Speculating on SpecFic

Fantastic Literature: From epic fantasy to fairytales to myth-making

Fuse  - Julianna Baggott Fact: Pure was one of the best books I read last year. Fact: Pure has amazing world-building and character development, you won't read anything else quite like it. Fact: Fuse is much, much better than Pure: it's mindblowing-ly awesome.You probably want to pick up Fuse right after reading Pure, or re-read Pure if you haven't immersed yourself in the world for a while. I struggled a little in the beginning because it took me a few chapters to re-acquaint myself with everyone, where they were, what they were doing. Baggott does a wonderful job of orienting her readers into her sequel, but I feel that I would have benefitted from a re-read of Pure.The action starts from the get-go: a wretch has been made Pure by the Dome, and a second message is distributed amongst those outside - a terrifying message giving hope even while it strikes fear into the hearts of the innocent. What follows is an adventure told in four view-points (Pressia, Partridge, El Capitan and Lyda), merged together beautifully to create a riveting narrative. Fuse is as well executed and written as Pure, and it was a pleasure to sink into this familiar, albeit, grotesque and sometimes horrifying, world again.Top notch world-building is one of the amazing aspects of Pure, made even more so because it was a début. Fuse has more of this: the characters venture outside the well-known area around the Dome and into new territory, and we are introduced (briefly, tantalizingly) to new groups of survivors. Readers are also shown the inner working of the Dome, with Partridge playing a much less passive role than he had in Pure. We are reminded, and it's somewhat jarring, of how he previously skated by, content in the knowledge and power he has as the son of the Dome's Leader. I think Baggott has cleverly shown that it's not only those on the Outside that have to fight for survival: those inside the Dome are beset by different, but no less deadly, dangers.I had a more difficult time with the characters in this book that I had with Pure - the bravery, tenacity and determination I saw in them before has somewhat diminished, replaced with concerns about their love lives, their lovesickness. I'm not saying I don't want romance in the books, in fact, I think the romances are realistic and cute. But my personal feeling is that the characters were sometimes concerned about their relationships with they should have been worrying about - I don't know - surviving? Pressia and Bradwell, in particular, have stilted, terribly awkward interactions for the first half, maybe three-quarters of the book; they tip-toe around one another, one of them is always unconscious, and it gets tedious.If you enjoyed Pure, if you liked the gritty world building and well-developed characters, then you will love Fuse. Fans of other adult Dystopian and Post Apocalyptic novels, like those of Justin Cronin, will enjoy this hard-hitting series. I can't wait for the next book!!A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.