Publication date: 2nd October 2012
Reviewed by Rebecca
This novel, at first, sounded like plenty of other dystopian novels: apocalyptic style circumstances, a boy and a girl hero. Very typical of the genre. However, Breathe completely goes off the scale and does this perhaps a million times better than others in the genre. Set in a dome, this book tells the story of different castes: premiums and auxiliaries. The world outside is dead; devoid of oxygen; and the remaining living beings of each country live inside a dome. Oxygen is a commodity and is sold - premiums are able to use it whenever they like with their own oxygen packs but auxiliaries have to buy it if they plan on doing anything strenuating. Quinn is a premium who happens to be friends with Bea, an auxiliary girl. Both applying for a similar position within the Breathe administration, it soon becomes clear that Quinn's contacts will always place him higher than Bea's superior intelligence. He plans a trip, a holiday shall we say, to go outside the dome. This isn't unusual for those living inside the dome; with plenty of provisions and a few air tanks, they can go exploring the ravaged outside for a good couple of days.
It is quite clear Bea is head over heels in love with Quinn but feels he will never feel the same way, him being a Premium. Her doubt is further increased when, as they are about to leave the dome, he helps a girl, Alina, through the gates by using his superior status within the community. Quinn fancies Alina and this is very clear from the moment he meets her in the school canteen - so he is willing to do anything to get her attention, even if it means helping her across the border without identification. He soon finds out that Alina is a RAT, part of the Resistance, the very organisation that is trying to take down Breathe. Parting ways with Alina early on in the novel, he soon persuades Bea that they should go after her - and this is where the real action begins.
Although it seems as if a love triangle is forming, it never does as Alina makes it very clear she is not attracted to Quinn in the slightest. When Quinn gets separated from the group, I felt that the story would become a little jumpy and awkward - surely Bea and Alina couldn't get along? It was interesting to see the alliances they made and how far they would go in their friendships to save each other. The fact that they managed to cause civil war within the dome greatly intrigued me and set the way for the sequel which is due out in 2013.
Breathe is definitely an apt name for this book; it is so fast paced and exciting that you often forget to do just that! I am eagerly anticipating the release of the sequel and have to tell you that this is definitely the stand out book for me of 2012. If I could give it more than five stars, I would.
Thanks to Bloomsbury for the opportunity to read and review Breathe.
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