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Book Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Pure by Julianna Baggott

Pub. Date: 2nd February 2012 (UK) 8th February 2012 (US)
Publisher: Headline (UK) Grand Central Publishing (US)
Pages: 448
Series: Pure (#1)
Readership: Adult fiction
Genres: Science fiction, dystopia, post-apocalyptic 
Rating:
★★★★½

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.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me this book for review!

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7 comments on “Book Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

  1. [...] ★★★★½ Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews Legend by Marie Lu Pure by Julianna Baggott [...]

  2. [...] Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood Pure by Julianna Baggott Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde Sister by Rosamund [...]

  3. [...] Pure by Julianna Baggott I originally wasn’t going to put Pure on my list because I gave it 4 stars, but only because I didn’t realise it wasn’t a standalone novel. After thinking about it more, Pure deserves to be here. I remember being really excited about it when I’d finished and eagerly looked up the book trailer, which is absolutely fantastic and I hope that the movie adaptation does it justice. It reminded me why dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels are so exciting and I cannot wait to read the sequel, Fused. [...]

  4. [...] by Julianna Baggott Pure was one of my favourite post-apocalypic books of 2012 and although I would have preferred it to be [...]

  5. [...] is the second book in the Pure trilogy, so you may not want to keep reading this review if you’ve not read the first book, [...]

  6. I don’t get it. It’s a YA or a Adult Fiction?

    • Both. Its characters are teenagers – and it touches on issues common in YA – but it also reads like adult fiction. It’s marketed as both in the UK (and has two different covers). I think it’s marketed as adult in the US, but I haven’t double-checked. I see it as adult fiction.

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