Pure by Julianna Baggott is a post apocalyptic-come-dystopian gem. I headed into it blind and with no expectations and found myself immediately drawn into this well-crafted world. After a ‘detonation’ has left the earth a shadow of its former self, the residents still left standing—none of them (at least, those outside of ‘the dome’) intact—are left to fend for themselves in a new order of life. And said new order involves adhering to rules and regulations, teenagers being rounded up once they ‘come of age’, killing for sport, hunger and desperation, manipulation, and living in fear but also in hope.
It ‘appears’ that the only ones who’re safe are those living within the dome—a structure created prior to the blast that ‘some more fortunate’ characters managed to reach in time to save themselves from the fallout. And of those existing outside of the dome? There isn’t a perfectly human specimen left amongst them. Some have merged with the earth, some with animals, some with inanimate objects. It’s a refreshing read indeed where pretty much every character, bar one, that the author wants the reader to fall in love with is scarred/deformed/mutated—even more so as, other than the references to their physical imperfections, those unnatural aspects of them are so much a part of the character that the reader 100% sees the character as a whole much more than concentrating on their irregularities. And I loved this. I loved that we’re given a bunch of folk who are disturbingly ‘messed up’, yet I still loved them, still found myself endeared or attracted to them, still found them (*cough* Bradwell *cough*) beautiful in my mind’s eye—and I definitely found them intriguing. It’s a great reminder that beauty comes from within, and within the pages of Pure, it’s also very well handled.
Oh, and those abovementioned mutations? They’re horrifying. Like, scary horrifying.
So enough about the characters, what about the world building? I can’t praise it enough. It’s well thought out, well woven, seriously well described, and not a moment passed within the book that I didn’t understand what the author was trying to plant in my head. Think Hunger Games level of world building and you’ve about hit the nail on the head for that in Pure.
And the plot itself? Well, I’m not actually going to delve into that other than to say it’s a goodie. Because there are (as stated above) manipulations and double crossing and family secrets and twists and turns, and whilst this isn’t a fast read by any means—what book with big world building ever is—I found the closer I got to the action, the faster I ploughed through the pages, and the closer I got to the end and the reveals, the more eager the pace became to keep nudging me along.
In short: great world building, great descriptions, great characterisations, great twists and turns, and I’m really looking forward to reading Fuse.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinion.