Friday, 12 October 2012

Review: Breathe by Sarah Crossan


  
  Breathe
  Author: Sarah Crossan
  Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
  Publication date: October 11th 2012.
  My rating: 3.5 stars

 
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.

Gritty dystopians have really been hitting the spot as of late. Breathe I’m happy to say is a book which managed to tick a lot of my boxes in providing a masterfully woven novel which kept me on the edge of my seat when several books have failed. There are only a distinct number of dystopians which I would categorise as utterly mind-blowing and I’m pleased to say Breathe is one of those books.

With the number of dystopians coming through these days, I’ve become increasingly picky over what I choose to read. Unfortunately the majority of the ones I’ve decided to pick up have failed to live up to expectations. But when I first came across Breathe, for once I didn’t have any feelings of dread in deciding to pick it up. The premise of a society dependant on the rules and regulations they’re governed by that they don’t have their own say is quite over done in books, but despite Breathe focusing on a similar theme touched on by many others, it also had a uniqueness about it which shone through.

Quinn and Bea are brought up in a society where oxygen is a privilege. If you’re a premium like Quinn then you have more access to oxygen tanks and thus generally you get to live the better life. Whereas Bea is an auxiliary, her parents are barely scraping by, the fact that Quinn is her friend makes her life a lot easier, but Bea doesn’t want to be dependent on Quinn for everything, she knows her best shot is to win a place in the pod through the Breathe leadership program.

I know that I would utterly fail at having my oxygen intake monitored by the ministry, so it was tough reading about the two distinct groups; premiums and auxiliaries; how different their lives could be, how everything about society was thoroughly drilled into them, that they weren’t aware of what was within their grasp until they met Alina a member of the resistance. I admit I didn’t like Alina at first, I thought she was sort of butting in Bea and Quinn’s friendship. But the multiple povs in this book allowed me to get a proper understanding of her character, and as the book progressed, the character changes that emerged in her I admired.

Bea was my favourite character; there was so much heartache she had to go through that I really felt for her at times. But through the tough situations she faced, she demonstrated she could be a fierce fire cracker when necessary. I’m still a little conflicted over how I felt about the romance in this book, I’m happy about the direction it went in, but felt it happened all of a sudden, as we were always led to believe it was one sided.

The secondary characters certainly livened up this book; so many times I was quick to make judgements about them, but was surprised by how wrong I could be. Jazz and Maude quickly became favourites.

Overall Breathe is a fresh book that I’m sure many will devour, the insightful multiple povs, fast pace and action packed scenes will sure to keep readers captivated. Book two which is scheduled for release in October 2013, I’m sure will be one of my highly anticipated reads of the year. 


19 comments:

  1. Breathe sounds so unique within the dystopian world! I love hearing that you liked the different POVs in the book. I'm relieved that it benefits the story instead of harms it! So glad you enjoyed it, lovely review, Jasprit!! <3

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  2. "Fierce fire cracker.." Oh, I like that. :) I'm pleased that you liked this book for the most part Jasprit, and the concept is fascinating so I might try reading this book someday (when I'm not overloaded with my usual enormous pile, haha). Really exquisite review, as always! :)

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  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jasprit! I've heard mostly negative things about it, so I completely dismissed it, but you and Jenny are definitely making me reconsider. It looks like I'll have to check this one out for sure! ;) Fantastic review, as usual, dear! :D

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  4. This sounds a lot more interesting now that I've read your review! The cover really turns me off because it looks kind of tacky, but since I own a copy I'll definitely have to give it a try. Great review :)

    Nicole @ The Reader's Antidote

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  5. Breathe has been getting a lot of AWESOME reviews lately, and once again, another reader is blown away! I also really like the sound of Bea, really need to read this! Great review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  6. Really interesting review Jasprit. Sometimes it takes me a while to gel with dystopians and they're not my usual choice, but I'm sure I will give this one a go soon!

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  7. Lovely review, Jasprit. So glad to see you enjoyed this one. The idea of having your oxygen supply controlled is just awful and scary. Bea seems like a tough character. I'll definitely check this out sometime soon. :)

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  8. Oh, I didn't realize that this book is such a keeper! I completely overlooked this book the last time, but your review make me want to run to the nearest book store and get this book ASAP, Jasprit! I'm glad to hear that there is a Dystopian book with great storyline out there. Lately, I feel like Dystopian books keep getting my hopes down LOL!

    Fantastic review as always, my dear! <3 Can't wait to read this book myself! :)

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  9. I'm so happy you enjoyed Breathe! I just seemed to love everything about it, particularly how plausible the situation is. I will definitely be crying for the sequel. I can't believe we have to wait a year! Great review, Jasprit!

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  10. I really enjoyed this book too. I totally agree with getting more picky about what you read. It gets hard when you read so many of the same type of book. I liked how this one was a fresh take on thing, but not completely different. The multiple POV's were a major win for me. I love it when we get to know each character personally. Fantastic review!!

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  11. Dystopian fiction is not really my thing (shocking, I know) so I usually pass them on to my guest reviews who enjoy them a lot more than I do. I've heard good things about this one, though. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

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  12. I'm really curious about this one Jasprit. I've been on a dystopian kick lately (I'm just in the mood for them, I have no idea why!) so this is clearly right up my alley. I'm glad the multiple POVs are successful, usually that's something that I don't care for, though I'm a tiny bit disappointed in the seemingly one-sided romance. I live for romance:) Thanks so much for this review, you've given me a great feel for the book!

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  13. I've been waiting for this book, and damn it, it's not a 5 star read, but I'll probably still read it. Thanks!

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  14. I keep hearing these amazing things about this book! The idea that oxygen is something valuable is scary. Great concept and I love the multiple POV's. Great review!

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  15. I am reading a lot of mixed reviews on this one, either it is a flop or just solid but nothing amazing, so I am unsure whether to check it out or not. Your review is nudging me in that direction....

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  16. Yay! Glad to see you enjoyed this one my review has just gone up too :) Bea was also my favourite character and I loved Maude too!

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  17. Brilliant review as always, Jasprit. :) I thought this was a pretty good read too. I loved the premise and thought it was well executed. It was just really the characters I was a bit iffy with...

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  18. Oh, man, this world sounds like my worst nightmare! I am so sensitive about fresh air, I almost get a panic attack when I enter a stuffy room! Imagine trying to control my oxygen itake?
    Bea sounds like a wonderful character, and the world really sent chills down my spine. I think I'm going to enjoy this very much.
    Lovely review, my darling!

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  19. I really, really need to read this! Great review.

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