Series: Breathe #1
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Greenwillow (10.2.2012)
eARC, 400 pages
Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . .The world is dead. The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.
Alinahas been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful.
Quinnshould be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.
Beawants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl.
And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?
Let’s get the things I didn’t like out of the way first. My main issue? The characters. I didn’t connect the way I hoped: In fact, I didn’t connect at all. My major complaint was the switching views. Normally I love it, because you can see different perspectives of the same story. But only if it’s done well can it be pulled off. I’m sad to say that Breathe did not pull it off. There were not two but THREE points of view – I’m not sure any author could truly pull that off. But with this one, having triple points of view was just downright confusing. They didn’t have distinct voices, and many times I found myself lost in the POVs, constantly forgetting who I was supposed to be reading. Thank goodness the chapters were labeled with their names!
Not only were the POVs confusing, but the characters fell absolutely flat for me. They were not particularly three dimensional, and I failed to feel much of anything for any of them. The only one that seemed to have any real personality was Maude; I think she was my favorite. The only time I felt an ounce of emotion was a scene involving her and something that she did (which was probably what made her my favorite).
My least favorite by far was Quinn. He was an idiot. I have no idea what Bea saw in him! He sees some girl he doesn’t know, and says she’s the ‘girl of his dreams’ strictly on the basis that she’s just sooo beautiful. Nevermind that she acts like a complete and total bitch to him. Then he basically ditches his best friend to follow her around like a lost puppy. When faced with surviving alone for an indeterminable amount of time, he snarfs all of the food he has in one sitting because ‘his brain needs energy to think.’ How the hell is that even logical? If you don’t know when help is coming, it would make sense to ration out your food. Like I said, he was an idiot. I wanted to punch him in the face. Repeatedly.
The world building bothered me, too. Mainly in the beginning. I was left to figure things out for myself without much of an explanation. What are auxillaries? Premiums? What exactly is the biosphere? The Pod? What happened during The Switch? When was it? What year is it? What the hell is the ‘black foam’ that magically burns all of the trees (because that’s the ONLY explanation you ever get)? As the story went along I put most of the pieces together, but a brief description of these things would have really supported the world building. I don’t need things spelled out for me, but I do like some background. Especially in a dystopian setting.
What I did like? The idea of it all was brilliant and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Think of a world where you have to pay a tax to be able to breathe. Air is in short supply, and if you’re poor you can’t exercise, dance, or do any other physical activity (yeah, you know what I mean). If you’re caught walking over 3 miles per hour, you’re arrested. How horrible would that be? All of this was what made me enjoy Breathe despite all of the complaints above.
Writing style: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 3/5