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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,245 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
September 2, 2018
pure makes the 100 notable books list, even though it is a pretty perfunctory list this year. but this one's inclusion was a pleasant surprise.

Before the Detonations, there were many survivalists living off the grid in those woods. One neighbor, an old man who'd been in a war or two, taught El Capitan how to hide his guns and ammo. El Capitan did everything Old Man Zander told him to. He bought 40 PVC pipe with end caps, six inches in diameter, and some PVC solvent. He and Helmud disassembled their rifles in their house one afternoon in late winter. El Capitan remembers the driving sleet, the sound of it ticking against the windows. The two brothers rubbed the gun parts down with anti-rust oil, which gave the guns and their hands a waxy sheen. Helmud had gotten hold of the aluminized Mylar bag, cut it into smaller pieces, and wrapped the barreled actions, stocks, trigger assemblies, hand guards, magazines, scopes, mounts, and several thousand rounds of .223 along with silica gel desiccant packets...They packed six small cans of 1,1,1-trichloroethane to degrease it later, plus cleaning rods, patches, Hoppe's No. 9 Solvent, gun oil, grease, a set of reloading dies, and a well-worn owner's manual. Then they wrapped it all in duct tape.

...i'm sorry - is this book really written by the same person that wrote


i have not read the pink book, but i doubt it reads like this one, and this one just seemed more up my alley. and boy, was it ever.

so what we have here are scorched-earth survivors vs. the dome. dome-people are safe and pure and protected and lovely, while those caught outside the dome after the capital-d detonations are terrifically altered. people are fused to objects: a doll where a hand once was, a fan in a throat, glass and metal embedded and become part of skin. others are fused to other people, or animals, trees, the ground itself.

and still they survive.
and it is beyond bleak.

the story is a split-POV between some pures and some "wretches," and involves a dome breakout, a search for lost family, some exploding heads, some detective work, and a school dance.

it is a whole lotta fun.

there are some weak sections; i do not fully understand the OSR; a military group that snatches people outside the dome away when they turn 16 to be drafted into their ranks. but wouldn't that mean that everyone over that age should be part of the military? but there are still plenty of people trading and doing jobs other than being military, so i probably just missed something along the way because i was pretty feverish while reading this and there is a lot of detail and i kind of got carried away by the more fantastic imagery and may have dropped a detail or two that didn't involve doll-hands and the general wave of mutilation.

and there are other moments like these where there is some muddling, but i am not sure if that can be blamed on the book or on this reader's surely-fatal illness.

i am not sure if this would be a successful crossover read into the YA audience. as someone who reads a lot of YA dystopian fiction, this one differs greatly from the YA norm in both its pacing and its lack of romantic subplots. YA dystopian fiction is the fastest-paced stuff on earth. so much so that frequently, there is no time spent on minor details, and in the worst of the bunch, major details such as how and why things came to get so bad. but you can tell just from the paragraph i quoted up top that this goes into quite a lot of detail, and the writing is way more deliberate than most YA fare. i like the YA stuff because it is instant gratification. this one takes its time filling in the gaps and slowly unspinning its yarn. i thought it was great, but if a reader goes into it expecting it to be the same tone as a YA novel, they are probably going to be disappointed.

plus, it is way brutal.

and there are some romantic elements here, but just barely. look for your love elsewhere.come here for your stubborn humanity.

i was not satisfied by the ending,fever or no, so this is only getting four stars, but i am very excited to read the next one.bring it on, lady!

(koff. and pity me)


okay, so i am just starting this now, but i have a question: a lot of people have this on virtual YA shelves. is this being marketed as a YA book? because BN has it in general adult fiction and the rest of her books are all general adult fiction, so i am confused.not that it matters, ultimately, but i do tend to read YA books with a different set of expectations than adult fiction.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
March 30, 2012

3 generous stars for excellent world-building and interesting ideas but no more because of the novel's density and lack of actual plot.

When I recieved this ARC, I immediately discovered some very interesting facts from the back of the book. This is taken directly from the back cover:

• Won by GCP during a heated two-day auction
• International language rights sold overnight in nine countries
• Film rights sold to Fox 2000 Pictures with Karen Rosenfelt, lead producer of the Twilight saga

You'd think this must be something pretty special, right? Well, yeah. I can see this making a really good film with lots of CGI opportunities and action scenes... but as a novel it was dull. The author definitely spent a lot of time on this dystopia and it wasn't a simple I-didn't-think-this-through idea like, say, Wither. But the novel contained too many lenghty scientific explanations and often went off on random tangents in order to create some small and unnecessary subplots that almost sent me to sleep.

The idea that the author has had could potentially have made a great story. Set in a dystopian future, those who live inside the Dome are guarded by strict rules and regulations, Partridge longs to escape and find out the truth about the world they all left behind. Outside the Dome, Pressia lives in constant fear of attack from all the deranged mutants that were created by the detonations from years ago. This story is about lies and radiation, friendships and conspiracies... but the real question that Pure seeks to ask is: what is more important: safety or freedom?

It could have been fantastic. It should have been fantastic.

But, like Feed, it was filled with crap that bored me. There were long conversations about war and atomic bombs that were snore-worthy, rather than insightful and eye-opening. A lot of characters were brought in that didn't add anything to the story but served only to make it more confusing, and it also kept switching to a random new perspective. There were the two main POVs: Pressia and Partridge, but then every so often it would switch to someone else for a chapter and it simply wasn't needed.

Plus, I would also like to add that the only thing young adult about this book was the characters' ages. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the younger end of the YA genre didn't have a clue what was going on, especially in the beginning - it's mind-boggling! So, like I said, this is the kind of novel that I can see making an excellent film but the author's writing style made my head hurt so I'm not sure I'll be continuing with the series.
Profile Image for Christopher Moore.
Author 85 books90.1k followers
December 5, 2014
Pure was a nice surprise and a great break from the current trend of dystopian societies that have been portrayed lately in YA literature. The post-nuked world that Baggott describes outside of the dome city is bizarre and dark, rick, and surreal, with people fused with objects they were near when the bombs went off. The result is on of the most imaginative and, at times, disturbing cast of characters I've encountered since China Mieville's early novels.

I'm sure others will summarize the action better than I can, but if you want to immerse yourself in a rich, dark world with characters who are making difficult decisions, Pure is great way to spend your time. I play to read the rest of the series.

Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
November 23, 2011
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .

When I was a teenager I uncovered a photo album in my grandparent’s house, tucked into the back of a cabinet, dusty and long neglected under stacks of hoarded papers. The album was full of pictures taken in Japan, where my grandfather had been stationed after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII. It was like looking at stills from a black and white horror film – destruction on a scale I had never seen before, fragments of the devastation captured on paper and stuck into a book. Prior to this, I had known nothing of this part of his life. It was verboten within the family. And turning those yellow pages, I think I began to understand in a very small way part of why he wanted to silence and forget this time of suffering - both for those who were lost and those who survived. But I doubt he ever will, or even can.

I mention this because of a statement Julianna Baggott makes in the acknowledgements of Pure around her research, which took in accounts of the atomic bombings and their effects. It’s a sentiment with which I think her character Bradwell would concur: there are horrors we cannot afford to forget.

While much of Pure reads like it was spilled from the darkest corners of subconsciousness into a grotesque and unsettling nightmare world, elements of this story are firmly anchored in our own reality, the shadowed parts of our history. Beneath the richly realised post-apocalyptic setting, this is a thematically resonant, futuristic story that echoes our not too distant past.

“Dome fiction” is not certainly not a new concept and Pure does not attempt to revolutionise the premise of a select few living in cloistered privilege while the outside world ekes out a life exposed to the (usually hellish) elements. What Pure does do is construct a uniquely disturbing and sinister world, almost dream-like in its surreal elements, maintaining a sense of unease as the reader plunges deeper into the story.

There is an atmosphere to this book unlike any I’ve read before: the familiar and the frightening are crushed together into a bizarre symbiosis. The people of this world are similarly affected: horrifically burned, scarred and fused with objects both animate and inanimate, some forced together with other people into irreversible codependence, some enmeshed with animals beyond identification. After the cataclysmic Detonations, the world is startlingly foreign, yet also vaguely recognizable in places. The pervasive, unsettling tone that results is one of Pure’s strongest points, in my opinion.

The plot of Pure revolves around two of the central characters, Pressia – a “wretch” with a doll’s head for a hand, and Patridge – a “Pure” from an influential dome family, coming into contact with each other and the repercussions for their vastly different lives. Raised on opposite sides of the dome, their understanding of their own worlds are challenged, and neither will remain unchanged.

Pure is (another) multiple viewpoint book, the perspective shuffling through four different third-person vantage points. Honestly, I do not love multiple viewpoint books. I generally find the shifts cumbersome, not always adding much in the way of tone or texture to the story. However, I make an exception here, because while I still was not completely taken with the number of viewpoint characters, I didn’t find it detracted from the story being told. I felt invested in all of the characters, so I didn’t mind when a different person took up the narrative.

What makes a “tough” heroine has been discussed at length elsewhere, but as I read Pure I was struck by how Pressia’s strength was developed and expressed. While not physically imposing, athletically gifted, or particularly bold, Pressia’s tenacity in the face of fear and personal doubts were rather moving. My investment in Pressia grew steadily as I read, and I found myself afraid for her, proud of her, even tearing up for her.

While it developed more slowly, I found myself similarly attached to Bradwell. Initially, he was a character I found remote, even slightly repellent. By the end, I felt oddly concerned and fiercely protective over this blunt young man and what he represented.

I feel that Pure’s largest weakness lay in the occasional over-neatness of the plot. There are a few too many instances of characters who happen to be in just the right place, who conveniently show up in the nick of time, who land in exactly the right spot, who know exactly what to do and where to go. Some segments of the story dovetail a little too neatly to be entirely believable, and the difficulties one would reasonably expect to arise are occasionally glossed over to progress the story.

