Pure by Julianna Baggott

Posted December 30, 2017 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments



by Julianna Baggott

Series: Pure #1
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing on February 8, 2012
Genre: Dystopia, Post-Apoctalyptic, Science Fiction
Target Age Group: New Adult, Young Adult

Rating: ★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

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.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . . 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.


I had such a great conversation about this book with my husband last night.  I have deeply conflicting feelings about Pure.  I really enjoyed it.  It really bothered me.  Matt and I came to the conclusion of:  “It’s interesting, but it doesn’t work, but it’s interesting, but it doesn’t work.”  And we kept going on like that for a while.

Pure is a post-apocalyptic fantasy told in four different voices.  Most of the action takes place in the destroyed world, where survivors are deformed and fused to objects and animals as an effect of detonations (often compared to Hiroshima, so presumably nuclear).  In contrast, there is the Dome.  The Dome, where people were saved and protected before the detonations.  Where the “pures” live.

I was all ready to write a review to tell y’all how much I loved the characters and the story, but how the science didn’t work. I sat on that knife’s edge of so-good-but-does-not-work until the last couple hours of the book. Then, in a quick and careful sentence that would have been easily dismissed if I hadn’t been obsessively waiting for it, everything was cleared up and the world building holes filled.

Pure is a great dystopia.  After The Hunger Games surged to popularity, dystopias were a dime a dozen.  Most of them followed the same outline… we are inside something, we need to escape it.  Most had love triangles.  Pure has sibling relationships, friendships, blossoming relationships, relationships between parents and children.  The world building in it is great.  I loved it up until the very ending.

The ending suddenly changed voices to new ones we hadn’t heard for the entire book.  It felt rushed.  Up to that point, the entire book felt very genuine, choosing not to use too many tropes or cliches, but at the very end I thought things got a little cheesy.  Overall, though, the heroes and villains took different shapes than normal.  Pressia was really interesting.  She was cautious and genuine and a little detached, but in a good way.

This book moves slowly and steadily, but I really recommend giving it a try.  If for no other reason than the world building, which was gritty and fascinating, this is worth reading.  But I liked the characters as well – El Capitan was the standout for me, but they were all really great. Good characters, good plot, INCREDIBLE world.

A pretty awesome book to end the year on and I look forward to reading the second book!

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★ 1/2
Pacing: ★★★ 1/2
Narrator: ★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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2 responses to “Pure by Julianna Baggott

    • Amber

      It’s really so much like a stage play when there are multiple narrators involved! It helps with perspectives as well. She was great. They were all really good on this one.