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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Next Big Dystopian!
Breathe is a 2012 release that I'd been looking forward to for months so much so that I pushed aside a load of books I was meant to read first because I couldn't wait to read it! Even though I had high expectations before starting this book Breathe by far passed those expectations so much so that I predict that Breathe will be the next big dystopian and up there with the...
Published on 12 Oct 2012 by Jess Hearts Books

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming For Me
If I saw Breathe displayed in a bookshop, I'd pick it up. If I read the synopsis, I'd trot right over the cashier, hand over my hard-earned cash, go home and start reading straight away. It looks good, it sounds good, so it MUST be good.

However, I struggled to enjoy Breathe. I'm not adverse to multiple POV stories, however the flashes between Alina, Quinn and...
Published 22 months ago by Kat


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Next Big Dystopian!, 12 Oct 2012
By 
Jess Hearts Books (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Breathe (Paperback)
Breathe is a 2012 release that I'd been looking forward to for months so much so that I pushed aside a load of books I was meant to read first because I couldn't wait to read it! Even though I had high expectations before starting this book Breathe by far passed those expectations so much so that I predict that Breathe will be the next big dystopian and up there with the best of its genre equal to books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, in my opinion, it deserves to be just as successful.

What initially attracted me to Breathe was the idea of a world without trees and therefore a world where society is totally dependent on the government to provide oxygen for them. As an asthmatic I know all too well how scary it is not to be able to breathe properly which is something that plenty of people take for granted and so the concept of a world that is suffocating seemed so terrifying to me. If the premise alone wasn't intriguing enough there are plenty of exciting twists and turns along the way that make this book even more incredible.

I think what I enjoyed most about Breathe is that this future is highly plausible. There's definitely a moral to the book of looking after our planet but it's very subtle and never feels preachy. Sarah Crossan simply lays out a fictional glimpse into a future without the things we take for granted and believe will always be there and that alone is enough to get the message across.

Breathe is told in alternating chapters between three characters. Quinn a Premium boy whose father is high up in society and so he has never had to worry about not having enough oxygen and yet he's different to other Premiums and doesn't act like he's better than anyone else in society. Then there is Bea, Quinn's best friend, who is an Auxiliary. Her mother and father work hard to the point of illness just so that the three of them have enough air to get by. And then there's Alina who's part of a rebel group, and when she meets Quinn and Bea by chance, shows them that life inside and outside of the Pod is not all it seems. I loved having three very different voices narrating the story and it was so interesting to see what life is like for three different members of society.

Although I liked all three main characters my favourite hands down was Bea. Bea works really hard to help her parents and to hopefully one day become a Premium so she's able to support them in their old age. Bea's such a genuinely nice person and is really brave, selfless, and strong making her an inspirational heroine. She also happens to be hopelessly in love with Quinn although he's never seen her as anything more than a friend. My heart really went out to Bea and I enjoyed reading her chapters the most.

Overall Breathe is a wonderfully imagined, highly developed dystopian. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough and was so sad to reach the end. With a break-neck pace, conspiracy at every turn, and characters you can't help but love Breathe is a dystopian that fans of the genre won't want to miss out on!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming For Me, 1 Jan 2013
By 
Kat (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Breathe (Paperback)
If I saw Breathe displayed in a bookshop, I'd pick it up. If I read the synopsis, I'd trot right over the cashier, hand over my hard-earned cash, go home and start reading straight away. It looks good, it sounds good, so it MUST be good.

However, I struggled to enjoy Breathe. I'm not adverse to multiple POV stories, however the flashes between Alina, Quinn and Bea were so fast that I struggled to keep up with exactly who was narrating and when, although it was also essential to the story to show all their experiences. Yep I realise I'm being completely contradictory.

The characters are probably the part I struggled with the most, overall. Alina isn't a likeable character - and when she does a pretty radical 180 and suddenly cares deeply about everyone I couldn't work out why, or when, this miraculous change of heart actually happened.

Quinn is a sterotypical stupid rich boy who is best friends with a smart, caring girl but doesn't realise it, and instead crushes on a girl that doesn't seem to have any redeamable features.

Bea was pretty much the only main character that I actually liked because although her family was not as rich or influential as Quinn's, she's clever and kind.

Breathe is a believable world as a possible scenario of what could happen if we continue to treat the planet like a big dumping ground, and the idea of a world with no trees, no flowers and living on synthetic foodstuffs is pretty disturbing. The science is well explained, and the world of the dome, and the outlands is very well built, with far more showing than telling.

