Book Review: Fuse by Julianna Baggott

Book Review: Fuse by Julianna Baggott

Series: Pure (#2)
Shelved: Adult fiction (science fiction, dystopia, post-apocalyptic)
Rating: ★★★
Buy: The Book Depository
More: Goodreads

is the second book in the Pure trilogy, so you may not want to keep reading if you’ve not read the first book, although this review does not contain spoilers about either book.

Outside the Dome, Pressia, Bradwell, and El Capitan are decoding the secrets from the past – tucked away in one of the Black Boxes – to uncover the truth that might set the wretches free of their fusings forever. Those fighting Willux – Partridge’s father – will be pushed over boundaries, both land and sea, heart and mind, in their quest – further than they ever imagined.

Pure was easily one of my favourite books of 2012 and I have been eagerly awaiting Fuse for a year. Fuse, in Julianna Baggott’s typical lyrical style, begins with a prologue from Wilda, a young Wretch-turned-Pure whose scars and fuses have been cured, and she comes with a terrifying warning from the Dome: ‘We want our son returned. This girl is proof that we can save you all. If you ignore our plea, we will kill our hostages one at a time.’ I knew instantly that Fuse was going to be as savage as Pure and couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

What I enjoyed most about Pure was the brilliant, unique, and imaginative world-building – discovering the horrific, desolate world that its characters grew up in – and so Fuse, at first, was not quite as compelling in this respect because I was already familiar with the world with a strict dichotomy (Dome/Outside, Pure/Wretch), a world at war. I already knew about the Mothers and the children that had become fused to their bodies, and the barely human Dusts who lie await to attack. I knew about the deadly army and about conniving Willux. But in the end, that did not matter, because what we get in Fuse instead is an immense amount of character development; a character-driven story rather than plot-driven.

Fuse is told by five familiar characters – Pressia, Partridge, Lyda, Bradwell, and El Capitan – which you may think would get confusing, but each voice is so distinct that it is never an issue. We slowly discover just how much of a part each character plays in the overall story. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting these characters once again and watching them learn more about themselves and what they believe in, and, of course, seeing romance blossom (because, at the end of the day, they’re still teenagers!).

As with Pure, Fuse is extremely well-constructed and complex, rich with detail and fictional yet believable history, and still manages to throw us the odd twist to keep us on edge. Pure is still one of the most exciting post-apocalyptic series’ I’ve come across, with crossover appeal – I hope to convince both teenagers and non-teens to give it a shot!

I also had the opportunity to ask Julianna Baggott one ‘Burning Question’:

Q: What would you be doing when the detonations hit? What would you be fused to?

A: I hope it’s not the collie. I love the damn collie, don’t get me wrong. But he’s no Lassie. He’s all super-model, wind in his fur, and he’d be of no practical use, even in dog terms, in an emergency situation.

Published: 12th February 2013 (UK) 19th February 2013 (US)
Publisher: Headline (UK) Grand Central Publishing (US)
Pages: 448 (UK) 480 (US)
Source: Thank you Headline for providing this book to review!

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