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A Reader of Fictions: After the Bombs - The Decemberists

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

After the Bombs - The Decemberists

Pure, Book 1

Julianna Baggott
Pages: 448
ARC Acquired from: Grand Central via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
After a series of atomic blasts of varying kinds, the mass of humanity looks exceedingly unfamiliar, rather lucky to have survived at all, though they do not feel that way. What they feel is extraordinarily irritated with and/or jealous of the people in the Dome, the Pures. Aware that this nuclear strike might be coming, the Dome was built so that mankind could survive until it was safe to emerge. Pressia, approaching 16, the age at which kids are either killed off or trained for the military, searches for a way out, hoping desperately to find a way into the Dome. Partridge, on the other hand, the youngest son of the creator of the Dome, wants a way out, so that he can try to learn more about his mother, who, he hopes, may actually still be alive, and so that he can avoid having his behavior programmed.

First of all, I want to point out that, although the main characters are all teenagers, this is not a novel aimed at young adults. While some teens may enjoy it perhaps, the tone and the writing style definitely market towards adults. This change is visible, too, in the romance, which is much darker and less perfect than in most YA dystopias.

Let me discuss that a bit more. Whereas, even in the harshest of dystopias, like The Hunger Games or Battle Royale, people look and act like people, maybe not good ones, but people nonetheless. The violence may be gratuitous and the acts depraved, but, ultimately, the people are, wounds aside, attractive and normal. This is not the case in Pure.

In fact, this is what I liked best about the novel, and this is the part that will stick with me long after I've forgotten most of the plot. The people, the wretches, who were outside when the bombs went off fused to whatever happened to be near them at the time. Obviously, most people did not survive this, but a lot did, but they came out of it looking like something out of a horror movie.

Pressia got off pretty lightly all things considered: scarring on one side of her face and a doll's head fused to one of her hands. El Capitan, one of the heads of the guards that rule the world outside the dome, fused with his brother, Helmud. Mothers who grabbed their children have their kids fused to their legs or breasts. Other people, Dusts, seem to have fused with the ground, the dust, the rocks. (Is it bad that this also makes me think of Sid's toys in Toy Story?)

Now, this does seem somewhat far-fetched to me, but one of the remarkable things about nature is its ability to bounce back. So why not? These fused people (and animals--humans are not the only ones affected by the radiation) are completely terrifying and will haunt me.

What bothered me, though, was the plan that the folks in the Dome had. It doesn't seem like they planned to stay in there for all that long. I thought radiation took a really long time to dissipate...how will they be okay until that time? This wouldn't be Blast from the Past.

All in all, I'm really not entirely sure how I feel about this one. It was a bit of a struggle for me to read. Something about it just didn't mesh with me. Having looked through some reviews on GoodReads, I know I'm not the only one who felt this way. Still, there were some cool things here, and I may read the next book in the series despite my reservations.

Rating: 3/5

"After the bombs
After the bombs

And after the rockets calm
And the glimmer of fire
Portends an early dawn

We pinch at our skin
While we wonder how we
Escaped harm"

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Blogger Nori said...

I'm not sure about this one. It also kind of reminded me of the Simpsons Movie...inside the dome. But, the way you make it sound so harsh actually makes it sound really appealing to me...I wonder what that means.

February 7, 2012 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Karielle Stephanie said...

This one sounds intriguing to me (not to mention the cover's beautiful!). Thanks for your review :)


May 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger Ann Kristin said...

I was pretty excited to read this one, but I just couldn't get into it. Like you say, there are fascinating things in this book, but for me the book just didn't connect. The cover is gorgeous though. :)

May 17, 2012 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I had trouble getting through this one too. I'm still planning to try Fuse, because conceptually Pure was amazing. I just want to see the characters become more likable and the plot move along a bit quicker.

May 18, 2012 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Emma B. said...

I liked the creepy atmosphere of the book. The descriptions definitely gave me the heebie jeebies. But I thought that a lot of the characters were kind of boring, and the hook ups were predictable.

May 27, 2012 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I wasn't even sure if I would want to read book two, but I decided that I will because the world building was so interesting. I would love to see Baggott develop the characters more.

May 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM  

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