Review: Fuse by Julianna Baggott

9752754Series: Pure #2
Published by: Headline
ISBN: 0755385535
ISBN 13: 9780755385539
Published: February 2013
Pages: 446
Format reviewed: Paperback
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Three out of Five
Related Reviews: Pure #1

Fuse is the second book in Julianna Baggott’s futuristic dystopian series. As such the setting is nasty, grim and more than a little disturbing at times, particularly, as before, when it comes to the fuses themselves. Make no mistake, this is a graphic book, young-adult or not. It has to be in order to convey what a cruel world this is, and it might be this that sells it and keeps it believable even when the descriptions do seem to stretch into implausible territory.

There are four points of view throughout the books and each transition is done smoothly. It’s always a little frustrating when you get into the adventures of one character only to have it switch to another but it’s not such a problem here as everyone’s journey is so interesting.

Fuse is primarily a story of survival in the worst conditions imaginable as the Dome and Partridge’s father go to any length to get him back, leaving him torn between two worlds, both hostile. Then comes the inevitable handful of twists that make for an excellent story once it takes off, and it takes off soon.

The beginning of the book may have you confused if you’ve not read Pure very recently, so it might be worth a reread or at least a quick skim through to refresh your memory, otherwise you risk getting quite lost in the number of components at work here like I did.

Personally I found the romance aspects took away from the otherwise excellent action of the book and slowed things down a little too much. I wanted to get back to the character development and the world-building which is expanded on nicely as we see more of the ruined world and is almost morbidly fascinating.

The characters once more are nuanced and difficult, like real people, with unclear motives and questionable methods that add dimensions and realism to them all. People are hard to fully understand and it’s that air of the unknown that makes the world come alive here.

While Pure was harder to get into and took a long time to get going, Fuse has no such issues, other than that you will need to have read Pure to not be complete lost at the start. It gets into things quickly and clearly, and while the characters are complicated they’re easily grasped and serve to hook you into the meat of the story.

Honestly, though, this series isn’t for everyone. It’s very grim and graphic, and the more disturbing aspects and the violence might be off-putting to readers who just aren’t into that sort of thing, but the right crowd is sure to love it.

This review was originally posted at SentientOnline on the 3rd January 2014.

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