Thursday, 18 October 2012

Review: Breathe by Sarah Crossan


Title: Breathe
Author: Sarah Crossan
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter|Facebook
Genre: Dystopian
Series: Breathe #1
Source: Publisher
Format: UK Proof
Publication Date: 11th October 2012

Tell Me About It
When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate. Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die. Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from? A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

My Thoughts
As readers we are quick to pick up the latest book by our favourite author, stalking their websites to keep up to date with news about upcoming releases. As bloggers we get to hear about amazing books months in advance of their release, whether we stalk the authors or not. When Breathe first appeared online I saw it on netgalley, but being with an American publisher I was unable to request it. When it got picked up in the UK I was ecstatic, even more so to have a proof copy sent to me.  We all fall into the hype over new releases and while most of the books truly earn the hype surrounding them, some don't.  When I began reading Breathe I was very pleased that it fell into the good category, and within a few chapters I was hooked.

The Outlands are all that remain after the oxygen levels depleted to just 4% and people were selected, either due to their job, usefulness or randomly, to live in the safe environment of the Pod, made by Breathe, to wait for the earth to repair itself.  The Pod is divided into different zones. Zone 1 is for Premiums, with their clean boulevards and mirrored buildings. Zone 2 is home to stewards with squat apartment buildings and narrow streets.  Zone 3 is full of packed high rise apartments and gloomy alleyways, home to the auxiliaries.

Alina and Abel are members of the Resistance and we meet them in the middle of their task is to collect a cutting of an elm from the biosphere to take back to the Grove.  Bea and Quinn are friends even though he is a Premium and she is an Auxiliary.  For Bea winning in debate test set up by the Scholastic Institute means she has the option to become Premium too.
A planned trip outside the Pod for Bea and Quinn, enables Alina to escape the Pod and venture on her own to the Grove.  Unable to leave her to alone Quinn and Bea follow her, and end up saving Alina's life, soon Bea and Quinn find out the truth behind Breathe and its true agenda.  As the truth is revealed Bea, Alina and Quinn soon find their lives at risk and they must do whatever it takes to ensure not only their own survival, but the survival of the Resistance and what they aspire to do.

From the moment I began reading Breathe I was hooked. Within the first few pages I was on edge wondering if Abel and Alina would get caught, and the deeper I got the more nervous I became. I love the different mix of characters in the book and how each group has their own prejudices against another, but watching Bea, Alina and Quinn it shows that they can work together to achieve a common goal.  Breathe is told in three different narratives, Bea, Quinn and Alina.  Each narrator has their own distinct personality and it was easy to keep track of who was who.  While Bea and Alina struggle to survive with bare minimum, Quinn gives freely.  Helping Bea and her family with 'spare' oxygen and being a good friend for her, even though he is blind to the obvious.  He doesn't use his class to gain anything from them, or to bully them into things.  He is a rare soul among the Premiers.

Breathe is a book that is not only gripping, but also makes you think about what could happen, if not now then in the distant future, and it is a scary thought to think we could be living like this.  With twists and turns and secret plot throughout the pages I never knew who would be safe or who would get caught.  The last few chapters had me on tenterhooks and with an explosive ending, literally, I can't wait to see what happen next.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I am so glad that you enjoyed this one - I absolutely loved it too and, like you, I can't wait to see what happens next either! Thanks for sharing :)

    Stephanie

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