Trudi's Reviews > Pure

Pure by Julianna Baggott
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's review
Feb 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: apocalyptic-types, dystopia, science-fiction, love-the-premise, 2012, kick-ass-heroines, series
Read from March 15 to 18, 2012

This book is dark. It is disturbing. It is ruthless in places and feels dangerous in others. Despite the fact that Pure has been released by its publisher as Adult fiction, it has been quickly embraced as YA. Though I feel as such, it should maybe come with some sort of disclaimer. Fans of popularized YA dystopias choosing Pure for the same satisfying adrenaline injection packaged in a safe, sanitized story with a sweet romantic subplot are likely going to be put off (even repulsed) over what they encounter here. Furthermore, the conscientious detail in the world-building will seem heavy-handed to readers seeking a fast-moving thrill ride. Pure does not give up its secrets easily or all at once. Not all loose ends are tied up, not all questions are answered. There’s enough juiciness and potential left over for the sequel. At least this is my hope – because I’m hooked now and want to know everything.

There is such heartrending beauty in Baggott’s vivid descriptions of Earth’s utter destruction and the devastating deformities of the survivors. I will never think of the word “fusion” the same way again. At the height of the Cold War, an entire generation of people lived with the mind-numbing fear of nuclear annihilation. It’s a fear that’s largely left us now, though I’m hard pressed to think why; the weapons still exist and there are still enough crazy mofos out there, in charge or gone rogue, to make use of them if they so choose. Even the most cursory research into the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will chill the blood and horrify the mind. This is what we are capable of doing to one another. To think that it can’t or won’t ever happen again is wishful thinking I figure of the most deluded kind. But I am grateful we've stopped crouching under desks and building bomb shelters in our spare time. That shit just ain't healthy, you know?

Pressia is a survivor of the Detonations – a global nuclear holocaust that has left her and every other survivor with a diversity of glaring malformations and “fusions”. When the blasts came, they were so strong, the light so bright, humans fused with whatever material closest to them at the time of the explosion, whether it be inanimate, human or animal. Pressia, a child at the time, held her favorite doll and now carries the mark of that day in her doll’s head hand. Such external deformities are a physical manifestation of the pain and loss carried by all survivors, whose souls have surely been burned and scarred just as severely as their bodies.

There are other survivors of the Detonations however – Pures – who have been safely harbored in the Dome. These are the select privileged, protected, their skin perfect. But the Dome has its secrets too, and while the wretches outside the Dome have been busy surviving, those inside the Dome have been watching, and waiting, with a plan of their own.

This was a convincing world to me that left me wanting to know more about everything. The characters are strong and there without coming across as overly sentimental. It takes a while to get to know them, and it takes even longer to warm up to them and start to care. I really enjoyed that slow build. In no way could Pure be labeled a shocking or controversial novel; however, there were several scenes that jolted me, and if you can surprise me in that way where I flinch or my mouth gapes open, I figure you are doing something right. This book has been called "cinematic" and it is a very visual novel (I'm also not surprised to find out that Hollywood has already come a-courting). Parts of the Dustlands and Meltlands even reminded me of Stephen King's Dark Tower landscape (and that is high praise indeed).

What more can I say? If you are looking for a meatier dystopian read with teeth then this is the book for you.
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Comments (showing 1-8)

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message 8: by Arah-Lynda (new)

Arah-Lynda Beautiful cover

message 7: by Megs ♥ (new) - added it

Megs ♥ The synopsis of this book didn't really make me want to read it, but many of my friends that I trust are rating this one pretty high. I'm going to read it. Thanks for the great review, Trudi!

Trudi Thanks Meg♥! I'll be really interested to see what you think of it. I think reviews are going to be really split on this one.

message 5: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Smith this sounds like a really intense read but well worth the effort! Great review! It's going on my TBR list!

Trudi Awesome Sue! I hope you will like it!

message 3: by Jessi (new) - added it

Jessi Excellent review!

Trudi Thanks Jessi!

message 1: by Obi (new) - added it

Obi Alrighty then. Seems pretty good. I think I'll try it.

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