38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird, Wonderful, Wild
This one's going to stay with me for a very long time. I already know this because the images from Pure by Julianna Baggott are seared into my mind--wildly disturbing, absorbing, imaginative, freakish. This is a dystopian unlike most others out there, and I'm hooked.
Pure is the story of almost sixteen year old Pressia, who has lived for the nine years since...
Published 21 months ago by Tamela Mccann
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nagging in the back of my mind
I did not enjoy Pure. Almost the entire time I was reading it I kept having a vague feeling that I'd already read this novel. I hadn't, but the ideas are so typical to this type of post-apocalyptic story that I just felt like nothing was new to me. I finally went and googled a book that I'd recalled reading maybe ten years ago and found "The Last Book in the Universe"...
Published 12 months ago by Travis
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird, Wonderful, Wild,
This review is from: Pure (The Pure Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What's this?)This one's going to stay with me for a very long time. I already know this because the images from Pure by Julianna Baggott are seared into my mind--wildly disturbing, absorbing, imaginative, freakish. This is a dystopian unlike most others out there, and I'm hooked.
Pure is the story of almost sixteen year old Pressia, who has lived for the nine years since the world ending/changing Detonations with her grandfather in a small barbershop in what's left of America. Those who survived the Detonations were fused to whatever they happened to be touching at the moment the bright light exploded, so Pressia's right hand is now the head of the baby doll she was holding and her grandfather has a small fan stuck in his throat. The two have been foraging for their lives, knowing that when Pressia turns sixteen, the dreaded OSR soldiers will be coming for her (for whatever purpose they deem). It is this knowledge that leads Pressia to Bradwell, a fellow survivor with birds actually living in his back, and ultimately to El Capitan, an OSR officer whose younger brother has fused to him. Meanwhile, there are a select few who have survived unscathed--Pure--in the Dome; Partridge, son of one of the leaders, feels certain his mother survived the Detonations outside the Dome and he becomes determined to find her, even if it means leaving his sanctuary. All of these lives intersect, combine, and impact one another throughout the most vivid landscape and people I've read about in quite a while.
Pure is not without its faults; its present tense writing annoys and the improbability of people fusing to items as varied as animals, metal, plastic, and land kept nagging me. Still, if you put aside the illogic, this is a story whose characters are truly the stars. Pressia is a flawed heroine whose loyalty ties her to people and places that may not be the best, but she is a determined, tortured soul. Partridge's escape and his focus on finding his family leads to layers of backstory being exposed, and while most of it is predictable, it's still exciting and fresh. El Capitan and Helmud are going to haunt me for a long time, with their shared body being both burden and sacrifice. In fact, there's not one character anywhere to be found whom I will be able to forget: Illia, the wife covered in a full body skin stocking, the Dust which lies in wait to capture unsuspecting humans for consumption, the Good Mother who demands a tall sacrifice from the Pure Partridge. All so vividly writtenly that my mind's eye has them literally fused inside my head.
This is a unique story and one I can recommend to those who like dystopias, but don't go into it thinking there is going to be a huge romance or an easy path. By the time this trilogy is done, I wouldn't be surprised to see Pressia and her friends as leaders of the Dome or as dead legacies. It could definitely go either way, but I know it's going to be interesting. This one's actually a strong 4.5 stars, marked down only because of the totally unnecessary use of present-tense. I'm going to be waiting anxiously for the next in the series.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nagging in the back of my mind,
This review is from: Pure (The Pure Trilogy) (Paperback)I did not enjoy Pure. Almost the entire time I was reading it I kept having a vague feeling that I'd already read this novel. I hadn't, but the ideas are so typical to this type of post-apocalyptic story that I just felt like nothing was new to me. I finally went and googled a book that I'd recalled reading maybe ten years ago and found "The Last Book in the Universe" which is of a similar vein to this story, maybe that is what was tickling my memory.
Spoiler at the bottom for the most messed up thing about this book.
