering some horrific facts about her life pre-detonation.

Not a lot of action takes place in beginning chapters. But the author uses this part of the book to vividly describes the world and it's inhabitants. The pace of the book picks up in the second half of the story. The first half didn't drag, but there was a tremendous amount of world building and detailed description needed to set the tone of this world. It is worth the wait.


When I read the first book of a series, I try to treat it as a prologue to the rest of the series. There will be unanswered questions and parts of the plot that are not resolved. I have to remind myself of this as I get near the end of the book and everything is not neatly resolved. (back to the love-hate thing...) But, I am ready for more! I need to know what happens!

As dark as this story is, I didn't find it depressing. At the end you are left with a little glimmer of hope for the main characters and their world.

P.S. The book cover art is beautiful and intriguing!


Thanks to Netgalley and the author for allowing me the opportunity to read and provide an honest review this book.
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