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Radiant Shadows

Pure (Pure Trilogy)

Pure - Julianna Baggott Pure starts of frustratingly slow and secretive. We're leaked bits and pieces about the world in which Pressia lives, but these clues do little answer any questions about how the world has reached it's current state. Other then deducing that there was some kind of nuclear explosion, laced with fusion-causing nanobytes, many things are left completely unexplained for the majority of the book. When is this taking place? Is it supposed to be a few years in to our futures, or is it set in the far-distant future? Why was the Dome created at all, if those in charge weren't aware of an impending nuclear attack? How did those in the Dome manage to get in to the Dome, if the attack wasn't predetermined? Even with the addition of certain nanobytes, why would a nuclear-like blast fuse people to the objects they were near instead of incinerating them completely? How can an organic being fuse with something inorganic and become more object then being? Why would the buildings of a city survive (albeit, in pieces) when situated at the centre of the explosion, but things become more desolate and barren further from the epicentre? Wouldn't it make more sense for things to be most destroyed at the centre? These questions kept distracting me from the plot, making my reading experience less enjoyable.The plot is virtually nonexistent until more then halfway through the book. Much is built up, the OSR or Project Phoenix for example, only to later serve no purpose. Baggott is amazingly descriptive, bringing life to the fused monstrosities of her world and the barren landscapes that exist in a constant shroud of ash, but her vivid scenery takes too much away from the plot, making it stagnant. I found myself skimming sections several times, as it was just more of the same. I actually began to dislike Baggott's ability to truly capture a description with her words, because there was so much of it. The characters were all a little dull, and I couldn't relate to any of them. They all seemed afflicted by ADD as their thoughts seemed quite scattered, especially considering the circumstances they at times found themselves in. It was almost like we bore witness to every single thought that went through their minds, which was at best confusing, and at worst distracting. These scattered thoughts would branch off in to full-fledged tangents and I would forget what was actually happening, until they returned to reality and were forced to deal with the situation at hand. I had a hard time fearing for Pressia's life, for example, when every time she was faced with a life-threatening situation, all she could think about was whether or not her memories of her trip to Disneyland, or how her father smelled, were valid. I felt like a lot of the secondary characters, similar to some of the plot points mentioned and then forgotten, served no real purpose other then to add superfluous content. The numerous points of view were also unnecessary, as I learned nothing from either El Capitan or Lyda that was significant in progressing the plot.I feel liked Pure tried to be thought-provoking, touching on a couple of "controversial" themes: 1) the treatment of others who are different; and 2) the regression of woman's rights within the Dome. The problem I had with Pure was that it never took a firm stance on either subject. Those who segregated themselves from those who were different were the characters who seemed to prosper, and those who were different seemed to worship those who remained "Pure". And even though it was only ten years since the explosion(s), within the Dome women accepted that they were either deemed fit for motherhood (or not) and were comfortable with their government sanctioned women-appropriate activities, like basket weaving. Outside the Dome, however, Pressia and Partridge both comment on how beautiful things can be, because of their differences, and we see that one of the most powerful and revered organizations is a group of ex-housewives, led by the "Good Mother". I kept waiting for Pure to take a firm stance on either subject, and was disappointed by its lack of backbone.The ending was rushed and chaotic. There was a nice mix of both predictable and unpredictable plot twists, and the pacing increased to full speed. Unfortunately, it was too little too late. More information is dumped on us, but its done in such a way that it leaves many new questions unanswered. Almost nothing is actually resolved, and though the characters talk about a future like there's hope, their situation leaves a lot to be desired.Find this review, and more, on my blog: Radiant Shadows