Anyway, the story itself could be great because the "fuse" thing really is interesting. I feel the need to mention that one of the other reviewers on here says something about "What if the birds fused to the boy's back die?" But the author reveals pretty early on that all the animals fused to people will live until that person dies and vice versa, it will kill the people to cut those creatures off. I say 'could be great' because the pace kills this story. 479 pages later and you've made no real leap into the story at all. A few things happen that you've guessed will happen since about page 30, so that is nice. No real surprises in the story though, even the small twists and turns that come unexpectedly still give ample warning before anything actually happens with them. The reason why nothing happens? Because on this Amazon page it clearly states that this is part of Trilogy not yet written. I bought this as a paperback off the shelf at the local book store and nowhere on the back, front, or lead in pages to the first chapter does it say ANYTHING about this not being a standalone novel. There is no clue whatsoever that you aren't actually getting a full story. Besides the book obviously just stopping without any sort of resolution, the only clue you have that there will be another book coming is the last page, "The End of Book One" written at the bottom. I cannot stand starting a trilogy only to have to wait a year or two for the next book, forget to check when it actually releases for a book like this where I'm not actively anticipating the next one, and end up not getting it until so long down the road that I don't remember any of the subtle plot points that the author will most definitely touch back upon in the next book which means I either read it and skim over the stuff that doesn't make sense because I don't remember the first book and thus lose out a little on the story, or else go back and read this book again before reading the next. For this book, that is definitely not happening. Too high a stack of books still to read and too many good ones coming out in the future to bother with all that jazz.
In the end, if you like books set in these sort of worlds, give it a whirl, as long as you're aware that it is part of a trilogy that hasn't been fully written yet, and the characters a little shallow. ***SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER*** - I waited for awhile to add the spoiler so people don't accidentally read it. Not a huge giveaway but you don't find out for awhile in the story and some people are picky. If you want to know about shallow characters, there is a soldier in this book and we read from his point of view a few times. I quote here: "El Capitan wants to kill a Pure. It's a simple desire as ordinary and forceful as hunger." We learn about how El Capitan is a survivalist above all else. We learn about how he is sometimes ordered to hunt people for fun and does it, and even tests mutated foods on captives to see what he can eat and what will kill him. We learn that he really, really wants to kill a Pure, someone from the Dome. However, this girl, Pressia, is put in charge of him and immediately from there on out he is on her side. We are given a very crappy paragraph about how El Capitan accepts that he won't get to kill a Pure because that is actually who he works for, but at any point after this in the story he could betray Pressia and disappear. His survival instinct has been beaten to death before this. Nope, El Capitan risks his life for Pressia multiple times and even comes back to save her when he could just let her die, maybe on a stretch you could tie a link to the fact that he is supposed to aid her...but if she dies on the mission and no one else is there to see it, wouldn't El Capitan let that happen and not risk himself? There's also no real redemption scene for El Capitan to make you understand why he continues to help Pressia, even after he finds out she's gonna do her own thing. It's about the same as a man repeating the phrase, "I hate kittens" over and over again as he hugs a thousand kittens to his chest and fills his house full of fake mice and scratching logs at great personal expense.
24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful images make this an unforgettable read.,
This review is from: Pure (The Pure Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What's this?)It's been a while since a book made me stay up late just to see what happens next, especially an end of the world, dystopian tale. I've read quite a few, and I have felt that this genre has been fast going the way of the vampires, werewolves, and zombies. So many new releases seem to be following the same formula, with little invention and little reliance on strong character development. Pure is a delightful exception. This is a masterpiece of descriptive writing, with the author creating some of the most powerful images I have ever encountered in this kind of story, or any other.
Pure takes the reader's ingrained fear of nuclear holocaust and gives it a grisly tweak. Add to that an almost(but not quite) unbelievable tale of human corruption, and the stage is set for a story that is brilliantly paced, and filled with so many moments where I had to stop reading just to take a deep breath that I couldn't begin to count them all. This story is at it's best when it's describing the moment. If any fault can be found, it's when the author delves into the past to describe the society that existed prior to the detonations. I was often left wanting more information, however I suspect that many blanks will be filled in with books two and three of this planned trilogy.
This book is filled with complex, fascinating characters that are believable and only serve to further pull you in to this often horrific tale. The main characters and the supporting cast are all given the kind of detailed attention that makes their situations seem more dire and their triumphs and failures more profound. Both their inner dialogues and interactions are very well done and easy to relate to.
The science in Pure is fascinating to consider, as are the social questions the author deftly interweaves within the story. This is a book sure to prompt lots of discussion, and will hold both older teen and adult readers rapt. I don't think I will forget this story, as it stands head and shoulders above a very crowded genre.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just stay away.,
This review is from: Pure (The Pure Trilogy) (Hardcover)This is quite possibly the absolute worst book I have ever read. I've said that before, but I'm confident that this one takes the cake. Instead of reading this, go watch Total Recall 2070. It's a lot shorter and a better movie than this book was - and that is saying something.
