Pressia was only a young child the day of the Detonations. The day that changed the world forever. Those inside the dome were protected but the masses left outside were irrevocably changed; the combination of radiation and nanotechnology leaving them fused with their surroundings. When Pressia turns sixteen, she is expected to join the OSR, a militia intent on taking over the dome and the Pures inside but like everyone else her age, she will do whatever she can to avoid them.
Julianna Baggott has created a dark and oppressive world in Pure. Pressia’s hand has been fused with the doll she was holding when the detonations happened. Bradwell shares his back with a flock of birds. El Captian and his brother now share the same body. It’s a book in which physical perfection has little bearing. Where Patridge is a Pure from the dome, his appearance is more shocking to the so-called wretches who only have the memories of what their bodies were like in the Before.
Whilst told in third person narrative, the story does jump between perspectives and it took me a while to get into the story. There is quite a lot to take in, especially in a world so changed from ours. I also over-though the detonations; at first I assumed they were nuclear bombs and the fusings and resulting DNA mutations didn’t quite make sense. However, a brief pseudo-science explanation is given, that there was nanotechnology combined in the bombs, partly designed to regenerate tissue and to do something a bit vague with DNA. If you don’t think about it too much you’ll be fine!
Once I got into the story, I didn’t want to put it down. The post-apocalyptic world is more than just a setting for a coming of age story. In fact, I think Pressia has already grown up very much before this story starts. It’s not reliant on romance to drive the plot. It is about relationships under extreme conditions; loyalties and sacrifices. When to be selfish and when to fight for something bigger. I did think Partridge was a bit stupid at times, but he has had a sheltered existence and it probably suits his character.
It’s one of those books that treads the line between YA and adult fiction. I would certainly recommend to those who wouldn’t normally pick up a YA book. I’m excited to read the next instalment, Fuse, but not because Pure has a non-ending. In fact, it’s been the first time in ages that I haven’t been annoyed by the ending of book one in a trilogy!
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