I had a dream last week that I would like to share with y'all. I'm living my life, doing my thing and my kitty cat scratches my arm. I have the cutest little siamese kitten but damn, his claws are like needles! I washed and for some reason dressed the scratch (I'm not usually one for being over cautious with injuries, I'm too tough for plasters!) but when I went to change the dressing the following day (or whatever. Time passes at an odd rate during dreaming) the scratch had gotten bigger, and had widened too. Over the following days (?) every time I changed the plaster I discovered a worsening wound until it was the length of my forearm and deep as hell. Eventually I removed the bandage and the wound was so large my arm appeared hollowed out, but inside there was no bone, no blood, no pulsing veins. Instead my arm was lined with wires and pipes. It was so vivid I can clearly picture, even a week or so later the horror-story that was my arm filled with foreign materials.
This is Pure. Familiarity lined with the grotesque. Julianna Baggott has created a world that is both our own and very much changed beyond recognition. This really is the best example of world building I have read this year. The world has been torn apart following The Detonations, a series of atomic bombs designed to wipe the earth clean. The bombs triggered catastrophic changes in humanity while the elite sit safe within the confines of their protective dome. Those left exposed to the blasts are horribly deformed, fused to all manner of animate and inanimate objects. Some are living embedded with glass and metal, some have become entangled with animals or even in some cases with the earth itself. It's truly foul to read in places. I have never read a dystopian novel quite like it in it's originality and it's ability to surprise.
Pressia, one of our main characters and our heroine has a doll's head in place of a hand. Pressia takes a while to develop into a rounded, likeable character as she begins the story a little disconnected. However, she is the kind of female lead all YA fiction should possess: she's brave, smart and determined. And she doesn't need saving. I do despair of certain YA heroines. Many are just too drab for words, silly little girls darting around like headless chickens waiting for their tru luv to snatch them from the clutches of evil. Not Pressia. She's kick ass! She may not be the smartest or the most athletic but her sheer determination and grit had me right behind her all the way.
There are so many aspects to the story which are surprising, original and gripping. I literally couldn't put this book down and read it everywhere. It's bleak, it's grim and it's obviously been written with an aim to shock but boy, is it great. There were moments where situations were wrapped up a little too conveniently, characters managed to figure things out with slightly too much ease but honestly, I don't care. I was totally absorbed and entertained by Pure and that's basically all I'm expecting from this genre so who cares about small plot holes and a few illogical leaps? The pace is fantastic, the twist is good. I just really loved it. I'm super excited to read book 2!