This book is trying WAY too hard to be dark, gritty and awesome all at the same time. It only succeeded in being dark, disgusting, and weird. Also confusing - too many characters, too many different viewpoints being introduced at completely random times.
All of the characters read exactly the same - there is no way to distinguish them from any other character except for the mentions of their mutations. And mutations are mentioned constantly, to the point where it gets distracting and irritating. The scene that bothered me most was when the characters met "The Mothers," which are women with their babies, toddlers and children fused to their bodies. I felt like each new character was introduced with a grosser mutation, like it was some kind of weird contest where the author wanted to come up with the craziest things she could think of.
The thing is, I like dystopian novels. I love post-apocalyptic survival type books. I love sci-fi stories. This book was a disappointment to all those genres. I can say one nice thing about Pure: I couldn't stop thinking about it. Mostly because I was so angry about the whole thing, but there you go. It sticks with you like a terminal illness.
If you choose to read this book, be aware that in addition to the graphic-ness, there's also quite a lot of language/swearing. In my opinion, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. Or at least anyone under 16.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gave me a new appreciation on everyday life,
This review is from: Pure (The Pure Trilogy) (Hardcover)Pure, by Julianna Baggott, tells the story of two teens and a shattered world. Pressia survives in the ruins of the nuclear bombing; among burned, fused and mutated beings. Partridge is a Pure, living in the controlled and monitored environment inside the protective dome, along with the others that were lucky enough to be shielded from the bombs. Partridge is convinced his mother is alive somewhere in the ashes outside the dome, and he escapes knowing he may never come back. Pressia is hiding; she now has reached the age where the militia, or OSR, must capture her to either be trained or die.
Pure is well written, with lots of attention to detail. The book starts out a bit slow in the beginning but soon grabs your attention and quickens the pace. Flashbacks of everyday moments such as birthdays, barbeques and movie theaters from the "before" (before the bombing) gave me a new perspective on everyday life taken for granted. Pure gave me an appreciation of what I have and the world I live in. I was a little confused as to the location of where Pure is supposed to take place. I don't know if this was a conscious decision by the author, but I was just wondering what was supposed to be happening in other places in the world. Pure is not as action-packed as I would have liked; it has more inner and emotional struggle. Pure has a quiet air to it, like the silent desolate world it takes place in. I thought the characters were well developed and lifelike. Overall, I thought Pure was fresh, unpredictable and compelling. Pure is a book that made me think.
I would recommend this book to boys and girls ages 12 and up. Pure is the first book in a planned trilogy and I look forward to reading the next one.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise, but frenetic plot,
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This review is from: Pure (The Pure Trilogy) (Paperback)This should have been a great novel. The premise was very interesting - the fusing of things when the detonations hit was extremely clever. The dome vs. outside had the potential to be great, interesting, etc., but it wasn't. By the time I reached the end of the book, I was flying through the pages just to be able to say that I had finished it. I think what I had the most trouble with were the numerous points of view. When you are dealing with that many different characters I would imagine that it would be difficult to fully develop the characters and that was very apparent in this story. The characters by themselves were interesting, El Capitan with his fused brother for example, but the plot was so scattered that by the time I got to his POV I didn't care. The same with Lyda in the dome - it was interesting by itself, but when set against and with the rest of the book I was confused and quite frankly annoyed with her part. She and Partridge seem to have this connection that was completely undeveloped and way too convenient for the sake of the story. My daughter got halfway through this book and gave it back to me saying she couldn't finish it. She NEVER does that - she finishes all her books. I asked her what the problem was and she couldn't really express it and I guess I feel the same. I really wanted to like this story . . .
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Star Wars in a dystopian world... with some funky science,
This review is from: Pure (The Pure Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)I have a good blogger friend who highly recommended this book to me, and thus, it's been on my to read list for quite some time.
Pure by Julianna Baggott follows several characters, but the main trio is composed of Pressia, Bradwell, and Partridge in their journey in a post-apocalyptic YA tale. The setup is pretty horrific-- we have humans that have been fused to other humans, animals, plants, and inanimate objects. In fact, Pressia has a fused doll's head instead of a hand. Each of these protagonists come from different backgrounds, but band together to figure out the truth behind their world and themselves.