In a similar vein, there are a couple of scenes that read awkwardly to me, given the physical condition of the characters. It was distracting at times when the actions they were described taking seemed at odds with what they appeared to be capable off.

Some readers may also have issues with the lack of detailing around the dome itself – how it functions and came into existence. I can’t say that this was a problem for me as I read, but I can understand that some may desire more solid grounding of the world, where I was satisfied with the resultant atmosphere.

Pure is an unusual book – at times the characters keep themselves distant from the reader, at times they are touchingly real. The events are by turns disturbing, bizarre and sad. The concepts are complex and twisted. It won’t be to everyone taste.

However, it’s these elements that I loved about this story. Highly evocative and beautifully strange, there is an underlying note of relevance that I was drawn to, a depth to the fractured world Baggott has created that I found intriguing. There are parallels to be found in Pure that speak of past tragedies and frighteningly credible future possibilities - things that we can't afford to forget.

It’s a troubling, curious and ambitious book – and I was entirely transported.

A review copy was provided by the publishers via NetGalley
Profile Image for Eve Davids.
Author 6 books37 followers
December 9, 2011
Some books try too much. Pure is that book. It tries to be chilling and gritty and blah blah. It's just plain weird. On the ARC there is some publisher heavy weight telling you this is going to be the next Hunger Games. Yeah. Choke me.
(Read the comment session for more ....)

This book wont really appeal to teens, for several reasons I cant be bothered to list. The science in it, is called fantasy.

The good part? The main character isnt too bad. The girl. The boys are sort of meh. And the writing is pretty decent.

Borrow it, or at least read a sample first. Because my guess is that you are going to have a hard time getting past the first 100 pages.

Oh, and she decided to criticize my review of her book.
I said in an earlier draft of this review that the book wasnt as good as the publisher thought it was. Of course, I said that! After opening a book and reading blurbs from publisher heavy weights telling me the book is going to change my life, that 2008 was the year of Katniss, but 2012 will be the year of Pressia. I'm sorry, you've just raised my expectations very high! And when I read it and see it isnt even changing my tiny toe, then yes I'm going to say it isnt as good as the publisher thinks it is!

Haha. She has so much to learn.
Authors stop criticizing everyone that doesnt write the kind of review about your book that you like!!! It's called a review for a reason!
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,922 followers
February 19, 2012
Pure was deliciously dark and twisted, but to me, it just wasn’t good enough.

Three women step out – all fused – a tangle of cloth hiding their engorged middle. Parts of each face seem to be shiny and stiff as if fused with plastic. Groupies, that’s what they’re called. One of the women has sloped shoulders, a curved spine. There are many arms, some pale and freckled, the others dark.

It took me about 120 pages to really get into this book – much more than it should have, of course. I always struggle with dystopias at first, but it’s usually for two or three chapters, not more than that. The beginning was very slow, and although I understand the need to build the atmosphere, especially in a book whose main goal seems to be to shock and repulse, I felt that it should have been done gradually, or at least differently. As much as I appreciated (though not enjoyed) the descriptions of people fused with objects or other people, I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s all I would ever get. Fortunately, things started moving just a little faster after those 120 pages, but Baggott still kept pressing the “pause” button on her action scenes in order to describe every little thing her characters came across. Everyone who knows me at least a little bit knows that I’m a big fan of descriptive writing when it serves to evoke a wide palette of emotion. My problem with Pure was that it aimed to evoke only one - disgust. After a hundred pages or so, it became extremely tiresome.

The story is told from multiple points of view. Oddly enough, the one I preferred, the one I could easily identify with, was neither Pressia nor Partridge, it was Lyda, the girl Partridge sort of liked, but mostly just used to get out of the Dome. I eventually started liking Partridge too, even though that took a while, but Pressia never really came alive for me. I still have no idea who she really is and how I’m supposed to feel about her. I would have loved to know more about the creatures she made to trade them on the market, but the one thing I wanted described in detail was just mentioned once or twice in passing.

As far as I’m concerned, the most important thing in a dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel isn’t the romance, the action, or even the writing – it’s social structure. You can be the most skilled writer on the planet, but if your society isn’t convincing enough, you will lose my interest before you can say ‘write a better book’. For me, this is where Baggott failed the most- I wanted to know more – more about the government on both sides (but more outside the Dome), about how it all came to be, and especially about the day when the world went to hell in a handbasket. I want to know how Partridge’s father became the most important person in the world, the only real decision maker. Where were the old governments? Who exactly pulled the strings ever since Partridge’s parents were young? Instead of focusing on endless descriptions of Groupies and Dusts, I would have liked to see at least some of those questions answered. Unfortunately, the little information I was offered wasn’t nearly believable enough.

That doesn’t mean that Pure was all bad. There were things I liked a lot, especially the fact that it managed to surprise me a few times. In a genre where predictability is accepted and even expected, Baggott somehow included quite a few twists and turns that I never saw coming.
I think I would have liked Pure more if it were about a hundred pages shorter. It had its moments and I believe I will read book 2 when it comes out, but unfortunately, this one left a lot to be desired.

Favorite quote:
She glances back before stepping into the alley, and she catches her grandfather looking at her the way he does sometimes – as if she’s already gone, as if he’s practicing sorrow.

For this review and more, please visit The Nocturnal Library
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,456 followers
March 20, 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.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,355 followers
February 7, 2012
A doll-face for a hand! Babies protruding from necks! Do I have your attention yet? Ok, this book is harsh! The world is one of THE most disturbing dystopian world I've ever read. It's cruel, it's very bizarre, and it's strangely fascinating. Some things are definitely hard to swallow, but a merciless world such as this - that is built with excellence, might I add- makes for a spine-chilling read that you will not soon forget!

Pressia lives in the aftermath of an atomic bomb that almost destroyed the planet. However, when this bomb erupted, it fused people with objects, earth or other beings. A doll-face for a hand as her biggest fusion, Pressia came out pretty lucky. I enjoyed Pressia as our protagonist. She's brave and has a good sense of loyalty - to her friends, to her kind, to humanity. She's not the only character we get to know as there are multiple perspectives visited during the story. Pressia and Partridge are the most common. Partridge, a character from the Dome where humans survived the bomb unscathed, escapes it to try to find his mother. He has never seen anything other than civility, or even normality, in the dome, so getting to see him take in this brutal world is terribly interesting. In addition to these two, we've got a few less visited POVs from characters that we meet throughout the book; some good, some evil, for an overall eccentric mix.

With the world building that is clearly well researched as well as grotesquely imaginative, the multiple perspectives help even more in showing us this world thoroughly. We see enough point-of-views to know what's happening in every corner; we get the big picture! The novel can seem overly descriptive at times, the pace can also drag a bit in the middle, but I can't say I was ever bored. If you're a fan of darker dystopians, Pure is one that will stick with you, make you think, and appreciate what we have!

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Penny.
215 reviews1,367 followers
August 28, 2016
Wow. I don't even...

I mean, there's just so much to...

I don't even know where to begin, seriously.

I guess I'll just start by saying this book is so...gross. That's it, this book is gross. And frightening. It's everything Anna Dressed in Blood wishes it was—disgusting and terrifying. I mean, homicidal ghosts? Pshh. That's child's play. But post-apocalyptic life with all the food shortages, diseases, no order, no normalcy, mutants—like really nasty looking mutant-y mutants—and horrible ways to die around every corner? Now that's what I call pants-peeing, nightmare-inducing, huddle-in-corner-crying-out-for-your-momma scary. As far as I'm concerned that's not a bad thing.

Funny thing is, this cover did not in any way prepare me for the demented, never-ending county fair Fun House I entered. I mean, it looks so innocent, doesn't it? All pretty-like with a sophisticated font and gorgeous sapphire-blue butterfly. It looks like a fairly tame book about something fresh and...pure, am I right? Probably something about Soul Mates and rainbows and unicorns. You know, the sort of cutesy idealized thing that typically makes me want to chuck a book across a room.

But it's so not the sort of book I'd end up throwing at a wall.

(I figured out there is a reason for that, by the way, the whole innocent-looking-on-the-outside-but-jacked-up-on-the-inside thing this book has going for it, but that's not something I'm going to discuss right now.)

I want to give Pure more stars because, story-wise, it is pretty enjoyable, for the most part. And the gross-out factor is off the charts aaaaa-mazing, same goes for the scare factor. But did Julianna Baggott write a five-star worthy read? Not so much. I mean, sure, when it comes to recent YA genre dystopias/post-apocalyptic books Pure is sort of up there with The Hunger Games and Ship Breaker, beating out all of the other competition.

But...truthfully? I wasn't so wholly invested that I was able to overlook all the sciencefail! and believabilityfail! And it's not like I'm one of those people who find it difficult to suspend disbelief. I read plenty of books with ridiculous and often impossible story lines and I'm able to believe those just fine. It's just, for whatever reason, there was much that didn't work for me because the author didn't sell it correctly, or whatever.

For example there is this one character that somehow knows everything about everything, even taught himself how to read Japanese. Keep in mind said character raised himself in a post-apocalyptic hellhole from the time he was nine years old. I mean, come on! The world as we know it has ended, death and destruction and scary mutants are everywhere. And you want me to believe some little kid who is taking care of himself is like "Gee, I sure miss everything. I think I'll teach myself how to read Japanese because it might actually come in handy some day. You know, since Japanese, above all other languages, is the one I'm most-likely going to need to know how to read." No! I don't buy it. Orphan boy be learning how to fend for himself in a cruel every-mutant-for-himself world, not teaching himself how to read Japanese OR study nanotechnology in-depth.

And at no point during this book does the reader learn how our world got from how things are currently to some crazy-go-nuts über-religious society that shuns modern feminism in favor of some brand of not-feminist feminism and eventually blows itself to high hell. This bugs me.

