Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: Pure - Julianna Baggott

Pure by Julianna Baggott
Series: Pure Trilogy #1
Genre: YA, dystopian, futuristic
Published on February 8, 2012
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 431
Read From: 5.15.12 - 5.19.12

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where he lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost - how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers. . . .to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as soldiers or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. 
There are those, however, who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss - maybe just because his family is broken: his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that the Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.


This is the third book this month that I have had to give a negative rating. And this is also the third book this month that I had high hopes for, and was greatly proven wrong. Pure has an interesting idea, one that could have taken off and been one of the better dystopian books I’ve read. But the Author bogged it down with her own political opinions, pointless weirdness, flat characters, and lots of foul language (4 g--damns and 13 s-words).

The characters first: I wanted to care for Pressia and Partridge, but I couldn’t. There was just nothing about their personalities that appealed or even stood out. The second important character they pick up is just foul-tempered; there’s nothing about his personality that is appealing. Pressia is . . . Well . . . Um . . . See, she’s so flat that I can’t even think of what to say. And Partridge is . . . Well . . . Um . . . Not much different, actually. His action to suddenly leave the Dome is very sudden. Here he has been raised to believe that the outside world is polluted and dangerous, and then he just leaves for no particular reason. It is indicated that something happens to cause Partridge to believe that the people in the Dome have lied to him, but it took several chapters for me to realize that, Wait, that is what made him leave?! That one little phrase totally convinced him that everyone was lying to him and so he abandoned his previous life? Sorry, but in order for someone to make such a drastic decision, something bigger has to have happened for it to be believable.

As for the weirdness factor, unsurprisingly the people outside of the Dome are mutated. But the mutations don’t fit into the story. They feel out of place and just there to “further illustrate the horrors of nuclear weapons.” The mutations in Incarceron were definitely weird, but they fit the story; their explanation made as much sense as something like that can. The mutations in Pure don’t. People are randomly fused to inanimate objects and other living things. For instance, one character has birds fused into his back, while another person is fused to a dog on his foot. And somehow these creatures still remain alive. Sorry, but these mutations aren’t like Siamese twins - who, in fact, actually don’t live that long. If an explosion fused someone to birds, the birds would not live, and then there would be rotting flesh in that person, and that would lead to disease. And radiation doesn’t magically rearrange a person’s molecules so they can miraculously live with being fused to another creature. Other mutations consist of people who have been fused with the earth, so they become strange dirt-monsters who eat people, and there are Groupies - a jumble of people fused together that go around robbing people - and women who have been fused to their children. It just makes no sense, and is just too strange. And beyond believable.

Now for the Author’s political opinions. No surprise, a nuclear explosion is responsible for everything that has happened. And somehow this all ends up being connected to Hiroshima, and that leads to a whole litany on how the bomb isn’t what caused Japan to surrender, and that the true horrors of the bomb weren’t the millions of deaths, but the mutations that the government tried to cover up. First off, I personally think that it’s disrespectful to the memories of the people that died at Hiroshima to say that some made-up mutations are more horrible than millions of deaths. And second, that is such a lame story “twist.” Could the Author really not come up with anything else?

I also love how the “baddies” are always spouting Bible verses and talking about sin and sinners, and the “goodies” are these intellectual professors, and I also love how the Author essentially paints housewives as being oppressed women, and that their desire to bring back femininity is a bad thing. Clearly she has something against women who want to put their family first once they’ve had children, and who want to be feminine.

The end of Pure didn't make me one bit curious about the sequel, and that's a problem. The first book in a series is supposed to make the Reader eager for its sequel; its job is to set everything up and build things up. Pure didn't do that. And I'm not one bit sorry to not be reading Book #2.

Others in This Trilogy:

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