Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

In a world with no trees, no air and no truth there is no choice but to fight back.

I picked this book up a few trips ago in Hay-On-Wye and have had it on the shelf for a while. With my disappointing reads weighing on my mind I thought I would try this long listed Carnegie nominee. Thank goodness I did. I am well and truly a fan of this story and am hoping it is a sign of greater things to come.
Brilliantly written and exceptionally creative this Science Fiction/Dystopian story has a very strong concept, albeit a bit mind-boggling. Alina, Bea and Quinn live in a world where trees have been destroyed by years of pollution and carelessness. This has created an oxygen starved world and without the organisation Breathe people would die. Alina and Bea are auxiliaries which means they have a very limited air supply and cannot do many things that Quinn who is a premium has the luxury of doing such as running or dancing.  Bea has always followed the rules and tried to make the best of what the world has to offer. Alina on the other hand is part of the resistance. Breathe has convinced the people that there is no hope of returning to a normal world where people can survive without them. However, the resistance is sure they can grow trees and therefore re-inhabit the world.  

Alina finds herself on the wrong side of the law and must escape quickly. Rescued by a besotted Quinn they escape the pod and make the harrowing journey to the resistance headquarters, where Bea and Quinn discover far more about the world and themselves then they ever expected. They must make a choice, whether they will surrender or fight to breathe freely for the first time in their lives. 

Needless to say a world with limited Oxygen is quite a difficult concept to comprehend but Crossan does a superb job of conveying the world so matter-of-factly that you can grasp the idea behind it even if it does seem a bit far-fetched. One thing Crossan does in this story is to do the one thing I have been so desperately wanting from many of my recent dystopian reads and that is to provide an explanation. I have found in some other series starters that the author has been so desperate to maintain the secrecy and suspense that they give next to nothing away about the society and I struggle with this. I want a little information just so I can get my head around why the world has become that way. Crossan manages to give just enough information that you know why the world has fallen into this state but the intrigue is still maintained. Another huge plus for me in this story is that thankfully the romantic element is by no means the driving force of the plot and is much more a secondary element to the story providing insight into the characters. 

After the meh feeling Matched left me with I was in no way keen to read the rest of the series. However, I definitely want to see where the story of Breathe goes and if Crossan can continue on with the same momentum. 

A must for sci-fi/dystopian fans who want more action than slush!