Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Author: Julianna Baggott
Publisher: Grand Central
Publication Date: February 8, 2012
Reviewer: Jacob (12)
Rating: 4 1/2 Cheeseburgers
This book is a gripping and exciting, if rather disturbing, post-apocalyptic novel. It's about a girl named Pressia who is trying to survive with her family after the Detonations, where huge non-nuclear but insanely powerful explosives light up the world. Everyone caught in the blasts is either killed or they have strange deformations where objects around them warped and fused to them. Pressia has a doll head fused to her hand. These people are called wretches.
There are normal people left, though. They're called Pures, and they live in a giant dome with climate control, and a controlled social environment. Another character comes into play, named Partridge. He's been told that his mother is dead, and believes that, out in the wrecked and burned world, he will find her somehow.
In addition to all this, there is a place outside the wrecked city, called the deadlands. It is inhabited by Dusts, unfortunate people whose very molecules fused to the dirt and dust, and are now monsters who wait for a passerby, then drag them into the ground and eat them. A boy is wounded by one and becomes stiff, his mouth foams, and after a couple of days dies.
As if things weren't bad enough, an organization called the OSR comes into play just after the blasts. They were originally Operation Search and Rescue, but are now Operation Sacred Revolution, and little more than terrorists, who hunt defenseless wretches for fun in a massive tribal hunting game that comes every two months or so.
For Partridge, getting out from the dome is far from easy. There is heavy security, but he escapes through the ventilation system. Pressia's world is turned sideways (it's already upside-down) when he runs into her. Partridge is now in trouble, because the Pures are despised among the wretches. They haven't been through what the Wretches have. Even children sing rhymes about killing Pures and using their body parts as common household items. He joins forces with Pressia, along with another boy called Bradwell, who has birds fused to his back. But everything is screwed up when Pressia is kidnapped by the OSR. She only survives because they want her to be trained as an officer. She is trained by a man named El Capitan, who has his own brother fused to his back. His brother is little more than a shell, just repeating what everyone else says. She learns the brutality of OSR life when El Capitan shoots a lone Wretch casually.
Meanwhile Bradwell and Partridge, who don't always get along, look in the Meltlands for help from Our Good Mother. The Meltlands used to be a common suburban area, but with the explosions the plastic slides and households melted partially. Our Good Mother is head of a group of parents and children, some of which are fused together. They get advice, but at a cost: to make Partridge truly among the Wretches, they cut off his pinky with a knife.
In conclusion, Pure is a great book, but it shook me a little and was kind of scary. I really don't recommend it for anyone who is disturbed or grossed out easily, or for anyone younger than 11 or so, but I think readers of Hunger Games and stuff like that will like it.