If I were to be completely honest, for whatever reason I couldn't stop thinking about one of my favorite children's books of all time while I was reading Pure. It's called Everyone is Different written by Strong Bad. If you don't know what book I'm talking about go read it, I'll wait right here.

Are you done? Great book, right?

Anyway, Pure is pretty much the same as Everyone is Different. I mean, you know, basically. Maybe there isn't any squirrel-handedness going on in Pure but there sure is a lot of doll-head-handedness and bird-backedness going on. Instead of characters being fangoriously devoured by a gelatinous beast there's a lot of characters being fangoriously devoured by dust-beasts and other such mutants. There are weird names, like Partridge and Pressia and El Capitan. Some characters are tall and merciless. Some characters are about to be hit by cars, and other characters who have rigged the "enemy base" with explosives. There may even be a point in which no two characters are NOT on fire.

I wish I could give this book four or five stars, but I can't. That said, I still do like it and I'm going to recommend it to anyone looking for a disgusting post-apocalyptic read. Three stars.

Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
737 reviews1,264 followers
July 21, 2022
Check out my Booktube channel at: The Obsessive Bookseller

2022 Reread (to continue the series): Updated Review: [3.5/5 stars]

Sick of typical YA Dystopia but still love those types of stories? I have a recommend for you…

According to Barnes and Noble shelving standards, this series is actually categorized in the adult fiction section rather than YA (this is the publisher’s call) most definitely because it’s much edgier than your typical post-apocalyptic story involving mostly teen POVs. There are a lot of gritty, visceral things that happen in this book. To the point where I had a hard time with it the first time I read it (this review is the product of a reread to continue the series), but I’ve grown a lot as a reader since then and was better prepared to handle it (it helps that I knew to brace for impact lol).

I’ve been consuming a lot of Grimdark novels over the last few years, and while I wouldn’t categorize Pure in that genre, it would help to have the stomach for that type of gritty, dark storytelling before diving in.

Worth noting: this book is weird.

Mostly within the story components. Fallout from mass weapon distruction has caused humans to become fused to whatever they were touching or near when the blasts hit. Which leaves some freaking odd results. Almost, almost to the point of hokey, but it just manages to pull it off with a serious edge. My advice: just go with it.

Overall, there are a lot of moving parts in this first book hinting at some deeper complexity I’m hopeful we’ll get to explore in future novels. Having read this one already but never initially making time to get back to it, my mind has lingered with the plot in a way that’s compelling me to start again to finally see what’s really going on in this world. I hope the eventual payoff is worth the effort.

My only criticism is a couple of too-convenient moments where the characters suddenly had the perfect answers without buildup or context. But as I was already in the “just go with it” mindset, I took it in stride… but it was still annoying.

Recommendations: for YA Dystopian readers who want something off the beaten path and significantly more mature than the norm.

Thank you to my Patrons: Filipe, Dave, Frank, Sonja, Staci, Kat, and Katrin! <3

Other books you might like:
Hunter (Hunter, #1) by Mercedes Lackey Partials (Partials Sequence, #1) by Dan Wells The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1) by N.K. Jemisin Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1) by Veronica Rossi

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at

2013 Review: Via Book Reviews by Niki Hawkes at

World-Building: the world building was actually pretty creative. Baggott essentially re-created the parameters for our world and, as a result, had to come up with new rules for how people were forced to interact with one another and the unforgiving environment around them. Her evolution of the world was raw, gritty, and filled with the unexpected. She essentially changed the biological aspects by which people are composed and backed it up with some feasible science – I love it when authors do that.

Character: There are multiple viewpoint characters in this book. I’ve mentioned before that the only way for many viewpoints to work for me is if they are each contributing towards the story’s progression. Every scene where we switch perspectives must add something to the overall arc of the story. It was handled quite well in this case, and I liked how each scene gave us a little more information about what was going on.

Story: The basic storyline was a major strength for me, mostly because it included what I’m going to call a “rose-petal” plot. Important things were revealed in layers (which is normally called a layered or “onion” plot) which is not an uncommon tool, but in this case the layers were pulled back quite delicately, little by little – no onion around here. I liked how subtle it was, I liked how there was no false tension or people withholding information, and I genuinely enjoyed discovering what was going on with the characters. I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve seen writing tool used this well.

Writing: I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book written in third person present tense before. I found it a bit odd, to be honest. The voice didn’t blend into the background like most third person perspectives do (which was a bit distracting on occasion), but it also lacked the emotional involvement I usually feel with present tense writing. It’s almost as if combining these two writing styles negates all the benefits that, in theory, they should be enhancing. I think this was the main reason why I felt rather impartial to the characters through most of the story and couldn’t help but wonder how much more of an impact it would have had had she chosen a different style.

That’s not to say her writing was weak. She had many passages of beautiful and often gut-wrenching description. Her writing set a very distinct tone for the story, showcased some truly beautiful imagery, showed us what’s important to the characters without rubbing our noses in it, and wowed me with her ability to pull back the layers of the plot so delicately. I would love the chance to appreciate her voice in another format.

Pacing: Pacing was really difficult for me to discern in this book – and I think it had something to do with the odd writing style choice. It kept me so impartial that I couldn’t really feel the highs and lows that normally come from adventure, danger, wonder, and romance. It kept me at a distance to the point where everything sort of flat-lined for most of the book. Logically, I could see were things sped up and slowed down, but I couldn’t feel it. And that’s a problem.

Marketing: this book is officially categorized in the adult fiction section of the bookstore I work at. As fiction is not my usual forte, I might have overlooked this one entirely if I hadn’t stumbled upon the second book while doing research for my “upcoming releases” feature. All I have to say is, thank goodness for catchy covers.

The storyline initially sounded like a typical teen dystopian novel, So as I read I tried to keep an eye out for anything that would explain why it wasn’t marketed as a teen book. At first, I thought perhaps maybe it was going to be too violent – but then I considered how much more violent it can get than children slaughtering each other in an arena for the amusement of the Capitol. Then, I thought maybe the story was too gritty and frightening – but then I considered how much more disturbing and intense things got while reading about an alien invasion in a series of five waves. Okay then, maybe it has to do with language – but then I remembered a sarcastic, blue haired girl from an upcoming sequel of a teen dystopian (about, ironically, genetically mutated teens) dropping the F-bomb every couple of pages, and I know that’s out.

Everything I thought might have at one point made publishers wary of introducing to a teen audience turned out to be unfounded. My point? Perhaps this one should of been marketed differently to better reach its ideal demographic – teens. Besides, we all know us “adults” are devouring more of these books then actual teens, anyway.

Recommendations: While not my favorite dystopian on the market, it definitely was an enjoyable addition to the genre. I don’t see any reason why (older) teens can pick this one up but would probably recommend it to those who prefer “action” dystopians like Hunger Games and the Fifth Wave over “romance” dystopian’s like Matched and Delirium.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,954 reviews1,293 followers
August 14, 2012
So what if someone set us up the bomb, or several bombs, and instead of nuclear winter and all the survivors dying of cancer, they got fused to each other and bits of glass and animals and broken doll heads? Pure is a horror story about atomic detonations gone wrong. Yeah—if that isn’t a terrifying thought, I don’t know what is. Julianna Baggott postulates a post-apocalyptic world that is the fevered vision of a madman in a dome. And that’s where it all starts falling apart.

I’m so over dystopian fiction. On to the next semi-fantasy book bubble, please. Can we go back to vampires or something?

I don’t have anything against (u/dys)topian fiction, mind you. Done well, it illuminates darker aspects of society—the same aspects that often enough act to organize and drive the progress on which we survive—and the dangers of not standing up, speaking out, and acting for change. From Brave New World to The Handmaid’s Tale, dystopian fiction reminds us that the quest for a perfect world will always carry within it the seeds for that corrupted ideal of perfection, the dream hijacked in the name of personal power and “the greater good”.

I was also intrigued when Baggott deigned to explain the genesis behind her new world order. Most authors eschew this part of the narrative, and while I understand the allegorical imperative, it still annoys the part of me that is interested in the events that transform us from now to then. That being said, I don’t think I would have enjoyed Pure any more if Baggott had remained close-lipped on that subject. For me, the bottom line with dystopian fiction is easy: your world has to make sense. Yours is not a good dystopia if I don’t think it’s very plausible.

I’ll ignore, for the moment, the suspension of disbelief required for atomic bombs to cause the transformations they do. Kids, if you’re reading Pure, take a moment: radiation doesn’t give you superpowers, nor does it fuse you to other objects. You just get cancer and die. This has been a public service announcement. Don’t play near reactors.

So the Dome and the Detonations are all part of a mad scientist’s master plan that also includes turning the 99% into an underclass of mutants who serve the 1% in a “New Eden”. Uh-huh. Because I know the first thing I’ll want when I live in a perfect society is ugly servants! Brilliant idea. Even if I did want that, I still wouldn’t fund this mad scientist’s proposal. How does he get the codes required to launch the nuclear arsenal? Or if he builds his own bombs, where does he find the fissile material? Baggott alludes to a government that has nationalized Christianity and the fact that Willux has “no oversight”, but I still don’t see how he could have fooled all these world governments. Someone would have learned about his plan and sent in Seal Team Six.

I’d like to say that the backstory is Pure’s biggest flaw, but I’ve only scratched the surface. I didn’t hate this book by any means, but I certainly feel let down by Baggott’s plotting. Beyond what’s a fairly good story about the quest to reunite a son with his mother, there’s nothing very interesting happening here. If the plot of Pure were a universe, then Ω would equal 1.

