When The Switch happened, oxygen levels took a nose dive with both plant and human life dying off as a result. A lottery selected the “lucky” ones to live in an oxygen-controlled dome where the population are split into Premiums and Auxilary, which are basically the haves and the have-nots. Quinn, a Premium, and his friend Bea, an Auxilary, venture out of the dome meeting Alina along the way. The unlikely traveling companions only have two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks as they wander further away from familiarity and into potential danger.
Breathe felt like an ecological version of V For Vendetta plus Under the Dome. It’s an extremely interesting premise, a very timely observation at what humans are doing to their own planet and the fallout from those kinds of actions. Sure, it’s an extreme scenario, but with the nonstop logging of trees and destruction of our greenery living in a place where the oxygen is pumped in may not seem so farfetched.
While I really connected with the idea, I felt the pacing was a bit disjointed. The novel is told from the point of view between all three of the protagonists and there is a solid steady build up throughout most of the book. However the last quarter or so felt abrupt and rushed. A lot of major events happen and felt like they were both occuring very suddenly and with not the same amount of lead in. Yes, this book sets up the sequel but I was surprised to find that I only had a small number of pages left and a lot of dramatics were happening still.
Overall, I’d say that I enjoyed the idea of this story more than the actual execution. There were certainly many shocking moments, some that were jaw-dropping and others that left me confused to the out of character behaviour. I may get around to reading the sequel at some point because I’m curious to see where this goes, but I do hope for a bit more consistency in the characters’ motivations.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ (3/5 stars)
Available: October 2, 2012
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Read as part of Brunch Book Club with Lost in a Great Book.
Wrap up discussion to follow in the coming week.