Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Bea, Alina, and Quinn live in the Pod - the lucky descendants of the people who won the lottery to live in the Pod during the Switch, a time when the oxygen levels in the world plummeted and most of the worlds population was left to suffocate to death. Time has passed and the people of the Pod have clearly divided into two groups - the Premiums and the Auxiliaries. The Premiums have it all, enough oxygen to breath and live a normal life, they hold the power and can do almost anything they want. They are supported by the Auxiliaries who get enough air to survive but not enough to truly thrive and be healthy. It is a stable world where everyone knows their place, but it is also a place of secrets and lies.
Bea works hard to escape her life in the Auxiliaries, not because she is ashamed of her life but because she has the chance to be something more than a menial servant. Her best friend is Quinn, who takes his life as a Premium for granted - but he is always happy to share his bounty with Bea. They have an uncomplicated friendship, even though Bea secretly hopes that one day Quinn will realise how she feels about him - something that seems unlikely when every pretty girl turns his head. One of those pretty girls is Alina, a girl with more than a few secrets of her own - one of which could get them all killed. Alina knows the truth about the Pod and the games the Premiums are playing to stay in power - but knowing the truth may not be enough to stop their games.
I picked up Breathe after seeing the cover for Resist and reading the blurb and wondered how I could have missed Breathe in the first place - seeing as I have been on a dystopian treasure hunt ever since The hunger games came out and the genre really took off. I didn't have high hopes for Breathe as I had seen a vaguely similar book in the past and gave up after a fee chapters, so I was surprised to find myself hooked almost from the first word, and I started to resent every little interruption as I moved further and further into the action and drama of the story shared by Bea, Alina, and Quinn. Told from different viewpoints, the story blends together in a way that makes you forget the authors clever use of the single person viewpoint to tell the story without the "voice of god", and you quickly become absorbed in the story.
There are some neat little twists and turns in the tale, and the pace and tension are carefully balanced so you can catch your breath a little between the main action sequences. This is an excellent story, told by an author who has a well built mythology and understanding of human nature and how people act and react under pressure. This is one of those books that is just screaming out to be made into a movie or a television series because the switch between characters and the complexity of the story lends itself well to an adaptation to the screen. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Resist to see how the story moves forward.
If you like this book then try:
Reviewed by Brilla