Breathe by Sarah Crossan

November 30, 2012 Reviews 1

  • Date published: 11th October 2012
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury AU
  • Format: Paperback, 384 pages
  • Series: Breathe, Book 1
  • ISBN 13: 9781408827192
  • Categories: YA – Dystopian
  • Goodreads / The Book DepositoryBooktopia / Bookworld
  • Source: provided for review by publisher

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 later, society has divided into Premiums and Auxiliaries. Only Premiums can afford enough oxygen to live a normal life. Dissenters to the regime are ejected from the Pod.

Alina belongs to a rebel group. On the verge of capture, she is rescued by a Premium boy. They escape the Pod, but with only two days’ worth of air. Outside they unearth conspiracy on a breathtaking scale.

Breathe is a surprising read that uses the tropes of YA in refreshing ways and entertains its readers to the max. Full of danger and action, it is a thrilling read that explores human relationships and questions what one is capable of when faced with the impossible.

When I started Breathe, I thought it was going to be like the other Dystopian books I have read, and while there are similarities, what impressed me is the motivation behind the three protagonists in the book, and how cleverly Crossan shows us all sides of the story and explores her world. It’s not a simple world, and it is proven that not all the Premiums are uncaring and privileged, and not all the Auxiliaries are rebellious and uncouth. Another thing I love is that this interesting world isn’t simply a backdrop for the romance in the story, but a solid element in the world building and well realised.

I mentioned the three protagonists before: Alina, the rebel who has to escape the authorities in the Pod who are determined to punish her; Quinn, a Premium who is expected to take on leadership responsibilities in the Pod because of his father’s position in the Council; and his best friend Bea, a talented and law-abiding Auxiliary who dreams of being elevated to Premium status so her family can live comfortably. They are realistic and engaging characters, and I don’t think I can pick a favourite between them, they are all flawed and memorable. The author didn’t complicate their relationships by adding a love triangle, and I agree – it’s all complicated enough without that unnecessary element!

The book begins slowly, and I recall thinking that if it continued to creep along like that, I wouldn’t make it past the first Part (there are five in the book). However, it ramps up beautifully and I think Breathe would be quite difficult to put down past the half way point! The author does a wonderful job of building up the tension until everything snaps and chaos reigns, it’s very enjoyable 🙂

I was impressed with this book, and I even more excited to find out it is the first in a series. I’m looking forward to reading more about the world and its characters in Resist (expected publication October 2013), and recommend Breathe to those who want to read about a thrilling Dystopian world without it being relegated to a backdrop for a love triangle.

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