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Pure | Julianna Baggott | Review

"We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. 

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different.
  He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.  When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again"  - Goodreads

Years ago, a world wide explosion of nanotechnology blasted the earth and fused humans with objects in their surroundings. Known as the Detonations, those unlucky enough to be outside the Dome ended up with deformities, while those inside were kept safe. Pressia lives outside the Dome with her grandfather. Partridge lives inside the Dome with his father.

On her 16th birthday, soldiers come to Pressia to put her into the military, and as she runs from them she crosses paths with Patridge, who has run from his own home inside the Dome in the hopes he will find his mother. Partridge can't survive outside the Dome by himself, and Pressia needs help to avoid being caught by the law. As they work together on their individual missions, they end up diving far deeper into the secrets of the Dome than they ever realised. What they've been told from either side of the Dome is a lie. As we follow the story, we watch them discover the truth from both parties, about the detonations, and the scientists behind them.

As well as a fast-paced story line, what I found really amazing about Pure was Baggott’s imagination. The detonations caused humans to be ‘fused’ with whatever was around them, touching them, or being held by them, at the time of the explosion. Bradwell, a young man who helps Pressie and Patridge, was running through a flock of birds at the time of the Detonations, and now has live birds fused in his back. Pressia, as a young child, was holding a doll at the time, so one of her hands has been fused with the doll’s head. Other characters are fused with actual humans. It's such a unique concept and one I haven't read about before.

One thing I didn't quite get use to was the present tense writing style. I find it hard to get into a book written in present tense at times. What I did enjoy though, was the changing perspectives throughout the story, something that is done rather well in Pure.

With interesting characters, soldiers who have guns fused into their arms, mechanical locusts, poisonous food, a fancy car, and a man called El Capitan, Pure was a good read with a mild cliff hanger ending.

Fuse and Burn follow Pure in the series.

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