Fuse by Julianna Baggott
I loved Pure, the first book in this trilogy, and have been looking forward to this book for a year. Fuse delivers 100% on Pure‘s promise, exploring the origins of the dystopia, developing characters and their relationships, and leading them into new landscapes.
Some of the most fascinating parts of this novel came from the psychological manipulations by the Dome and its evil leader–time bombs that attach to people’s limbs, plans to wipe his son’s memories and steal his body–and the torturous choices the other characters are forced to make. There are clues to follow and a mystery to solve as the heroes discover more about the past, their own history and that of their parents, as well as the truth about the destruction that defines their environment.
Narration switches between Partridge and Pressia, half-siblings raised on opposite sides of the Dome’s protection. Both have compelling love stories, as well as a third wheel suitor who creates a kind of love triangle, although their choice seems clear from the beginning. Baggott knows how to write a great love scene, expressing all the longing and complicated feeling of teenagers in love in a place that makes love seem like a dangerous luxury they can’t afford. Her language makes me want to re-read sentences multiple times; you can tell Baggott is a poet as well as a novelist because of the attention she pays to words and phrases.
This book does everything the second book in a trilogy should do: it deepens and complicates the main conflict, takes readers farther into an increasingly complex world, and sets things up for a great ending without making it at all clear what’s going to happen. I only wish the concluding volume were coming out sooner.