Gilly's Reviews > Breathe

Breathe by Sarah Crossan
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's review
Oct 17, 2012

bookshelves: first-reads

Breathe is the first book in a while that I have just not been able to finish. I’ve pretty clearly established for myself that I am not a fan of dystopians. Of course, the statement “I don’t generally like” is made for exceptions, so I keep trying. Unfortunately, Breathe was no exception. I only made it through about 150 pages of this one before I couldn’t keep going.

So, in fairness, this is a partial review and there are plenty of positive reviews out there. Take it for what it’s worth.

In the main, the story did not feel original. We’ve all read the bare bones structure a million times now – oppressive government with shady secrets, rebels who know the truth, kids reluctant to become rebels but with important parts to play in the rebellion. But this one is particularly – familiar. Seen the Lorax movie? I happened to watch it a couple weekends ago and reading Breathe felt like a less colorful version. There’s an environmental dystopia created by some “accident” that depleted the world of oxygen. And a government and wealthy class that made their fortune by producing oxygen for those who can afford it. And mandatory weekly vaccines to prevent diseases no one ever seems to contract . . . see where I’m going with this? I don’t know the plot twist since I didn’t read far enough, but I’ve got a pretty solid guess.

There were also a number of world building inconsistencies that disturbed my reading experience. For example, what knowledge has survived. Characters need to have the concept of a bus and a bus stop explained to them, even though their pod has trams? But they know what subways are? What old fashioned barber shops look like? No one can survive outside a pod. Oh, except the Drifters. And the rebels. I don’t know – I just didn’t get how the world was supposed to work. I also could not connect with the characters who vacillated between wooden and whiny. Also, for the record, the Pod Minister's name is . . . Cain Knavery. No, really.

This debut wasn’t for me. I recommend it to hardcore fans of dystopia jonesing for a fix before some sequel comes out.

Review copy received via Southern Book Bloggers ARC tour


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