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.
Baggott's highly anticipated postapocalyptic horror novel, a dramatic shift from her lighthearted poetry, women's fiction (as Bridget Asher), and children's books, is a fascinating mix of stark, oppressive authoritarianism and grotesque anarchy. Like most survivors of the Detonations, teen Pressia is disfigured, a doll's head fused into the place where her hand should be. She's better off than people who were merged into each other, with animals, or even with the Earth itself, but she's also at risk of being drafted into the paramilitary Operation Sacred Revolution. The few who survived unscathed known as "Pures" live in the Domes, impenetrable arcologies where the few children are forced into rigid training and genetic enhancement. When Partridge, believing his mother to be alive in the wilderness, escapes from a Dome, he's rescued by Pressia. Along with a conspiracy theorist named Bradwell, they gradually discover dark secrets about events on both sides of the Dome walls. Baggott mixes brutality, occasional wry humor, and strong dialogue into an exemplar of the subgenre.
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A darker version of The Hunger Games
If you liked The Hunger Games, you'll like this darker sci-fi version if you can handle the disturbing imagery. The whole time I was reading it, I was imaging the movie. Looking forward to see where book 2 will go.
If you're a fan of hunger games, you'll love this book. Very interesting, can't wait for more!
Most of the characters in this book -- and the animals -- are deformed, usually in some grotesque and horrible way. Honestly, I found the descriptions nauseating, and I normally have a pretty strong stomach. I had to give up reading it after about 80 pages. The story might be great, but I'll never know because I couldn't get past the nightmarish descriptions of the characters and animals.