Friday, September 4, 2015

Pure by Julianna Baggott

(In which being a night owl isn't a very good idea sometimes.)


Dystopian YA fiction is so hot right now that its varieties can rival a detailed color chart. I do not know where that analogy came from. Or maybe I should blame the adult coloring book craze. But that's for another blog post.

When I read the synopsis for Julianna Baggott's Pure (the first book of the trilogy), I was filled with intrigue. There was a detonation that almost wiped humanity away. The survivors now lived a wretched life in a dead earth covered with gray ash. These survivors, however, can barely be called humans. Because of the detonation, their body got fused with the objects, people or animals near them, making them a horrifying living mosaic. Not everyone is wretched, though. A select few was saved and they lived inside a protected fortress known as the Dome. This is the world that Pressia Belze grew up in. 

Pressia dreads the day she turns sixteen because people at this age are gotten by OSR, a military organization. No one knows why. She also dreads leaving her sick grandfather behind. But when they came for her, she ran and met Bradwell, a rebel leader. Pressia and Bradwell are fused, just like everyone else. Pressia has a scar on her face and doll's head instead of a hand. Bradwell, on the other hand, has three living birds on his back. (Reading this late at night surely isn't that charming.)

With Bradwell's help, Pressia learns about the world before the detonations. Bradwell also expresses his hatred toward the people from the Dome and his plan to take them down.

Inside the Dome, a confused teenager named Partridge (son of Ellery Willux, the Dome's leader), wanted to know the truth behind his mother's death and miraculously escapes the tight-security facility.

He meets Pressia and the wretched and the deadly consequences of his escape unfurls.

Pure is such a heavy first book. Readers have to just accept the fact that a) the world is dead and basically everyone in it, b) but there are people who are still clean and fuse-free because, why not? and c) people in the outside world was somehow still able to survive. 

Add to the mix the confusing nanotechnology, a bunch of more horrendously fused people, a pair of complicated love story and you're in for a maze trip.

But accepting these simply doesn't erase the gnawing feeling of unease that there surely is more than the fa├žade. And then you worry if a trilogy can answer all of your questions. But maybe it's just me and my impatience.

Questioning the existence and purpose of the characters is, of course, a major mover of this novel. It was just surprising, however, that the narrative flow of Pure confuses me when it has the same one as Game of Thrones.

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