Wow. I don't even... I mean, there's just so much to...
I don't even know where to begin, seriously.
I guess I'll just start by saying this book is so...gross
. That's it, this book is gross. And frightening. It's everything Anna Dressed in Blood wishes it was—disgusting and terrifying. I mean, homicidal ghosts? Pshh. That's child's play. But post-apocalyptic life with all the food shortages, diseases, no order, no normalcy, mutants—like really nasty looking mutant-y mutants—and horrible ways to die around every corner? Now that's what I call pants-peeing, nightmare-inducing, huddle-in-corner-crying-out-for-your-momma scary. As far as I'm concerned that's not a bad thing.
Funny thing is, this cover did not in any way prepare me for the demented, never-ending county fair Fun House I entered. I mean, it looks so innocent, doesn't it? All pretty-like with a sophisticated font and gorgeous sapphire-blue butterfly. It looks like a fairly tame book about something fresh and...pure
, am I right? Probably something about Soul Mates and rainbows and unicorns. You know, the sort of cutesy idealized thing that typically makes me want to chuck a book across a room.
But it's so
not the sort of book I'd end up throwing at a wall.
(I figured out there is a reason for that, by the way, the whole innocent-looking-on-the-outside-but-jacked-up-on-the-inside thing this book has going for it, but that's not something I'm going to discuss right now.)
I want to give Pure more stars because, story-wise, it is pretty enjoyable, for the most part. And the gross-out factor is off the charts aaaaa-mazing, same goes for the scare factor. But did Julianna Baggott write a five-star worthy read? Not so much. I mean, sure, when it comes to recent YA genre dystopias/post-apocalyptic books Pure is sort of up there with The Hunger Games and Ship Breaker, beating out all of the other competition.
But...truthfully? I wasn't so wholly invested that I was able to overlook all the sciencefail!
And it's not like I'm one of those people who find it difficult to suspend disbelief. I read plenty of books with ridiculous and often impossible story lines and I'm able to believe those just fine. It's just, for whatever reason, there was much that didn't work for me because the author didn't sell it correctly, or whatever.
For example there is this one character that somehow knows everything about everything, even taught himself how to read Japanese. Keep in mind said character raised himself in a post-apocalyptic hellhole from the time he was nine years old. I mean, come on!
The world as we know it has ended, death and destruction and scary mutants are everywhere. And you want me to believe some little kid who is taking care of himself is like "Gee, I sure miss everything. I think I'll teach myself how to read Japanese because it might actually come in handy some day. You know, since Japanese, above all other languages, is the one I'm most-likely going to need to know how to read."
No! I don't buy it. Orphan boy be learning how to fend for himself in a cruel every-mutant-for-himself world, not teaching himself how to read Japanese OR study nanotechnology in-depth.
And at no point during this book does the reader learn how our world got from how things are currently to some crazy-go-nuts über-religious society that shuns modern feminism in favor of some brand of not-feminist feminism and eventually blows itself to high hell. This bugs me.
If I were to be completely honest, for whatever reason I couldn't stop thinking about one of my favorite children's books of all time while I was reading Pure. It's called Everyone is Different written by Strong Bad
. If you don't know what book I'm talking about go read it
, I'll wait right here.
Are you done? Great book, right?
Anyway, Pure is pretty much the same as Everyone is Different. I mean, you know, basically
. Maybe there isn't any squirrel-handedness going on in Pure but there sure is a lot of doll-head-handedness and bird-backedness going on. Instead of characters being fangoriously devoured by a gelatinous beast there's a lot of characters being fangoriously devoured by dust-beasts and other such mutants. There are weird names, like Partridge and Pressia and El Capitan. Some characters are tall and merciless. Some characters are about to be hit by cars, and other characters who have rigged the "enemy base" with explosives. There may even be a point in which no two characters are NOT on fire.
I wish I could give this book four or five stars, but I can't. That said, I still do like it and I'm going to recommend it to anyone looking for a disgusting post-apocalyptic read. Three stars.