BOOK REVIEW: Breathe (#1) by Sarah Crossan

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Star Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Eh, indifferent about this…
Published on/by: 11th Octobe2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing (First published 2nd October 2012)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 371 pages
Blurb provided by Goodreads: 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.

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW:

Wow, aren’t I late on publishing this one! Having finished this in June and being swamped with term papers and exam revision, I had put off reviewing this book until after I was free. And good news! I’m FREE NOW! Wahoo! Enough excuses…let’s talk Breathe. 😉

So, I met up with one of my closest friends who lives in a neighbouring country and duh, we went book shopping. She bought the fifth book of the Vampire Academy series (Spirit Bound–which is my favourite VA instalment) and she recommended a book she enjoyed…Breathe. With deep breaths, I purchased this beautiful book (I mean, look at the cover!) and prayed to God that this would be the sci-fi book that would change my life.

If I wasn’t clear, I typically do not read/enjoy sci-fi. I don’t know why, but the past sci-fi books I’ve read (apart from the Glow trilogy of which I’ve read the first book and half of the second!) have been quite a let down for me! I don’t know if it’s because I really don’t like science (c’mon!) or if it’s just that the books I’ve picked have been less than exciting but the sci-fi genre and I have never gelled well together. Well, except for the odd book here and there.

So going into this book, I was wary. But I realised I didn’t have to be. The pacing is great and I was so grateful for that. More often than not, I DNF sci-fi books as they tend to lag in pace and usually, I don’t mind pacing of a snail but in a genre that I’m already having trouble with reading? Yeah. I was enthralled.

I immediately loved the character Alina, the passionate and beautiful rebel who was unmistakably tough and imperfect. I really enjoyed the premise of the book as well– Earth with no oxygen? Well, minimal oxygen? This concept was intriguing, and to a science failure like me, seemed plausible. Now, I’m not saying that the logistics of this premise is questionable…I’m just saying that even if it was slightly iffy, I’d still eat it all up. This book had a love triangle, which you know I like if there is a clear winner (so that my heart won’t suffer that badly) and this book DID have a clear winner. However, I found myself not really interested in it, mainly because I thought it was very half-hearted and almost unnecessary. Not to be a spoiler (THE FOLLOWING CLAUSE MIGHT BE SPOILERY–I LIED!), but I was glad with the pairing in the end because they were characters I cared less about.

I liked this book as a whole, don’t get me wrong. It has good qualities that I need in a book but I still felt very indifferent towards it. It wasn’t riveting, addictive and I had to force myself to finish it because I just felt really meh about the plot. It seemed generic–political mumbo jumbo/rebel groups and while I didn’t mind this trope, I found aspects of it laughable. The leader of the rebels, Petra (love the name btw), was incredibly one dimensional and unrealistic. I found myself thinking…this is the so-called leader of a large rebel group?! What?! The Pod Minister…the so-called villain, was also laughable. I found myself incredibly annoyed with his repeated “Ha!” responses. I’m not kidding. This annoyed me to the extreme, and again…completely one dimensional. There was no depth to the secondary characters and while there were some complexity in the three main characters, I felt that it wasn’t enough.

Overall, I’m still interested in reading the next and final instalment, “Resist” because I do want to know what happens next and also…I’m slightly intrigued with a new character being introduced…cough, Ronan, cough! I just hope that I become more invested in the story…

And my adventure into the sci-fi genre continues!

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