About the book
Breathe is the first book in a new series by Sarah Crossan. The book was published by Bloomsbury on 11th October and the book is 384 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC for review.
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
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?
What I thought
I’ve had this book sitting around for months now, ever since I came back from having a blogging break. For some reason, I just didn’t fancy it. Then when it was time to start something new I decided to give this one another look over and I actually thought very differently about it. I don’t have as much time now for reading, due to having so much uni work to do, so this one took me a little while to get through, only reading a bit before bed each night.
Breathe is told from multiple narratives. Quinn is a Premium who comes from a rich family has looks to have a bright future ahead of him. Bea is Quinn’s best friend and also an Auxiliary, coming from a family struggling to survive. And then there is Alina, a member of the resistance, someone trying to save the world and expose Breathe for what it really is. I like multiple narratives in books although there aren’t too many where there are more than two narrators. However, I think this was necessary with Breathe. All three characters are so different and have such a large part in the story.
I’m not sure if I could pick a favourite out of all three though. Each character had something special and unique to offer the story and each had something really likeable about them. Quinn is not like other Premiums, which is easy to see through his friendship with Bea. While he has some quite selfish characteristics, he is also sweet and brave and quite fearless. In her narrative, Bea is completely honest and I respected her for that. She was an easy character to get to know as she laid her heart and mind bare in this book. Then there is Alina. While I shouldn’t really like her, using people to get what she wants, there was a bigger reason behind her actions which is why I did like her. The things she did were for the greater good and not entirely selfish at all.
What I really loved about this book though was the plot. Set in a world where trees don’t exist anymore, where people live in a pod surviving on oxygen tanks and there being a very clear class ranking, this is one of the most probable dystopian books I have read. If the all of the trees really did get wiped out, we would definitely have trouble surviving. Breathe shows the possibilities of someone else having control over people’s lives, pretty much deciding who lives and who doesn’t. Although the message isn’t too pushy and in your face, there is a nice moral here about looking after nature and the planet as it will make it last longer.
Set both in the world of Breathe and the outside world, Sarah Crossan shows how differently life could be for people. I loved getting to learn about the outside world and what was happening to the people without oxygen supplies. The outside world also provided a really exciting plot, with numerous twists and turns. This was by far the most exciting part of the book as I got to learn so much more about the whole world that had been created. Being quite a chunky book, there is a lot that happens but the pacing is done well so there are some slower parts mixed in with some fantastic drama.
I thoroughly enjoyed Breathe and I cannot wait for the next instalment in the series.