Date Published: January 30, 2012
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It took some adjusting to get used to this authors style of writing and the concept of the world he created. The concept of the story was actually really interesting and once you started learning about the boundaries and ideas of the world it became easier and more acceptable to understand. Though at times I found myself confused on what was happening I was able to eventually grasp the idea and move forward. It was in the end a fun and fast read and with a little improvement it could become something even more.
The plot was really tricky; there was a ton of sub-plots and conflict all within this story. I felt at times a little overwhelmed on whether I was in one world or the other. But there were definitely some really cool concepts being formed, the world that was building was becoming something in itself…the author was definitely clever when it came to creating a story filled with so many elements and surprises and even when I found it to be disorienting at times I also found myself impressed with the ideas itself. So overall the plot wasn’t fully built on a great foundation and lacked some in but it did have a fascinating storyline and followed along each plot point.
There were some characters that lacked the “touch”. Though they had potential to be a great asset to the story they lacked an important element. They also weren’t necessarily flat characters, they did have some life to them it was just like they were a painting and they lacked a certain color. But not all of the characters were that way, Gabe and Ellie were in fact created with some interesting qualities. And though I found Gabe a very weak character in the beginning I also found him to be a bit different as the story progressed. But in all, though the characters weren’t necessarily the winning element to me in this story they did bring some interesting texture to the story.
Gabe transformed the most in this book and I really enjoyed that it wasn’t at all rushed and unbelievable. We were right alongside him as the secrets and ideas were at last uncovered. And with those secrets and ideas coming to the surface Gabe all but had a choice to transform alongside them. As for the other characters there were some smaller and more discreet transformations, I really enjoyed that not all of them changed in this book, it leaves even more room for the characters to grow in the next book to come. And of course there were the characters that didn’t change at all but in my opinion they needed to stay the same, it made the world more real and believable, not everyone’s going to change, sometimes it takes more of destruction to change a person, in all I was pleased with this element of the story.
The description was pretty good throughout the story, at times it was really great, I was really able to picture it, I could just imagine being there, smelling the odors, hearing the sounds, and feeling the overall environment of their world. There were a few places that had a little too much description, it almost overwhelmed me to the point I was tempted to skip over it and move on but in the end that part was a very important part of the story and I can see the need for description. Though I wouldn’t call the description poetic I do think it had a nice smooth flow to it at times, the scenes were really well defined created.
I found the style to be interesting and unique, though I feel this ties closely to what I described about the plot, I did find the style to be hard to adjust to. The flip flopping between the two worlds had rough edges and at times was confusing. But I did enjoy the POV’s I was able to see through, the two minds were so alike but in a way vastly different. This was definitely a one of a kind book.
Quote of the book:
“But it was too late. Whatever had been damned up inside Gabe for so long was coming up and out, and it was not the angry outburst he’d expected. He didn’t know what it was. It was if someone else was speaking, haltingly, and from a remote corner of his aching heart, a truth that he knew only as he heard it spoken.”
In the woods behind the park … buried beneath the ground … a secret waits.
Thirteen-year-old Gabe Wrenn is unsettled by his family’s move to the creepy old house on Byrnmor Street. Even more unsettling is the prospect of being the new kid in school on Monday, and the object of everyone’s gawking stares, when all he wants is to be left alone with his sketchpad.
But unsettled can’t begin to describe how Gabe feels when he first stands in The Woods, an old oak grove bordering the park behind his house, and a mysterious voice summons him to “the Door to the East.” It’s an epileptic hallucination for sure, and another sign that his bullying older brother Sam is right: Gabe’s nothing but a brain-damaged freak.
This opinion is not shared by Ellie Yvonne, the impetuous girl next door. With disturbing conviction, Ellie declares that Gabe’s epilepsy makes him special. It could even be the key to unlocking the secret of the Brynmor Witch’s bramble-choked grave at the heart of The Woods.
I would recommend this book to sci-fi and fantasy fans. This has the elements to make a great fantasy and I think with a little editing it could become a much more rounded and fun read. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who is a light reader; it takes some effort to get into so if you’re one of the readers who reads just to relax this might not be the book for you. In all the ending left me wanting to continue reading this book, it definitely left you questioning on what’s to become of this world. In the end I enjoyed reading this book and it didn’t take me too long to read, this author has some great potential on creating a fun and great fantasy if only a little more practice.
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Published February 8, 2012 by Grand Central Publishing
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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 have never had a harder book to review. While reading this book, knowing I was going to review it, I would fluctuate between 2 and 4 kisses depending on where I was in the book. I guess its just so different than what I had expected. The best way I can describe this book is a mix between The Road (except instead of zombies eating people, its post-nuclear mutants eating people) and Under The Never Sky (where its the people in a dome vs the savages outside it, except this would be less YA and with more death and gore) (see Under the Never Sky review here).
This book is not for everyone. The author creates a world where you can not only see the horrible life that these survivors are living, but you can feel it. in terms of world building, I give this book an A+. The problem is that in a world this horrible I could have done with a little less detail. I don’t need to imagine every mutation on every survivor, every horror, every disgusting detail possible, every possible way to die. I know this world is a horrible place, and the real world has some horrible places as well, but after a point, it felt like the author was trying too hard. Making sure the idea was drilled into your head. I have to add, I cannot believe this book is YA. No, there’s no sex, but still I wouldn’t want to read this as a teen.
But as a book goes, the writing was fabulous. The imagery was wonderfully descriptive. The book was written from 4 points of view. Mostly Pressia and Partridge, but also El Capitan and Lyda in certain parts. I liked the way the book was split, because it gave us different views, and in a book like this, its nice to see from multiple eyes. Pressia and Partridge are pretty easy characters to empathize with, and even El Capitan tugged at my heart. I especially liked Bradwell. He was the only character that I really thought was an interesting, well written, strong character. The one I felt for the most. Lyda, on the other hand, I thought was fairly pointless, and the chapters about her basically bored me. Additionally, her “relationship” with Partridge felt forced. They barely knew each other, but she went through so much for him. I couldn’t believe it.
Overall, it was a wonderfully written book about a horribly depressing subject. It started a little slow but picked up quickly and stayed captivating. I didn’t agree with how easily some of the pieces fit together, but overall it made sense. In the end, though, I was left with questions about the explosion (Did it take out the whole US? Was it just one city? If so, where’s the rest of the help? If it was the whole country, was there only 1 dome? I didn’t really get the point of the explosion in the first place. And a few more questions that would qualify as spoilers.) This book is definitely worth a read, but I could have done with a little less detail and a little more getting to the point.