The world and story reminds me a lot of Bioshock: the various mutated creatures like Dusts and Groupies are the Splicers; the Good Mother and her band of ragtag fused mothers/children are some helpful Little Sisters. Pressia, Partridge, and Bradwell stumble through this world like video game characters controlled by an awkward, probably intoxicated college kid—and like a video game, Baggott feels the need to put up some invisible walls and show us only as much of the world as we need to see. Pure has a little bit of an economy cast issue going on (TVTropes). For instance, the OSR (Operation Sacred Revolution) is supposed to be this hegemonic, imposing government/militia that controls everything outside the Dome. Turns out it’s just one crazy guy and his abused wife. Huh.

It’s this kind of logic that makes Pure difficult to love, at least for me. There’s no question that Baggott is a skilled writer. I was reading this at a baseball game and gloated a little to my dad when Partridge and Pressia learned that they’re half-siblings. “It was so obvious!” I chortled. But it was obvious in a good way. Baggott foreshadowed it in a way that allowed me to figure it out, and that takes skill. Even if her characters make sense, though, her world and her plot don’t, and that’s what gives me pause.

If Pure arrived at a different time in this dystopian fiction bubble, I might have received it differently. But it’s about on par with Mockingjay , which was itself a weak and watered-down version of The Hunger Games . There’s nothing here we haven’t seen before, and seen done better, elsewhere. By all means, bring on more dystopian fiction. But make it plausible, make it good, and make it count. Or else I will check out and go find myself another Umberto Eco book.

Creative Commons BY-NC License
Profile Image for Aly (Fantasy4eva).
240 reviews122 followers
November 16, 2011
Rating: 3.5

This is a bit of a tricky book for me. Originally, I struggled with it, and I contemplated setting this one aside. I'm glad I went ahead with it anyway. It may have not really kicked in for me until the second half but I do think it was worth it.

The premise is truly frightening and the book can be disturbing at parts. You know, it's hardly gory or anything of the sort, but some of the things they have to go through and the way these innocent people have suffered is pretty traumatising.

When I think of Aribelle and Sedge and her granddad, I mean my heart just goes out to them. Of course everyone is a victim here but I think it was these three who touched me most. It's funny, how they seemed to reduce me nearly to tears although I hardly know them.

Each character holds their own in this novel. Sometimes, we are a little frustrated at lack of characterisation and then let it slide reminding ourselves that it's the first book in the series, surely we will get to know them more during the future instalments? This book shows that there should be no such excuse. There may be characters that you'd like to know a little more but that connection is there, there is enough depth to them to make you truly care.

If I had to pick two favourite characters, it would have to be El Capitan and Bradwell. Although El Captian is originally on a very different side, he shows real compassion towards a girl he hardly knows when he doesn't have to, when it goes against everything that he is a part of. How can you not admire that about a man? Also, I found it interesting how he dealt with his younger brother who is forever fused to him. Bradwell is a real swoon magnet. The funny thing is, he's not made out to be gorgeous or anything, but there's definitely something very attractive about him. A girl can admire a strong, brave man, right? It's so lovely how you watch as him and Pressia start to become more aware of each other. I absolutely love how the author really takes her time with these two. How Bradwell simply touching her hair, or embracing her could fill me with such warmth and happiness. Sometimes the subtle gestures can mean so much more. Lyda and Partridge kind of fell into the background whenever the other two were around. Unfortunately, for me, personally, they just didn't stand out as much.

Of course, let's not forget the cool moments. Once a few things were revealed I was pretty psyched! Ermm, can I just give Glassings a shout-out! He is so freaking awesome.

A part of me just can't help but wish that it was a standalone. It would have been so much more satisfying if they could have just fit it all in one book. Series tend me make me weary. Although I ended up liking the book and being glad that I continued reading it, it wasn't the most easy reading experience out there, and for that reason I can't guarantee that this will be for everyone. I'm not sure how I feel about reading the future books. I think that will have to be decided when it is time.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
May 31, 2015
This is going to sound mean, but it occurs to me that someone could make a ton of money if they wrote the following kind of series: in a dystopian world where pockets of humanity struggle to survive, clans of vampires and packs of werewolves come to humanity’s aid to band together against the zombie hordes, led by a tyrannical leader in a totalitarian state. Amidst the chaos, a young girl learns to become a woman, and finds love.

Certainly, the author would need to be talented, there would be edgy scenes too lurid for the movie rights destined to come, but legions of young readers would file wide eyed and stammering, cash and plastic in hand, to follow the latest series.

Somewhere, George Orwell is spinning in his grave. Aldous Huxley and Yevgeny Zamyatin don ghoulish cowls and head out into the night to exact literary revenge.

Hell, I’d read that. Neil Gaiman, you reading this?

But, alas, I do feel mean. Julianna Baggott is a talented writer, and she has done a good job with Pure … the first aaaaaaaaaaaaagghghghghghh!!!!!!! … in a series of books. She actually comes up with some interesting twists and makes some original additions to this genre. The dystopian imagery she uses reminds me of a cross between Escape from New York and Road Warrior. Baggott’s writing is also vaguely reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s in Dr. Bloodmoney and Deus Irae.

Did she sell out? Metallica’s famous rebuttal was “We sure did - every night.” I don’t know, but there is nothing wrong with a writer publishing a book that a lot of people will want to read and making some coin. Hey, Mickey Spillane! This Miller Lite is for you!

Profile Image for Meli.
628 reviews410 followers
October 26, 2017
Voy a empezar diciendo que este libro merece que se le preste más atención de la que se le está prestando, y que me resultó totalmente original y destructor. No hay otra palabra, destructor.

El mundo que creó Baggott, es uno de los más enfermizos, grotescos e increíbles que he visto. Las Detonaciones, bombas atómicas, que asotaron al mundo por razones que descubrirán si lo leen, no mataron a todos los que no estaban resguardados, no. Todo sobreviviente se fundió con algo, así que ninguno es 100% humano y es allí dónde radica la diferencia vital entre Puros... y no Puros.

Eso es lo que encontré más fascinate, personas que viven con motores por pechos, con pájaros incrustados en sus espaldas, bebés en sus brazos, ventiladores en sus gargantas, hermanos en sus espaldas. Además, todos han sufrido quemaduras y tienen miles de cicatrices, costuras y piezas de metal en reemplazo de partes perdidas. Es grotesco y espantoso, sin embargo despierta una suerte de fascinación morbosa que nos mantiene enganchados a ese mundo roto.

Read more:

Profile Image for Stacey.
550 reviews1,551 followers
August 28, 2016

Pure would win an award for one of the most imaginative post-apocalyptic worlds I’ve come across. At first, the characters are seemingly in a usual end-of-the-world situation: a cataclysmic event has caused everything to be destroyed; people are left with nothing – no food, no comfortable shelter, just injured bodies and loved ones who have died. But there’s a twist. A horrifying, brilliant twist. I really wish I could mention it in this review – and I was originally going to – but I think it’d ruin the experience of discovering what is strange about this seemingly typical, desolate world.

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or life Before. Now, before her sixteenth birthday, she has to get away. In her totalitarian society, people have to hand themselves in to the militia at the age of sixteen, where they’re then trained to be soldiers or used as live targets if they’re too injured to perform. Unexpectedly, she meets a Pure called Partridge. Pures are healthy people who live inside the protected Dome, among those who rule society. Somehow Partridge has escaped the safety of the Dome and is searching for someone outside…

Pure is brilliantly written. The story is interesting enough that the slow pace of the novel doesn’t let it down but actually enhances the experience, giving the reader time to comprehend the significance of every truth revealed. It also has host of fascinating characters, including our two protagonists Pressia and Partridge. I loved coming across every new character and trying to work out whether they were good or bad. But Pure‘s characters, like real people, do not neatly fit into one neat category. As demonstrated by the post-Detonations ‘I Remember’ game that those outside of the Dome play, each has their own story to tell. Pressia and Partridge go on a roller coaster of a journey finding out where they both belong in a world where the past is ignored, forgotten, denied.

I only had one issue with the book which is that it’s part of a trilogy. I was disappointed when I began to realise that I wasn’t going to be given the full story. Pure had the potential to be a brilliant standalone novel, but the upside is that we’ll all get to read more of Julianna Baggot’s fantastic story.

Pure is an imaginative, stand out, and complex novel set in a believable post-apocalyptic world. I was thrilled to discover that the movie rights have already been acquired because it’s wonderfully cinematic. It’s definitely a highlight among the myriad of dystopia/post-apocalyptic novels out there right now.

Dystopian or Not Dystopian? Slightly dystopian, more post-apocalyptic

Thank you Headline for providing me this book for review!

I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.
Profile Image for Mizuki.
3,003 reviews1,211 followers
January 23, 2015
The first thing you must know when you read Pure, by Julianna Baggott: You must abandon all your hard-earned knowledge of science and your common sense.

Okay, I admit the author has some original ideas going for her, but as soon as the first chapter, I found myself unable to suppress my disbelief when I was told after being exposed to a massive, destructive explosion which destroyed the world as we knew it, the main girl was merged together with a plastic doll, and her grandfather has a fan merged into his body? How could this be? How could these people still be alive without dying of infection when they have plastic, glass and steel melted into their bodies?

Yes, dear readers. Kiss goodbye to your knowledge about infection and immunity right here right now, otherwise your brain is going to hurt.

And here's my reaction to how science and common sense has been treated in this book:


The absurdity doesn't just end here, later we were also told some survivors were merged with the ground and building, some were merged to animals and we also got introduced to a character whose younger brother was merged to his back. When I read about it I was like "WTF? Shouldn't they both die of transplant rejection or something already?

Also, we are told that the survivors are no longer able to give birth to normal baby, even animals can only give birth to deformed offspring? So, what kind of explosion can it possibly be!?

Although later it's explained that the reason why the survivors ended up merging with plastic and steel and glass has something to do with a cocktail bomb made with Nanometre....but I found it really difficult to believe.

