Thursday, 29 November 2012

Book Review: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Alina has 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.

Quinn should 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.

Bea wants 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?

Breathe left me with very mixed feelings.  Parts of it were outstanding and other parts were OK.  I liked the plot and the characters but not enough happened to keep me completely enthralled.  There is a great idea here, I loved the concept and the POD world Crossan created.  I really enjoyed the dystopian elements and I liked that the love triangle (I use the term loosely) was between two girls and a boy.

All of the characters were interesting.  You have Bea, the smart and caring one, Alina, the strong warrior, and Quinn, the funny charmer.  I liked all of these characters but I didn’t fall in love with them.  Joining the main three are a host of secondary characters that were all very well fleshed out.  The most notable is Quinn’s dad who provides a great villain who is maybe not who we are lead to believe he is.

There are real moments of greatness in this book.  There are a couple of scenes in the middle that stand out.  But it is the last quarter which impressed me the most; it was an adrenaline rush of action and suspense.  

Yet for all the things that Breathe does right there is an equal amount which disappointed me.  The romance is lack lustre and I personally didn’t think much of it.  The resistance are disappointing and seemed no better that the corrupt government.  Their leader throws people in dungeons and takes advice from petulant nine year olds.  A few things happen (especially towards the end) that should have been very emotional but I felt no connection to the characters involved and remained emotionally detached from the events.  Also we are introduced to a character early on who may not be who he seems, he is bought up a couple of times but nothing really happens.  I would have liked to have seen a little more of this character because I have a feeling he will be important in the upcoming sequel.  If he isn’t then he is just dropped and left which would be a disappointment. 

Breathe at times felt like a prologue to me.  With the way it ended I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that it is just one big build up for book two.

Breathe is very enjoyable but I do think there are better dystopian YA novels out there.  I will pick up the next book in the series because I believe there is potential here.

3 stars

Published October 11th 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing.  A free copy was provided for review. Image courtesy of Goodreads

Review by Kate Phillips


  1. Great review! I agree with you completely. Maybe part of the problem for me was that I was hoping Breathe would be AMAZING!!! Like, 6 stars. So I too was disappointed with it. Some parts were really cool and I do like the overall idea, but I felt kind of detached from it. As you said, there are a few scenes that should have been (and could have been) really emotional and heart-wrenching, but then I just felt nothing.. and it was over way too quickly.

  2. I recently read a book that left me with similar feelings. I actually find it to be the most difficult reviews to write. The synopsis appeals to me greatly, so I can only imagine that you found that piece intriguing. Too bad that it was slow. Thanks for the great review.


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