I can see why my friend liked it. The author has great creativity. I cringed at a lot of the descriptions. The characters overall were likeable and compelling, my favorite being the very complex and twisted character of El Capitan. There are moments of beauty in the prose and each chapter feels very complete.
That said, there are a few reasons I decided to give it three stars. First, is my issue with the science. If this was a grotesque fantasy world with no real world reason to back it up, fine. But I can't wrap around an atomic bomb causing everyone to fuse to something else but either completely losing their humanity or staying separate entities, just fused together (for example, a mother fused to the baby, both were alive, separate entities like Siamese twins). I tried to suspend my belief, but I struggled through most of the book because of this. Second, the book dragged a lot. Even though this is a horrific world, and our characters get attacked pretty frequently, the actual plot can be honed down to a few paragraphs. And the plot-- it's unfortunate, but this story is Star Wars in a dystopian YA. I could match up all the characters and plot lines and could sometimes hear the Darth Vader tune in the background.
Overall, because of some great characters and creative world building, I can see how this book appealed to some readers, but unfortunately for me, because of the aforementioned issues, it never completely won me over.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Disturbing Book I've Read in 2012,
This review is from: Pure (The Pure Trilogy) (Hardcover)This was without a doubt the most disturbing book that I have read thus far in 2012. Maybe that's why it took me months to actually sit down and write this review. I just didn't (and still don't) know how to put all of my thoughts and feelings about this one into words.
I'll start off by saying that I almost DNFed this one and that would have been a horrible mistake. After reading the first few chapters, I was not only deeply disturbed but also completely unable to reconcile this book with any version of "reality" that my imagination could conjure. The fusions, the groupies, the dusts...it was all just so completely unbelievable that I almost gave up on the book entirely.
After giving it a bit more time though, and convincing myself to suspend disbelief, I was able to fully appreciate the amazing creativity, character development and world building that Baggott has to offer. The characters including Pressia, Partridge, El Capitan, and Helmud are complex and compelling. The world is dark and frightening and more horrid than your worst nightmare could ever be.
This really is one that needs to be read rather than described. Pure is 100% original and 100% terrifying. Baggott shows us a stark picture of what humanity is really capable of inflicting on each other and the lengths that some will go to ensure their own "standards." Thankfully, she balances that by also showing us the strength, conviction and hope that humans also possess and which may truly be our only salvation in a possible tomorrow that could be only one small step away from the post-apocalyptic literature of today.
NOTE: I recieved a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Drowned in Descriptions,
This review is from: Pure (The Pure Trilogy) (Hardcover)Pure starts of frustratingly slow and secretive. We're leaked bits and pieces about the world in which Pressia lives, but these clues do little answer any questions about how the world has reached it's current state. Other then deducing that there was some kind of nuclear explosion, laced with fusion-causing nanobytes, many things are left completely unexplained for the majority of the book. When is this taking place? Is it supposed to be a few years in to our futures, or is it set in the far-distant future? Why was the Dome created at all, if those in charge weren't aware of an impending nuclear attack? How did those in the Dome manage to get in to the Dome, if the attack wasn't predetermined? Even with the addition of certain nanobytes, why would a nuclear-like blast fuse people to the objects they were near instead of incinerating them completely? How can an organic being fuse with something inorganic and become more object then being? Why would the buildings of a city survive (albeit, in pieces) when situated at the centre of the explosion, but things become more desolate and barren further from the epicentre? Wouldn't it make more sense for things to be most destroyed at the centre? These questions kept distracting me from the plot, making my reading experience less enjoyable.
The plot is virtually nonexistent until more then halfway through the book. Much is built up, the OSR or Project Phoenix for example, only to later serve no purpose. Baggott is amazingly descriptive, bringing life to the fused monstrosities of her world and the barren landscapes that exist in a constant shroud of ash, but her vivid scenery takes too much away from the plot, making it stagnant. I found myself skimming sections several times, as it was just more of the same. I actually began to dislike Baggott's ability to truly capture a description with her words, because there was so much of it.