The same like Divergent, the science in Pure is so damn fucked up (How much I would like to see authors started showing respect to science and their readers' intelligence!). But once you shut your brain down and pretend you have never taken science lessons in your life, things become a bit more tolerable. The characters are okay, there are descent action scenes and the author didn't water things down when it comes to cruelty and violence. Still, I don't like how poorly the plot twists are being handled, how the villains killed people with no good reason at the ending part and the world building is no good neither.

Suggestion: You can skip this book, you wouldn't lose anything.
Profile Image for Sarah (saz101).
192 reviews151 followers
February 6, 2013
Ten years ago, atomic bombs destroyed the world, leaving two groups of survivors: those maimed, burned, and horrifically deformed by the fire and radiation; and ‘Pures’—a lucky and select group who escaped the explosions unharmed, safely tucked away in a massive glass bubble called The Dome.

Pressia survived the explosions outside. Life is hard, food is scarce, and Pressia is nearing her sixteenth birthday—the time when she will be drafted for military service with OSR. She’ll be forced to kill, or be used as target practice.

Partridge escaped the Detonations unscathed, safely tucked away in the Dome, which is more or less ruled by his cold and distant father. His mother and brother dead, Partridge doesn’t quite fit in with the other boys and people of the Dome. He has an independent streak that is dangerous in such a controlled community, and when a slip of the tongue from his father suggests his mother may still be alive—outside—Partridge decides to escape.

As a series of coincidences drive Pressia and Partridge together, they must fight together to survive... but who are they fighting? Who’s the enemy? The pieces start to come together into a much, much bigger picture, as the two discover their lives are more closely intertwined than they could have imagined.

P1 & P2:

Pure is told (mainly) through the shifting POV of Pressia and Partridge. They’ve both suffered, and both of their lives were long ago stripped down to one defining purpose: survival. But they both seemed very naive, and very young.

When Partridge escapes the Dome, we see through his eyes, and it gives the reader a lens of relatability. And I tell you what, I needed that lens, as Pressia, for me, felt  detached, cold and aloof. She needs to be to survive—but it made her hard to relate to. In this, she reminded me a lot of an early-era Obernewtyn Elspeth. And this book started moving at about the same pace. Read: glacial. Which brings me to:

I love the cold, but this is ridiculous:
Pure gets off to a VERY slow start. While Baggot had me enthralled with her achingly beautiful prose and vividly imagined world, it seemed as though very little actually happened. So much of the book was spent setting up the world, the politics, the characters; but little happened with them. I suspect book two will feature more action, but the gorgeous prose quickly lost its appeal and grew flowery, leavimg me agitated and impatient for the book to get on with it.

I struggled with the descriptions of the bizarre physical deformities of the Detonation survivors. They’ve become fused with objects, other people or animals, and it left me squirming. While the healthy and whole people running the Dome are deliberately subjecting their children to procedures designed to genetically alter them for strength, intelligence or obeisance, the survivors outside struggle with mutations that will eventually kill them. It’s creepy and sinister. This isn’t a criticism of Pure, rather, it’s praise: Baggot is uncompromising in presenting the uncomfortable truth of survival in this world, but it’s no less hard to read.

Pure is peppered with implausible coincidences, yet the plot wouldn’t make sense without them. The whole storyline is held together by a thread so thin it constantly threatened to break. This is meant to be set in a large city, right? Yet Pressia, Partridge and co keep stumbling across people, places, clues or objects from the past to help them on their way, and I kept thinking ‘yeah, right.’ Finding familiar places or people from ‘the before’ over a place that size, in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with so many people dead is hugely unlikely.

The Verdict:
Julianna Baggot creates a disturbing world in Pure, too close and familiar to our own to be comfortable. It’s an uncompromising picture of what humanity is capable of, and I hated it, because I could actually believe it—but I didn’t want to. Yet, while Pure is packed with fights, flight and conspiracy, lengthy descriptions and sparse, sometimes stiff, dialogue made it feel very slow.

Pure deserves the praise it’s garnered. It’s beautifully written, frightening, intensely emotive, and well thought out and researched. It’s so many amazing things, bundled into what should be an amazing book—but I didn’t enjoy reading it. I struggled through all bar sixty-odd pages of it, and it had a rather open, unstatisfying ending. Turning the final page I was left feeling sad, emotionally drained, but mainly just relieved it was over. Nevertheless, Pure will appeal to lovers of dystopian fiction—especially fans of Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn. It just wasn't for me.

To be fair: if I was to rate this book completely objectively, based on writing, world building, imagination and execution, it would deserve 4 stars. I’ve decided to rate based on my enjoyment of it... and I struggled with this book. So, forgive me, but: 2 stars.

Pure was kindly provided by Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Thanks you guys!
Profile Image for Krystle.
914 reviews335 followers
February 5, 2012
This book was excruciatingly torturous to read. I took forever to finish this book. In fact, it took me over a month to read this whole thing and I wanted to drop it more than a dozen times but I just had to persevere because I’ve become lazy and have dropped too many books recently. If you know me, you know that I read at a fairly rapid rate, finishing a book (if I don’t jump around) in about two or three days if time allows. Well, the length of time is explanatory itself.

Pure was just so dull and draggy. There was a flash of interest in the first fifty pages or so (maybe it was less) and then it became a mind numbing test of endurance. Long scenes were thinly connected by an almost invisibly thread for a barely there plot. In fact, most of the things that happened jumped around without so much as a transition or apparent connection to the plot.

I think this is in due part to the writing. It was lacking urgency, life, and spark. Sure, there were some great descriptions and poignant lines but it all just flew over your head in the context of everything. There was nothing driving the story forward and because of this you didn’t connect with any of the characters. That’s not to say they were bad. They were all right, I guess. None of them were pathetic, passive, and ineffective losers but I just really didn’t care about any of them. It didn’t help that the book employed the multiple pov method, where each chapter or some chapters were told from other characters. It was too many, too often, and made everything way too jumpy.

By the time the ending came around all I could do was express and exhilarating scream of relief and took a hefty nap to celebrate. Naps, ftw!

The premise and world building of this book was fabulous, though. So I’m really disappointed by that. It’s clear the author did a lot of research and spent a lot of time thoroughly inventing all aspects of her world which a lot of dystopian novels nowadays don’t take account for. I’m just sad the story didn’t live up to it. The plot twists were surprising too but my lack of interest in the book merely left with a raised eyebrow than the wow reaction I’m sure this is supposed to garner.

Pure tackles a lot of dark things and there is some really weird stuff in it. Like the whole deformities and people fusing to animals and things. There’s that whole manipulation of genetics in their coveted domed world of protection and safety. You know, weeding out the unwanteds from the wanted, which they did to the people outside the dome originally by dropping nuclear bombs on them but are now doing it to themselves. Scary stuff.

Such great ideas but let down by the inadequate execution.
919 reviews255 followers
May 29, 2016
It's taken a while for me to work out the words to write this review, and to be honest I still don't have them, but as I read this a while ago now I thought it best to get some words down at least.

When I read Angelfall I remember thinking the weirdness was just... too weird. Something about it felt forced and odd, to me, but I couldn't quite put a finger on what the "right" kind of weirdness would be. Now I know - this book.

The suspense of disbelief is definitely required a little here, but it is easy to oblige. Strange mutants, not-so-strange mutants, ordinary people with genetic programming and nuclear safe domes make for pretty interesting reading, especially when it is all well written. In fact, the disbelief may even be unwarranted as I have heard that a huge amount of research went into the plot. I'm not suggesting that dust-humans are going to spring up everywhere, but with today's science much of the devastation that has occurred in this world doesn't take a huge leap of faith to imagine. The third person present tense narration took me a while to get into but I think that's perhaps a matter of personal taste, and after a while it feels fluid and natural and perfect

Pressia is a great lead, tough but not too tough, and though there is romance, yes, it feels believable and is pretty straightforward. It doesn't take precedence over actual plot, unlike many other cases, and there are no pesky love triangles. The characters all feel well rounded, three dimensional, and though there are many loose threads unfinished by the end, I'm very, very happy to read the sequel to tie them all up.

They're making a film!!

(If they ignore the fact that Pressia is half Japanese in the casting I will completely give up on Hollywood - and things aren't looking inspiring so far. I kept imagining a freckled Miki Ishikawa when reading for some reason, this is not unreasonable right?)
Profile Image for Esmeralda Verdú.
Author 1 book3,097 followers
May 2, 2012
Puro es un libro crudo a veces, en ocasiones trepidante y durante toda la lectura magnífico. Con él, además de disfrutar de su lectura, aprenderemos a valorar todo lo que tenemos, hasta la cosa más insignificante. Porque como dice el dicho, cuando ya no lo tienes, no creerías que te hiciera alguna vez tanta falta o ilusión encontrarte con él. Un simple recorte de revista lleno de color es un tesoro en el mundo que queda después de las Detonaciones. También reconoceremos que el aspecto exterior no lo es todo. Es comienzo de trilogía, pero creía que el final iba a ser más abierto, es decir, que se iban a desvelar menos cosas y se iba a quedar más interesante. Así que por una parte es un punto a favor que no nos quedemos mordiéndonos las uñas tanto tiempo. Aún así está claro que estoy deseando leer su continuación. Adéntrate en el escalofriante mundo de Pressia y en el perfecto mundo de Perdiz, y estoy segura que elegirás quedarte en el primero; descubre el por qué leyendo el libro, que para mí es más que recomendable.

Lee la reseña completa aquí: http://fly-like-a-butterfly.blogspot....
Profile Image for Nomes.
384 reviews373 followers
September 20, 2011
4.5 stars

This was gripping and intense and quietly horrifying. Also, beautifully written and fully realised. If dystopia's your thing, you should prioritise checking this out, hey. Full review to come.
Profile Image for Katerina  Kondrenko.
498 reviews841 followers
January 9, 2021
9 out of 10

ревью на русском/review in russian

I like gutting books, dismantle stories, taking my time, listening to my feelings. But not this time.
I feel too much. It's like being drummed to death from within. You know?

