Review Detail

3.9 5
Young Adult Fiction 1127
True Dystopia
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What I Loved:

Fans of true dystopians will find elements to enjoy in BREATHE. All of the pieces are there: evil dictator/government, conspiracies to keep the government in power, a class system that keeps the people in their place, a growing resistance movement, secrets to uncover, and the gradual awakening of characters who'd formerly accepted their way of live as unchangeable.

The strength of this book is the action-packed plot. While the pacing feels a bit uneven, there's always something happening. From the first page to the thrilling climax, the conflict keeps escalating, the plot keeps twisting, and the stakes keep rising. The middle of the book had some difficulty maintaining my interest, but the climax is absolutely epic and will satisfy readers who've invested in the story all the way to the end.

The setting is described in vivid sensory details, making the entire story play out in the reader's mind like a movie. Readers will be as fascinated with life inside the dome as they will with the ruined cities outside of it. The author also does an excellent job of examining the class system that exists inside the dome. The idea of giving Premiums more access to oxygen (and therefore the ability to be alert and physically fit) than anyone else is a unique take on privilege.

What Left Me Wanting More:

The premise of this book is fascinating at the outset, but closer examination within the story itself raises problematic questions. This reader found it very difficult to believe that when the world faced a food shortage, their solution was to cut down every single forest to allow more land for farming. For one, we have a society that is highly focused on environmental concerns. For another, we have the scientific know how to develop ways to grow or manufacture more food--greenhouses in colder climates, genetically altered plants that will produce more etc. Having difficulty believing how the world in BREATHE came to be made it that much harder to invest in the story itself.

The characters of Bea, Quinn, and Alina each have their own chapters told from their own viewpoints, and they are virtually indistinguishable from each other. That made it difficult to stay in the flow of the story (when I suddenly realized I'd forgotten to look at the heading of the chapter to see who was speaking), and it also made it hard to fully connect emotionally with any of them.

Final Verdict:

Fans of true dystopians who love grand government conspiracies and plucky revolutionists will enjoy the action-packed plot.
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