Saturday, March 9, 2013


Fuse, Julianna Baggott
Last year, I reviewed the dystopian novel Pure.  This is its sequel.  The third book is due for release next year, and is called Burn.

I remember enjoying Pure a great deal.  I re-read it before starting Fuse, and although I still enjoyed it, it wasn't as strong as I remembered. Perhaps, in part, because I've read a less dark and disturbing dystopian YA trilogy so recently since (Birthmarked), with a heroine I admired more.  I often find the context in which I read or view something alters how I feel; a mediocre rom-com can seem like a revelation after a depressing thriller.  That said, I think Pure and Fuse are more well-crafted and make for better reading than some of the "dystopian classics" (I'm looking at you, Children of Men, 1984, Brave New World).

Overall, I liked Fuse, but preface these notes with the disclaimer that this trilogy is gritty;
  • The novel is divided into three parts.  The first I found slow.  The second became more intriguing.  The final -- I felt compelled to read in a single sitting.  Rivetting.  The narrative progressed more than I thought it could, given the pace of the opening.  (For me it picked up from about a fifth of the way through).
  • Be warned: the side-story romances of the first book stall in the opening of Fuse.  Kind of annoying.  Thankfully, the romantic in me was more than satisfied with the treatment of these relationships in the closing section.
  • Also annoying: the cussing.  Unnecessary, in my opinion.
  • But great: these books' originality, scope and post-apocalypticnessss.
  • In the end, I like the sequel more than the first book.
  • If you don't have time for a re-read of Pure, I would recommend reading a detailled summary somewhere online.  I had forgotten a lot.
  • P.S.  If you read this edition (I was lucky to receive an ARC from Hachette), skip page 108 -- it's a duplicate that will appear soon after that place.  And can you spot the error on page 376?  I don't normally note the mistakes I find in first editions here, but it might save you a headache late one night to know about the double-up...and then give you one looking for the mistake. 
Suffice to say, I will be reading Burn next year.
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