The characters were all a little dull, and I couldn't relate to any of them. They all seemed afflicted by ADD as their thoughts seemed quite scattered, especially considering the circumstances they at times found themselves in. It was almost like we bore witness to every single thought that went through their minds, which was at best confusing, and at worst distracting. These scattered thoughts would branch off in to full-fledged tangents and I would forget what was actually happening, until they returned to reality and were forced to deal with the situation at hand. I had a hard time fearing for Pressia's life, for example, when every time she was faced with a life-threatening situation, all she could think about was whether or not her memories of her trip to Disneyland, or how her father smelled, were valid. I felt like a lot of the secondary characters, similar to some of the plot points mentioned and then forgotten, served no real purpose other then to add superfluous content. The numerous points of view were also unnecessary, as I learned nothing from either El Capitan or Lyda that was significant in progressing the plot.
I feel liked Pure tried to be thought-provoking, touching on a couple of "controversial" themes: 1) the treatment of others who are different; and 2) the regression of woman's rights within the Dome. The problem I had with Pure was that it never took a firm stance on either subject. Those who segregated themselves from those who were different were the characters who seemed to prosper, and those who were different seemed to worship those who remained "Pure". And even though it was only ten years since the explosion(s), within the Dome women accepted that they were either deemed fit for motherhood (or not) and were comfortable with their government sanctioned women-appropriate activities, like basket weaving. Outside the Dome, however, Pressia and Partridge both comment on how beautiful things can be, because of their differences, and we see that one of the most powerful and revered organizations is a group of ex-housewives, led by the "Good Mother". I kept waiting for Pure to take a firm stance on either subject, and was disappointed by its lack of backbone.
The ending was rushed and chaotic. There was a nice mix of both predictable and unpredictable plot twists, and the pacing increased to full speed. Unfortunately, it was too little too late. More information is dumped on us, but its done in such a way that it leaves many new questions unanswered. Almost nothing is actually resolved, and though the characters talk about a future like there's hope, their situation leaves a lot to be desired.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A gritty combination of fantasy and science fiction, with flawed characters who face hard challenges.,
This review is from: Pure (The Pure Trilogy) (Hardcover)Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: A gritty combination of fantasy and science fiction, with flawed characters who face hard challenges as the reader grows to love them.
Opening Sentence: Pressia is lying in the Cabinet.
Don't get intimidated by the prologue. Baggott throws her readers into Pure's world headfirst, but it all clears up reasonably fast once you read the first chapter or so. This novel is a fantasy-science fiction, making for a stunning and intense read. This isn't a normal young adult novel. The world is devastated, people are suffering, and Baggott doesn't pull her punches. People are literally putting themselves back together, so before you pick Pure make sure you've prepared your heart to go through the twister.
Our two main protagonists are Pressia, our 16 year old heroine living on the outside, and Partridge, the hero desperate to escape his unmarred life in the Dome. I didn't like Pressia at first, but grew to love her as the novel went on. Partridge's quest for his mother was one I fell into much faster, and as a hero I found his character very satisfying. There are a lot of POVs in Pure, however, and while each character is unique enough to hold their own, getting to know each took time and pages. All these broken characters kept the emotional tension ratcheted up, but slowed the novel down. On the flip side, I can't see the novel told any other way. In Pure there is a thin thread that connects all the characters together, and I have to admit there is a special place in my heart for author's who can do it so perfectly.
The book is character driven. It's lethargic and slow in a lot of places, tense and heart wrenching in others. On the whole, the book might have been too long for a novel so intense. It became hard towards to end to pick up Pure, knowing how I'd end up feeling when I put it down. This isn't a novel you can read in one sitting, if only because it is slow and long and the plot doesn't keep you hooked the whole way through. The moments when Pure managed to surprise me are by far my favorite, but they weren't often.
One thing I really liked about Pure was the way Baggott treats her readers. She assumes your intelligent enough to pick up on little things, to live in her world beside our protagonists, and because of that the novel moves along at a rapid click. This is a sinister science fiction, made all the more so by the gritty writing Baggott immerses us in through the multi-POVs.
The novel isn't preachy, but the reader should be warned that there's lots of long, drawn out conversations between the characters about war and atomic bombs, which I found them mostly boring instead of philosophically eye-opening. Basically, the theme of Pure is that it's a gorgeously written, stunning science fiction-fantasy that's too long and drawn out to keep me engaged for the whole novel.
FTC Advisory: Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group provided me with a copy of Pure. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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Pure (The Pure Trilogy) by Julianna Baggott (Hardcover - February 8, 2012)