Breathe (Breathe #1)
October 2, 2012
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Since the Switch, after the world as we currently know it had deteriorated so far that it was no longer sustainable, the remaining population has lived in the Pods, massive glass domes. Quinn and Bea live in the pod ruled by the Ministry and Breathe that Quinn's father works for. A Ministry they've always trusted to keep them safe.
Aline, does not trust the Ministry or what they tell the people. Part of the Resistance, she's been stealing things from them for a long time. Small tree clippings from the one - and only - place in the pod where trees grow are one of the most dangerous things for her to steal.
When her theft forces her to go on the run, it's Quinn - who's already besotted with her - and Bea who will have to come to her rescue. Planned as a two day trip into the Outlands, Bea and Quinn's trip is looking to be much, much different now. And with only two days worth of oxygen, what will happen to them, in the oxygen deprived Outlands, on the third day?
I have wanted to read this book for a long time. Different novels have played with the idea of different elements of society or things we're used to being taken away or rationed, but this was the first I've heard of or read where oxygen was at issue.. (Video with Sarah Crossan talking about it here)
I really did wonder how a book could have tension when the options were 'keep breathing' or 'suffocate' but Crossan did things really well - and quite unexpectedly, as well.
There was a hierarchical structure built into the society in the pod that played into who had oxygen there - and how they were allowed to use it. The way that worked, carried over into Quinn and Bea's trip and the preparations for it as well as their conditioning for it. I liked that there was so much thought put into getting different characters on different levels, not just in terms of status but also in terms of breathing. I do wish, however, that there had been a bit more world building or maybe just attention paid, to the society created inside the pod.
The bits of it that we did see seemed so well thought out - they established life in the pod as well as how the characters reacted to things or were able to do things outside of it - that I really would have liked to see some more. How things worked, the order of things, day-to-day, if there were other pods- the taste we are given left me wanting more.
Breathe is told from three different, alternating perspectives: Alina's, Quinn's and Bea's. The book does start off with three quite different characters, for one reason or another, so it's very nice to get chapters from each of their perspectives each of them seeing similar things quite differently and letting the reader in on different parts of the story.
Perhaps owing to that first person, we don't get a lot of background - or backstory for the characters. We learn what they're doing at the time of the story and one character has a couple of past anecdotes told. The other two, however, exist, for Breathe mainly in the present. I think their personalities come through strongly enough and any sharing between them would have actually thrown the story off. I do hope, though, that a bit more will make it into the series.
A great debut that is a fast read - it's terribly hard to put down - and one that will leave you so very ready for Book 2, Resist.
Other Books You Might Also Enjoy: The Line by Teri Hall, Glitch by Heather Anastasiu, Dark Parties by Sara Grant
arc received from the publisher - thank you!!