I agree. I don’t have to delve into my feelings. Reading this book, I wasn't worried about having nothing to say about it in the end. On the contrary, I was careful not to spill those emotions that were born as the story progressed and instantly turned into words. And for the first time, I used the highlight function in the Kindle, because I was afraid to lose the lines that I stumbled about. This is not the end of my "first" experiences with this book. But first things first.

I started reading by looking at a couple of reviews, the first claimed that the book was unusual, and the second became a warning.

A couple of times I was distracted by other books. The fact is that the first two chapters of "Pure" are more an atmospheric seed than an informative lure. As in any dystopia, the author needs to tell about the world in which the characters live, so that a clear picture appears in the reader's imagination. You cannot climb the stairs without this step. In general, don't expect instant excitement.

Then I read about the fan. I reread it. I reread it again. About the doll. I returned to the fan... My eyes refused to believe, and my mind didn't yet suspect that these were only flowers. It was then that I got hooked. Eyes ran along the lines, hands trembled, tears streamed, heart pounded. I was shaking! I can't remember a single book that made me shiver. Cry? Well, it's always welcome. But the smth like jitters... This is the first time with me (another "first time", as promised).

How scared I was! And not in the sense in which we are afraid of the girl from "The Ring" or the man with an ax from King's "Shining". No, I was scared for the people, I was horrified by the way they live, what they went through, what they were left with and what awaits them next. And I was also tormented by the question, what was this pretty Julianna Baggott smoking, how could such a thing come to mind? I thought about DNFing since my appetite disappears and my hands are shaking, but these very hands didn't want to release the Kindle, and I didn't give up.

I'd like to point out, this book is not a revelation, but this "not a revelation" is simply ingenious in its simplicity. It crawls under the skin, penetrates deeper, gropes for nerve endings, and pulls them with all its might. And yes, in terms of plot, this book is also capable of surprising. I thought one thing, in fact, it turned out to be different. Every now and again. Each line is a clever manipulator. Teases, gives hope and takes it away, carries it to the next page, patting the head and stabbing in the back. This is not a standard young adult, not a typical war game, and not predictable antagonists/protagonists confrontation. This is an emotional squeezer, brain fuck, and a quality product.

What is this book about? Annotation is not something that is lying, it just does not reveal the essence. Pure is a story about the consequences of a global catastrophe, a series of atomic explosions. About those who suffered and survived, and now are forced to continue in the future, being crippled, lonely, desperate, and wondering why. And also about those who escaped and live in greenhouse conditions, which at first glance is ideal, and at the second - just as bad. This is life in a glass jar, in which they don't know what the wind is, obey strange rules, and are subject to coding (interference with DNA), which improves your abilities, but changes personality. This story is about the intersection of two worlds. About love, family, and friendship. About how important is not to lose yourself under any circumstances. About memory. About how dear the thing we are used to and consider boring. About beauty, which is more than the symmetry of features and the purity of the skin. About the future, you and me. About how people are able to adapt to anything. About how strong our desire to live is. About everything. There are no main characters in this story, or rather, they are not only Pressia and Partridge. And the third-person narrative allows you to twirl what is happening this way and that, delve into events from different points of view.

The world, which includes Pressia, Partridge, Bradwell, Lyda and other Pure's characters, is not just scary, it's hopeless. Really. People living under the Dome believe that outside its walls paradise awaits them, a reborn land with cheap labor (survivors). The Wretched or those who are forced to live outside know perfectly well that outside is hell, they dream of the Dome and consider it to be paradise. Do you understand? Of course you do. The reader is well aware that the characters of the Pure reality have nowhere to go, hell is everywhere.

In the process of reading, I was sometimes overwhelmed by such hopelessness that I freaked out in real life for no apparent reason. Strange feeling, to be honest. It’s like a virtual pumpkin from a virtual farm materialized on your table, or the money won in virtual poker ended up in your pocket, or you die in a computer game, but you really start coughing up blood on your keyboard.

At first, I read with a shudder about the people outside the Dome, I will not say a word about the features of each of them, you still wouldn't be able to prepare yourself for this. At the end of the book, I suddenly realized that I no longer look away and don't hold my breath (although I strongly advise against reading at lunch) when, for example, El Capitan appears on the pages. I began to see in him an ordinary teenager... about forty years old, though, although he was about 20.

Although ... perhaps all the characters here have outgrown their birthdates. But they are real, their discretion and humility are the result of the world in which they had to grow up. But their behavior, desires and motives betray children in them. Such a paradox. What other paradox, though? At 30, 40 and 85, we mentally (if nothing else) reach out for our mother, we want to be loved and don't want to die. So, you really get used to the characters of this book, you stop looking at them with your eyes, you open your heart to them. And if at first you simply feel sorry for everyone, then in the end you are imbued with respect, admire them and even love them.

I can imagine what work Julianna Baggott did to create Pure. The book is replete with scientific facts and theories, real details, which are layered with logical fictions. Perhaps that's why it's creepy. How to get rid of the thought that if anything can be, then this is possible too? By the way, Julianna, working on the book, not only researched a huge amount of materials, she created the drawings of the Dome. So, the Dome already exists...

By the way, the explosions in Pure were preceded by not the greatest life. Chips were implanted in people, women were locked up in rehabilitation centers for nothing, e.g. cheating in marriage (no, I agree, it's unpleasant, but getting a divorce is better, isn't it?). Government conspiracies, control, resource depletion...

I don't want to live in a world in which the so-called Good Mother is akin to an evil stepmother:
Our Good Mother places the tip of the knife on one side of Partridge’s pinky, raises the back of the knife, and in one swift motion lowers the back of blade on Partridge’s pinky, right at the middle knuckle.
In which before and after, inside and outside, there's only completely hopelessness.
On the way home, she told me that they built the prisons and rehabilitation centers and sanatoriums tall for a reason. So everyone knew that the only difference is that you live under their roof or in their shadow.

In which the weightlessness becomes a weight on the shoulders (and not only on the shoulders, and not only in a figurative sense):
Our love is our burden.

I don't want to live in a world in which your very self eludes you, let alone memories:
Does she really remember this? Or does she remember trying to remember?

In which parents turn into a pair of associative words, into sensations, into aspirations that are not destined to come true. In which you yourself are nothing.
She thinks of the word mother—lullabies—and father—warm coat. Pressia is a red dot on a screen, pulsing like a heartbeat.

In which distance and life are measured by proximity to the one with whom you a priori should be near.
Partridge is sure that this is the end. He’ll never get any closer to his mother than this.

In which "you were, and now you are not."
“I was,” he says.
“You were what?” she asks.
“I was,” he says again. “And now I’m not.”

In which you are alive, but have no idea who you are:

And after such words^
The real sound of the ocean can’t be held in a bell.

I got that in spite of what the read in you resonates with, in spite of all the sympathy for the characters, we aren't able to understand and fully realize how they live and what they feel. Because the real pain of the Pure world can't be held in a book.

And let it be naive, but I've no doubt that it would be so (and it has always been so, I mean wars, destruction and adversity only exacerbated this feeling), love will always remain. It does even in such a world.
“You were only supposed to stick with us for your own sake, your own selfish reasons. You said you had one.”
“And I do.”
“What’s that?”
“You’re my selfish reason,” he says.

This book must be read, and you will have to do this, overcoming horror, swallowing tears, getting through the meaning of the pages, in order to then look back and understand how beautiful the world in which we live, how beautiful people are, how beautiful you are yourself. How valuable is what we have. While I was reading it, disgust gave way to bewilderment, and thoughts of mediocrity into breaths of admiration. What's the bottom line? The thought of this or that scene in Pure still shakes me, I don't even know what awaits me in Fuse, and Burn, but I will certainly read it.

And finally, ask yourself what Partridge was thinking, what I was thinking, and what you will probably think about:
To be in a cage or set loose into this world?

Pure (Пепельное небо):
Pure (Пепельное небо) #1/3
Fuse (Сплавленные) #2/3
Burn (Огонь) #3/3
Profile Image for Denisse.
499 reviews289 followers
July 31, 2015
Una trama con el balance perfecto entre dramatismo, acción y romance. El mundo distopico presentado es muy grotesco, pero los personajes soñadores lo aligeran bastante.

El libro es bueno, es muy original pero tarde en agarrarle la onda, la primera mitad esta muy de "voy aquí, voy para este otro lado bla bla bla" y en mi opinión los personajes empiezan un poco flojos, sobre todo Perdiz, no me gusto para nada el personaje pero en los últimos capítulos mejora mucho.

Hubo un instante en el que creí que tendríamos algún tipo de doble triangulo amoroso fusionado extrañamente, GRACIAS A TODOS LOS CIELOS, NO FUE ASÍ! El romance es tan sutil, que casi no lo sientes, me encanto, no se ve salido de la nada, últimamente los autores necesitan poner 500 escenas amorosas para atrapar al lector o para que dos personajes gusten y aquí no pasa eso.

EL PUNTO FUERTE en mi opinión es todo lo relacionado con las Detonaciones, todas las fusiones, de personas con mas personas (Las Madres fueron mis favoritas) con objetos, con arboles, DIOS hasta con la pinche tierra había fusionados DIOS! HASTA CON UNA BANQUETA, WTF!? esas descripciones fueron un trabajo excelente por parte de la autora.

Al mismo tiempo, había algo que faltaba,
Me siento como cuando leí el primero de Legend, estuvo bien, pero olvidable. Pero hey! Legend se compuso bárbaro, así que porque este no?

En resumen diría, que el mundo esta bien elaborado. Ademas que hay 4 POVs y por lo tanto un ambiente mas grande a que solo fuera uno. Aun asi le falto cierta chispa, sobretodo con los personajes que son muy flojos.

