Review: Pure

I said I’d do a mini review and ended up doing a full one instead… whoops!

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Title: Pure
Author: Julianna Baggott
Series: Pure (Book One)

Who’s it for? Older teens. It’s graphic and at times a little confusing.

What’s it about? The deathly house all fell down. The sick souls wander ’round and ’round.

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations. But, living amongst the devastation, every day a dangerous struggle for the survivors who are marked by their fused, burnt, damaged bodies, she is starkly aware of what has been lost.

Burn a pure and breathe the ash…

Partridge is one of the lucky few sheltered inside the Dome. They escaped the apocalypse unmarked, pure. But he doesn’t feel safe. Smothered by the rigid order of the Dome’s regime, he suspects all is not as it seems.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their world shatter all over again.


What was good about it? This book is unnerving. It’s shocking, disgusting and has some of the most visceral descriptions I’ve read in a long time. It makes for a rich world of mutants, people who are fused to inanimate objects – like Pressia, who has a dolls head for a hand or Bradwell who has live birds fused into his back. Yes, you did read that right. The birds are still alive. In this world the people who lived through the detonations are all marked by it, some forever joined to the person or animal they were stood beside. And  yes, if two people were fused together, they’re both still alive.Some of the descriptions are pretty horrific. But it’s meant to be. I really enjoyed it.

It was completely and utterly not what I was expecting. I bought this one a whim, had it pegged as a standard YA Dystopia especially with the ‘Love The Hunger Games Love Pure’ on the front cover. It was a pleasant surprise though to discover otherwise, but it’s not an easy read.

What was bad about it? I had a love/hate relationship with the writing style. I really enjoyed the description of the world Pressia and Partridge live in, but I wasn’t a fan of the switching perspectives. Especially as at a couple of points the perspective shifts mid chapter and it did get a little confusing.

Plot wise things are a little convenient. The trail Partridge follows, for example, relies on an awful amount of coincidences and people turning up at the perfect moment. This is addressed in the plot, but I personally wasn’t fully satisfied with it. That, however, could just be me.

Disbelief must be suspended because there is a lot in this plot that really strains it.

The verdict? Overall, I really enjoyed this. I loved the premise, I loved the world it’s set in, with all the little details (although on the flipside there were some gaping holes that I’m wondering if they’ll be addressed in the sequels). Yes, certain events were a little too neat, but I did like all the characters – even if the descriptions made me pause.

Why did I pause? Because I could see it all clearly in my head and I was fighting the urge to scream. It wasn’t a book I was able to read quietly. One moment, which I did not see coming at all, shocked me so much I did actually cry out.

This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. It get twisted and dark and I think there may be a few readers who will quietly put it down and not pick it up again. And yes, it does take a little while to get into. But ultimately, I really enjoyed it and I’m quite glad I’ve got the sequel Fuse sitting ready and waiting on my shelf.

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