Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Author: Sarah Crossan Website|Twitter
Published: 2nd October 2012 (Bloomsbury Children's)
Format: Kindle e-book
Book Depository: Paperback
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Breathe . . .
The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen–rich air.
This book has been on my radar for a while now because I love dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels! It was available for under £2 for Kindle so I caved and bought it. Breathe tells the story of several characters living in a pod city due to the lack of oxygen in the environment.
The book is told from multiple perspectives - Quinn, a rich kid whose parents can afford to keep him supplied with plenty of oxygen, Bea who comes from a poor family who can't afford to waste oxygen, and Alina who is part of the resistance movement building against the government and Breathe Corporation who control the oxygen supply. I love stories told from multiple points of view and I think it really added something to this book because the three main characters were so different.
Of these characters, Alina was by far my favourite. She was really determined and I felt her desire to do what was right. I think it helped that from the very beginning the resistance is introduced. In most dystopian novels there's usually a wait for the main character to join the rebels so it was great to jump in with that so early on. I loved the whole storyline of the resistance too, especially the bits of the story that take place outside of the pod. I thought the whole issue of the importance of value of trees was really interesting and definitely made me reflect as I read the story, as well as the issues the characters face because of their class and financial situations.
One of the best things about Breathe was that is was British! And set in Britain. Pretty much all the dystopians I read are set in America but having it set in the UK made it infinitely more relatable, both the locations and the way the characters spoke. It just really stood out for me when I compared it to other books I've read and felt so refreshing.
I'd read some reviews of Breathe before starting it, and I was expecting the romance element to take more of a focus in the story and for there to be some sort of love triangle involved. In reality, romance kind of took a backseat, or at least I wasn't really focusing on it too much as I read. There is something there as Bea has to deal with her feelings for best friend Quinn, who in turn seems to be crushing on Alina, but Alina seemed to have no interest in him and to me it was just a school boy crush and that was that.
That part of the story only became a problem for me because I just couldn't warm to Quinn as a character. I didn't see what Bea saw in him, and thought her pining after him was a bit wasted because he came across as a bit of a prat to me! He comes from a privileged background but I don't think that had anything to do with my dislike for him, but there was just something off about him that stopped me connecting with him during the course of the story. It might have been the fact that at the very beginning of the book we're introduced to a character called Abel who seemed quite interesting, but who disappeared quite early on and didn't take on a main role in the book. I would much rather have read more from him.
The pacing of Breathe was spot on and there was a perfect combination of suspense and action that kept me turning the pages. I loved how all the individual stories fitted together. It had all the elements to a great dystopian novel and I'm really excited to read the sequel!
What to read next: Resist by Sarah Crossan, book 2 in the Breathe series
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