Newest Review: ... cannot exercise, dance, kiss, for fear of running out of oxygen as the price of oxygen tax for these luxuries is something they c... more
Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.
Breathe - Sarah Crossan
Member Name: carlz2001uk
Breathe - Sarah Crossan
Advantages: Excellent concept. Easy read
Disadvantages: Love interest, Bea a bit of a drip!
'The Switch' happened many years ago when oxygen levels within the world as we know it plummeted to such low levels due to pollution, that trees could not exist and levels plummeted. A state lottery decided who could live inside the Pod, a state led new world where there is a definitive line between the Auxiliaries and the Premiums. Premiums are healthy and strong, given an enjoyable life where they do not need to worry about the price of oxygen, while Auxiliaries cannot exercise, dance, kiss, for fear of running out of oxygen as the price of oxygen tax for these luxuries is something they cannot afford. Everything is controlled. Opposition to the regime is not allowed and is heavily punished. The 'terrorists' form a secret resistance where they do everything within their power to allow trees to grow, and they train themselves to exist on the extremely low levels of oxygen in the world outside of the Pod.
The concept itself is, in my opinion, a very good one, and one that actually could be feasible. The characters are okay, likeable, but a little too young for my liking. The book is a fiction novel for young adult readers however, so I think it's me that's too old as opposed to the characters that are too young! It didn't actually feel too much like a young adult novel for me, yes there is a love interest which I can give or take in a book, but the general concept was quite deep and definitely thought provoking, with elements of courage, loyalty and freedom. I think the book would make an excellent film, and given the popularity of Dystopian novels at the moment, I wouldn't be too surprised if this does end up on the big screen in the not too distant future, following along the lines of The Hunger Games.
Sarah Crossan has a way of writing that isn't complex in any shape or form. It's not trying to be something it's not and it is a nice easy read that you can sink your teeth into. I really enjoyed reading the book and imagining this new world. When parts of the book are set outside of the Pod, it describes the world as we know it today but completely desolate with no forms of life. It is interesting to imagine walking through a town and seeing abandoned cars covered in ivy, or decaying buildings, but through the book I struggled to work out if it was meant to be set in the UK or America as I didn't know anything about the author. I did waver towards the UK, as a football stadium is described that sounded very much like Arsenal but what do I know?! I was correct it would seem, after googling Crossan, I found out she is actually Irish so most likely set in the UK.
Each chapter of the book is written in the first person narrative by one of the main three characters. This did take a little while to get used to in the beginning when the characters were new, and I expected to find it difficult to differentiate between the two female characters but this wasn't a problem. Quinn, the main male character is a Premium and knows little suffering or poverty. He also knows little about love though and struggles to strike up a bond between his parents, particularly his father who is a high ranking government official. Bea is a bit of a drip in the beginning and I found her quite annoying initially but this did wear off and I began to warm to her. As an auxiliary she has had a hard life but always stayed true to the Pod and what it stood for, until she realises the Government may be controlling more than just the oxygen levels. Alina is a rebel and will fight for the cause no matter the consequences.
The book is paced fairly fast and there is always lots going on, but it's easy to keep up with and there doesn't feel like there has been any filling.
I can't find any fault with this book but for some reason it just doesn't quite seem a 5 star. Something ever so slight is missing, but I can't put my finger on what that is.....
The first book in the trilogy, I will look forward to book two.
£3.29 Kindle edition (Amazon).
Summary: 4 stars