Lo que espero en la segunda parte, necesito que se trabaje mas en los personajes, Bradwell es el mas decente en mi opinión, y los demás pueden mejorar, mucho, necesito que se centren mas en sus formas de ser, que estén mas nítidos, que entienda el porque hacen las cosas. Y lo mas importante: A esta historia le urge una trama central.

La historia tiene todo para ser excelente, el segundo libro lo decidirá todo.

PD: no se, como que quiero decir muchas cosas de este libro, pero no me se explicar. Necesito una clasesillas de redacción JAJAJAJA.
Profile Image for Crowinator.
810 reviews361 followers
March 27, 2012
First Line: “There was a low droning overhead a week after the Detonations; time was hard to track.”

Cover Story: Paperweight.

I’d put this paperweight on my desk. It would look snazzy. As a book cover, though, I don’t know; the butterfly and dome both figure into the story, but the image isn’t as evocative as it should be for a purely symbolic cover. I don’t think it accurately conveys the tone of the book. (Maybe that is the point but I often pick up a book based on the cover, and I think this one is misleadingly boring.) I do like how the butterfly on the back is Pressia’s mechanical one and how it’s outside the dome, though; that halfway redeems it for me.

Five-Sentence Summary: Pressia was just a little girl holding a doll when the Detonations hit, but when the bombs ended, she was as irrevocably altered as the world itself, her hand fused with the doll’s head. Those who survived found themselves mutilated with burns, deformed by their ruined environment, and fused to whatever creatures or objects were most near – some people fused with animals into Beasts, others with people and become Groupies, some even with the earth and became Dusts. The only people that survived intact were in the Dome, a protected enclave of people now known as Pures. Patridge is one such Pure, living a safe but controlled life of genetic enhancements and behavioral control, but his discovery that his mother may still be alive and outside prompts him to escape the Dome in search of her. When Pressia and Partridge meet, they begin to uncover the dark truth about the creation of the Dome, the destruction of the world, and their inevitable connection to each other.

Character Arcade
Pressia: Pressia is a survivor; she’s canny and fierce, and she understands the idea of sacrifice. But she���s also compassionate, which isn’t as incongruous as it sounds. Even though she’s impatient with other people’s weaknesses (like Patridge’s complete lack of survival skills), she’s unable to leave them to die when she could help. She’s one of those who act on her impulses, rather than turn away from them when they’re inconvenient. She’s nostalgic for her grandfather’s world before the Detonations, which she barely remembers, and this wistfulness makes her relatable to those of us living in the world she misses. Her shame and self-consciousness over her doll’s head-hand is also an interesting contrast with Bradwell, who wears his deformity as a mark of survivor pride; part of Pressia’s struggle in this book is to accept the world for what it is now and what it could become, rather than what it once was, and it’s clearly illustrated by how she feels about her hand.

Bradwell: Bradwell is an intellectual know-it-all, a semi-paranoid conspiracy theorist who just happens to be right all the time. That can make him insufferable, because he seems to have so little humility, but his interactions with Pressia and Partridge soften him up over the course of the book, and he grew on me. He is definitely the Exposition Fairy of this book, though, and his extreme knowledge can be a little unbelievable. During the Detonations, he was fused with birds on his back, which are still alive and flutter their wings when he’s agitated; while this is a super cool idea, I actually wished for a clearer description on what this looks like (are the birds facing out or in? flying into his back or away? How many are there? Etc.).

Partridge: Partridge is a Pure, the son of one of the Dome’s most powerful founders. I liked his courage and determination, and though it’s a rough transition for him, he proves his adaptability by making it in a world far, far different from the one he’s used to. His constant comparisons between living inside and outside the Dome are illuminating; there’s a freedom to being outside the Dome that he finds exhilarating after his rigid upbringing, a sense of realness in seeing the birds and feeling the wind despite the devastated landscape. Ultimately, I don’t feel he’s as strong a presence as Pressia or Bradwell or El Capitan, because he is always reacting to something cluelessly, but maybe as he grows into his role outside the Dome he won’t feel as bland.

El Capitan/Helmud:
Groupies – people fused together, sharing their “body” in a variety of ways – are definitely gross, but El Capitan and his brother Helmud give it emotional complexity, too. El Capitan, a leader in the OSR forced to carry his brother on his back, is full of rage and violence but also doubt and a surprising reluctance to be cruel that he frequently suppresses. Helmud at first seems like he barely has a mind, given that he repeats El Capitan’s words and seems to have none of his own, but his interactions with his brother are subtly layered. El Capitan is an excellent antihero in that he’s disturbing but also sympathetic.

Lyda: Lyda gets her own narrative, but she’s sort of a limp noodle. A cipher. She is the girl Partridge uses to escape, and her purpose is to set up the story of what’s happening inside the Dome when Partridge is gone and to give us an “in” into the burgeoning resistance, and that’s kind of it. As such, what happens during her scenes is important, particularly at the end, but she herself doesn’t feel like a full character yet. She has potential to develop a lot in the second book.

Style & Substance
“We were all left to die. We were the ones who tended the dying. We wrapped the dead. We buried our children and when there were too many to bury, we built pyres and burned the bodies of our own children. Deaths, they did this to all of us. We used to call them Father or Husband or Mister. We’re the ones who saw their darkest sins. While we banged the shutters of our homes like trapped birds and beat our heads on prison walls, we watched them. We alone know how much they hated themselves, how shamed they were . . . and how they turned that on us at first – and their own children – and then the world at once.” – Our Good Mother speaking of the wives and mothers in her care to Pressia

On the one hand, the premise of this novel isn’t all that different. Post-apocalyptic dystopias in which a small group of teenage underdogs discover a vast, insidious conspiracy are all over the place, as are concepts like the Dome, total environmental collapse, genetic modifications, mutated survivors, and the evils of conservative religious propaganda. If you’ve read a lot of dystopias (teen or adult), then there are plenty of times when you will know what to expect, even when you are meant to be surprised by a plot twist ().

On the other hand, Baggott puts these familiar elements together in a way that feels new enough to stand out from the pack, because of the totality of her world-building and into creating characters and storylines that fit organically with its history. The horror and science fiction elements aren’t mere decorative trappings for a bland “dystopias are popular now” retread or teen romance or what have you; they are integral and imaginative and (mostly) make sense. She’s paid attention to geography, history, (pseudo)science, politics, religion, and people themselves, and even though there are still some details I feel are lacking (such as how the Return to Civility movement against women happened in the first place), I think there’s enough in this book to warrant high expectations for the next one. It’s a high-concept book, because you can hand it to someone and highlight the novelty of the gross factor, but that’s not all it is. (Though I will admit that when I booktalked this, I was all like, “Pressia! Has a doll’s head for a hand! Her grandfather has a fan lodged in his throat that whirs when he breathes! There are people melted into the earth who will suck you down and devour you! READ IT!”)

Having said that, the world outside the Dome feels more compelling. It’s more visceral, more detailed, and more frightening, while the world inside the Dome is just what you’d expect. Sanitized education, population control, genetic enhancements, behavioral control, rigid systems, food pills, etc. Blah blah blah fishcakes. Part of it is we spend a lot more time outside the Dome, so of course it is more vivid, but it also has the greatest amount of elements that surprised me or defied my expectations. If there’s more stuff in the Dome during the next book, I hope we get a greater sense of it than sterile corridors, classrooms, and recycled air (though the scene that takes place in the Personal Loss Archives is an exception).

The writing, which bounces among several third person, present-tense narratives, is mostly plainspoken, competent but not distinctive. It serves to tell the story but it doesn’t elevate it. There are some really great passages, one of which I just highlighted, but for me the strength of this book came from the ideas and character development, rather than the style or structure of the writing itself. The sheer amount of backstory bluntly worked in to the beginning might put off some readers expecting a faster-paced story, but I can be patient when the world is so interesting, so I didn’t have much of a problem. Sometimes the dryness of the expository writing did undercut the horror for me -- so many people have written about how gross and scary this novel is, but I didn’t always feel it.

Vicarious Smoochies
Not a lot of romance in this dark, demented universe, though the groundwork has been laid for Baggott to take it in that direction in Book Two.

Bradwell’s and Pressia’s wary regard for each other, and their slow transformation into trust and possible intimacy is all you get in this novel. It’s understated compared with most YA fiction, which I found refreshing.

Mood Ring: Nuclear Winter

Dark, sooty, barren, cold. This is not a book that will give you warm, fuzzy feelings.

Random Asides
“What’s Grosser than Gross?”
Here’s a joke I remember from my childhood: “What's grosser than gross? A dead baby in a trash can. What's grosser than that? A dead baby in 10 trash cans!” (This was a running joke format in the 80s and we didn’t even live in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.) I love the grosser elements of this book, the inventiveness of how the cocktail of bombs affected human DNA, but I felt sometimes like Baggott was playing this game while writing. “What’s grosser than gross? A baby fused to its mother. What’s grosser than gross? Ten babies fused to their mother!” At a certain point, the mutations lean too far into B-movie territory, becoming too over-the-top even for this premise and therefore harder to accept. It’s a minor criticism, however – I still think it’s overall awesome.

Garbage Pail Kids
Another 80s flashback for you. The human/creature/object hybrids in this novel would make for some imminently trade-able cards.


Other Dome-tastic novels, obviously. One that I think that fell through the cracks of YA/middle-grade fiction is A Crack in the Sky, by Mark Peter Hughes; it’s much younger than Pure but the Dome politics and weird religious fervor (inner and outer) are similar. Also, other graphically violent YA dystopias, like Enclave by Ann Aguirre and Divergent, by Veronica Roth, though both of those also have a heavier romance element. And this may be a stretch, but I think Tim Lebbon’s horror fantasy novels (particularly about his magical, mechanized world Noreela) would be an interesting pairing; his writing is more lush, but the themes are as are dark and heavy as anything in Pure, and there are a fair number of freaky creatures. I always recommend his novel The Island as a good standalone.

