Oct 02, 12
Read from September 21 to 22, 2012
Breathing: Something you do every minute of every day without thinking. That is until "The Switch".
The Earth's atmosphere has been damaged by deforestation and overpopulation, depleting most of the oxygen levels. The government came up with a solution. With the help of the Breathe corporation they created these Pod's where the air is breathable and clean, but at what cost? Oxygen tanks become a sign of the wealthy. The less fortunate can't afford the exorbitant prices and have to learn to control how much oxygen they take in.
Set in the future and told from 3 perspectives, Breathe starts out as your typical YA dystopian novel. Quinn has lived his life with a silver spoon in his mouth. He doesn't truly grasp his power over those who aren't born in the wealthy class. Quinn very much lives his life through rose-colored lenses. He is easily distracted by his infatuation for a very attractive Resistance member. Bea has always known that her life wasn't easy. She has to work every day to make sure she has the oxygen to stay alive. It's a struggle and she often finds herself being supported by her best friend Quinn. Now, if only he would pay attention to more than her well being. Alina is a member of the Resistance. She's always looking out for herself and doesn't tend to make friends along the way. On top of trying to undermine the government and staying alive, she finds herself stuck with two very naive runaways.
I must say, that I expected to like this one more than I did in the end. It has the fascinating premise, in a dystopian world with multiple point of views that I usually am a huge fan of. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me in Breathe. The characters didn't stand out enough and with the multiple pov's, which happened very quickly and frequently, it became difficult to distinguish which 'voice' I was reading.
In the end I didn't end up liking any of the characters. Quinn was too stereotypical and blatantly oblivious to his surroundings. I didn't care for him as a character. Bea I found to be too whiny with very little spine. I really wanted to like her but she just felt too contrived. Alina is who I thought I would connect to the most but we never truly get to know her. For the majority we only get to a frigid response from her so she doesn't leave a lasting impression. She was supposed to be feisty and driven but to me she was mediocre at that.
I tend to be really nit picky when it comes to the science of a novel. With Breathe, I found myself needing more specifics about The Switch and most importantly how the people outside of the pod survive on 6% oxygen. Since it lacked in both it led to inconsistencies within the plot. The lack of research really did stick out and led to many distractions while reading the book.
I've pointed out many criticisms I had with Breathe, but I didn't hate it. Science aside, the world building was done very well. I got a clear image of the world and how the oxygen tanks would fit into everyday wear. The action in Breathe kept the tension throughout so the pacing never bogged down. Many people will enjoy this dystopian novel. Most will even like the characters. If you're a fan of this genre, give it a try. Just because I was left underwhelmed doesn't mean you will feel the same.