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.
-courtesy of Goodreads.com
Now I’ve read books that made my skin crawl but this one had me scrunching up my face the whole time. The reaction of the Detonation caused people to become deformed and their bodies merged with animals, earth, machines or other various inanimate objects. Can you imagine walking with glass embedded in your face or a dog’s body merged with your body? This is the gruesome world that Baggott invited her readers into.
Pressia was only a young girl when the world was destroyed by the Detonations. Everything that she once knew was destroyed in a matter of seconds. On her 16th birthday, Pressia like other individuals have to turn themselves into the militia. Those that are of use will live and be trained. Others who are deemed a lost cause will be used for target practice. Unable to turn herself over, Pressia goes on the run.
Partridge is one of the lucky ones. Untouched by the Detonations, Partridge is a Pure. He lives with other Pure individuals in the Dome which houses only the strongest and healthiest of all survivors. Unlike the other Pures in the Dome, Partridge is wrestling with his inner demons. Prior to the Detonations, Partridge loses his mother. For years, her death haunts him until he finds evidence that she is alive. Partridge decides to leave the Dome and enter the destroyed world to find her.
I was hooked on this story at page one. This wasn’t your typical young adult novel where boy meets girl, boy rescues girl and they live happily ever after. Nothing was pretty about this story. Pressia, one of several characters who is deformed, responsible for scavenging and taking care of her grandfather. She isn’t looking to be rescued. For her, she just wants to survive. Not only is she avoiding the militia but trying to stay alive by avoiding dangerous creatures such as Dusts, Groupies and Beasts that were once human. I admire her strength. Patridge on the other hand is like a babe in the woods. He’s lived in the Dome for most of his life and is unaware of the dangers outside of it. Pressia is one of several characters that acts as his guide in search of his mother.
Author Baggott painted a gruesome and destitute picture of a destroyed world. Nothing about it was pretty. Even though the world is bleak, Baggott, manages to find the beauty and simplicity in a flawed world. The novel is about rising from the ashes and learning to fight for what is right.
The sequel Fuse is expected in stores February 19, 2013.