Other Recommendations
Buy a PS3 and play some Fallout 3 after reading this. You’ll thank me. Or you can watch The Matrix and Wall-E.

Old Comments: When the Detonations hit . . . I will probably be fused with my Macbook on my lap. So the Goodreads updates will continue, even after the apocalypse!

In the beginning, this was a three-star read for me, but somewhere around page 200 I got highly invested in the characters and finding out what happens to them, and after a few genuine surprise moments in the story (and despite some obvious tells that I think were supposed to be surprises), I ended up hooked.

Longer review to come. I know you all are laughing at me because I always say that, but I do intend to write them. One day.

After the apocalypse. (c;
Profile Image for Miss_Cultura.
819 reviews130 followers
January 31, 2012
Nunca una novela juvenil me había dado tanto que pensar, es bastante atípico que en los últimos libros que están llegando a mi estantería (y no digo que no los haya), toda la historia tenga un mensaje críptico que el lector tiene que ir descubriendo poco a poco.

Los escritores están acostumbrados a escribir sobre diversos temas, algunos con mas acierto que otros, pero Puro, rompe todos los moldes establecidos en estas novelas.

Desde la primera pagina hasta la ultima y a un ritmo trepidante sin apenas dejarnos respirar, la autora, nos deleitara con una trama única, que gira en torno a una sociedad que tras unas explosiones se ha dividido en dos, o mejor dicho "la dividieron ellos en dos" y en cada lugar ya sea en la "cúpula" o fuera de esta, las reglas para sobrevivir son las que imperan, sino ya puedes olvidarte de existir.

Las descripciones del mundo que hay fuera de la cúpula y al ir adentrandome en estas, las cuales son tan concisas que piensas que vives dentro del libro y formas parte de el y en parte es así, he vivido este libro como si estuviese con Pressia pegada a su mano.

Por fin y tras mucho tiempo esperando deciros esto, he encontrado unos personajes que rompen moldes y se salen de los estereotipos de "niña tonta" o "niño peligroso" se enamoran en un abrir y cerrar los ojos....El amor es secundario, lo principal es ponerse a salvo y conocer una verdad que ha estado en cada una de las 428 paginas pero que poco a poco se nos va descubriendo como si un velo o una mascara se nos fuese cayendo poco a poco, para enseñarnos lo que en realidad tenemos.

He reflexionado mucho tras haber terminado de leer "Puro" pero no encontraba ningún adjetivo que la pueda calificar, para eso tendría que pensar en muchos mas que uno solo.

Cuando un libro contiene tantas emociones que te llegan hasta lo mas hondo, es difícil hablar de el, porque no me salen las palabras para explicar lo que he sentido.

Dura,tierna,escalofriante,reflexiva,triste, quedo sin palabras.
Profile Image for Brooke.
136 reviews167 followers
September 7, 2011
4.5 stars.

Pure is a gritty, intense, gruesome, disturbing, gripping and incredibly original post-apocalyptic / dystopian novel.

Set in a world 10 years after what could only be described as a nuclear holocaust, the Detonations, the reader is quickly made aware that there are two distinct groups of people. The first are the Pures, a 'superior' group of healthy, well cared for individuals with (seemingly) no imperfections. The Pures are people who were either inside a structure called the Dome, designed to withstand a disaster like the Detonations, or those lucky enough to make it in in the moments following the disaster. The second group are the wretches, people who were not in or around the Dome, people who have been fused to metal, glass, animals, objects, nature and even other people. The thing they are fused to is whatever (or whoever) they were standing closest to or holding on to when the Detonations took place.

Pressia is a wretch. She lives in an abandoned Barber shop with her grandfather and pet Cicada, Freedle, left to scavenge and barter for food with trinkets she learned to make from scraps of metal and wire she recovers from the debris on the streets. As is the law, when Pressia's 16th birthday rolls around, her name is listed on a notice, indicating that it is her time to turn herself in to the OSR to be trained as a Soldier or worse, used as a live target for Soldier training. Pressia's Grandfather tells her she must escape, she knows they will be looking for her, so she turns to an acquaintance for somewhere to hide.

Bradwell is the acquaintance, a fellow wretch with birds fused into his back. Bradwell has been living alone since approximately 9 years of age, after his parents were murdered in their sleep. His carers were killed in the detonations, and he has well and truly learnt to fend for himself. Together, he and Pressia hear rumors of a Pure who has escaped from the Dome. Such an escape is unheard of, and it isn't long before rumors are running wild.

Partridge, a Pure, is the son of Ellery Willux, the man in charge of the Dome and also one of the Dome's original creators. After his brother's apparent suicide, and being told that his mother was killed trying to save victims of the Detonations, Partridge feels more alone then ever and decides that he wants out.

The three meet, cue action. The story alternates between 5 points of view (the other two being additional characters were are introduced to, El Capitan and Lyda - I will leave their stories for you to discover on your own) which may sound like a lot, however is wonderfully executed. It was easy to keep up with each alternation as the story flowed flawlessly - while you may be going from an outside-of-the-dome setting to an inside-the-dome setting, everything continues on in sequence.

As someone has described an another early review, Pure has the perfect balances character and plot development, each spurred on by the other. There were pages which felt a bit like 'fillers' and didn't really add anything to the book and, if anything, caused a bit of a lull in the story progression. They certainly didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole though, but they could be removed and nothing would be missed.

As for the comparisons to Suzanne Collins' 'The Hunger Games' I don't think that the comparisons really warranted, if I am being honest. The two are incredibly different, and while there are similarities (i.e. the Dome "bugs" people - they can see, hear what the bugged person is seeing / hearing, similar to the Capitol monitoring the Districts / Tributes etc.), the plots are most certainly, unrelated and not comparable.

I eagerly await the release of the next book in this series, I can't wait to see where things go from here. An excellent novel from Julianna Baggott!

Nic - on to you next!
Profile Image for Cathy Day.
Author 9 books120 followers
January 12, 2012
This book "crosses over" between literary and genre in a way that Hunger Games does not (although I certainly liked Hunger Games). What qualities push a book from genre towards "literary?" In this case, it's 1.) the cultural commentary, the idea, the speculative nature of the premise and subject matter; Pure is more overtly political than Hunger Games, and this appeals to me as an adult reader and what dissatisfied me about H.G. And, 2.) Pure is better on the on the sentence level, more psychologically complex, more vivid. Overall, I'd say Pure has more in common with The Road and Handmaid's Tale and Never Let Me Go than it does with Hunger Games. But of course, comparing it to Hunger Games is what will sell it, and if by doing so, a lot of people are exposed to this level of lyricism, all the better. Too often, we assume that genre fiction sacrifices "sentence" for "story," and too often, writers with literary aspirations sacrifice "story" for "sentence." Baggott (who is both a poet and an expert plotter) seems to be most interested in finding out what happens when you marry a can't-put-down plot with artistic vision. I'm very interested to see what happens in this series and TO THIS SERIES, how it will be regarded by readers and critics over time. I apologize if this review makes the book sound unappealing. It's not. It's an incredible and interesting treat, especially if, like me, you appreciate both great stories and great sentences.
Profile Image for Nati | theprioryofpages.
185 reviews64 followers
August 21, 2017

Pomysł świetny, wykonanie niestety gorsze. Dialogi miedzy bohaterami były nieco sztuczne, tak samo jak wątek miłosny. Nie polubiłam w sumie nikogo, bo nikogo tak naprawdę nie poznałam. Wszystko działo się zbyt "łatwo". Plusem jest tutaj wykreowany świat po Wybuchu - przerażający, ale niesamowity. Bardzo mi się to spodobało.
Profile Image for Diana Stormblessed.
549 reviews35 followers
March 9, 2012
I have never had a harder book to review. While reading this book, knowing I was going to review it, I would fluctuate between 2 and 4 stars depending on where I was in the book. I guess its just so different than what I had expected. The best way I can describe this book is a mix between The Road (except instead of zombies eating people, its post-nuclear mutants eating people) and Under the Never Sky (where its the people in a dome vs the savages outside it, except this would be less YA and with more death and gore).

This book is not for everyone. The author creates a world where you can not only see the horrible life that these survivors are living, but you can feel it. in terms of world building, I give this book an A+. The problem is that in a world this horrible I could have done with a little less detail. I don't need to imagine every mutation on every survivor, every horror, every disgusting detail possible, every possible way to die. I know this world is a horrible place, and the real world has some horrible places as well, but after a point, it felt like the author was trying too hard. Making sure the idea was drilled into your head. I have to add, I cannot believe this book is YA. No, there's no sex, but still I wouldn't want to read this as a teen.

But as a book goes, the writing was fabulous. The imagery was wonderfully descriptive. The book was written from 4 points of view. Mostly Pressia and Partridge, but also El Capitan and Lyda in certain parts. I liked the way the book was split, because it gave us different views, and in a book like this, its nice to see from multiple eyes. Pressia and Partridge are pretty easy characters to empathize with, and even El Capitan tugged at my heart. I especially liked Bradwell. He was the only character that I really thought was an interesting, well written, strong character. The one I felt for the most. Lyda, on the other hand, I thought was fairly pointless, and the chapters about her basically bored me. Additionally, her "relationship" with Partridge felt forced. They barely knew each other, but she went through so much for him. I couldn't believe it.

Overall, it was a wonderfully written book about a horribly depressing subject. It started a little slow but picked up quickly and stayed captivating. I didn't agree with how easily some of the pieces fit together, but overall it made sense. In the end, though, I was left with questions about the explosion (Did it take out the whole US? Was it just one city? If so, where's the rest of the help? If it was the whole country, was there only 1 dome? I didn't really get the point of the explosion in the first place. And a few more questions that would qualify as spoilers.) This book is definitely worth a read, but I could have done with a little less detail and a little more getting to the point.

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