And although all the ingredients for a tension-filled, action-packed book are there, I had trouble buying into the whole menacing vibe - it felt more like the trio were a bunch of naughty schoolkids that would be grounded, not that their lives were in danger.

Overall for me, Breathe is a book that had so much potential and some good features, but the lack of care I had for the characters, the fact that I could have lazily read the whole 400 pages in 4 hours and the confusingly fast POV switches just left me underwhelmed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breathe, 13 Nov 2012
By 
S. Wilson (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Breathe (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is another Dystopian style book and whilst not the very very best I have read recently (and I truly am comparing it to a couple of amazing books), I certainly don't want to take anything away from what a brilliant book it actually is. The only reason I haven't given this five stars is that I have just recently read a couple of fantastic books in the same genre, had I not read these recently then this certainly would have been awarded the five star marking. This is probably the most 'realistic' book I have read in the dystopian genre as it is probably the most likely to happen in the future which made this book all the more gripping to read.

The book is set not too far in the future when with the worlds population rising and more mouths to feed our descendants have foolishly cut down the majority of trees which subsequently have affected the seas, rivers, lakes etc and finally drastically altered the worlds atmosphere so that oxygen became seriously depleted. To enable the population to survive (well those lucky few who could buy their way in or who won their way in), pods have been built across the world which are self contained habitations. Air is precious and so is limited to a certain amount but if you are rich then you can afford to buy more. The pod's are split into three sectors (sector's 1, 2 & 3) and so is the population. In sector 1 are the very wealthy who are known as Premiums - these inhabitants can afford air and so these people are able to run, exercise, have fun and have fun with each other. Yes you guessed it, if you want to have children or just have the fun involved in making children then you have to be able to buy the additional air to do it! In sector 3 are the very poor who are known as auxiliaries - these inhabitants do the jobs that the very rich won't which of course is a reflection very much of society today.

The book follows three individuals and is written in first person as each of those people who are Quinn (a wealthy premium), Bea (an unwealthy auxilary) and Alina (an unwealthy auxilary who also happens to be a freedom fighter). Quinn and Bea are friends but Bea would like to be more than friends and Quinn being a typical bloke doesn't realise this. Quinn and Bea are due to go on a trip outside the pod which Quinn is providing the very expensive extra air tanks involved to do this when on their way out of the pod Alina seeks their help to escape the pod as after a recent incident the pod authorities are after her for being a terrorist (well they say terrorist when all she has done is stolen some plant cuttings). Quinn and Bea help her (Alina definitely helped by the fact that Quinn fancies her) and quickly become embroiled in something so much bigger than their normal little lives within the pod. Are the Breathe authorities hiding something from the populace? Will Bea get Quinn or will he waltz off into the desolate land with Alina?

Just to reassure any non-romantic potential readers that despite the love triangle it really isn't a lovely touchy feel book but actually a really good and at most times action packed book. I really enjoyed this book and shall definitely be on the look out for the next in the series.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All I need is the air that breathe provides for me to breathe, 26 Aug 2012
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Breathe (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A science fiction novel for young adult readers. Ideal age being thirteen and up, due to some slight violence and mild adult references. But it's good enough to be enjoyed by older readers as well.

It's a dystopia describing life in a new society that has arisen following the collapse of the one that we know.

And it's the first in a trilogy, thus the story is a long way from being resolved by the end of this volume.

It runs for three hundred and seventy one pages. And is divided into five parts [four long and one very short] and fifty seven chapters.

So far so familiar.

So what does Breathe offer to make it stand out in a rather crowded genre and marketplace?

It's the story of life in the world after the Switch. In a treeless world, oxygen levels have plunged. And only a few get to live in the Pod. A self contained habitation, divided into various zones. Air is provided by the breathe corporation. Who give the residents regular vaccinations. Society is divided into two groups. Premiums and auxiliaries. Only the former are able to afford to live a good life.

Anyone who doesn't go along with society in the Pod is ejected. And anyone living outside the Pod may not last long, as there's not a lot of air there.

There are three main characters. All teenagers. Each are viewpoint characters and narrate alternating chapters each, in first person present tense. Each chapter does say who the narrator is at the start, and you do get used to them very quckly, so this isn't a problem.

Alina is a rebel. Sent into the pod on a mission.

Bea is a schoolgirl, who is very good at debating and has studied very hard all her life and is seemingly on course for a bright future with pod leadership.

Quinn is a friend of hers. Son of an important official and not quite as good at academic things as Bea. He has an eye for the girls. All except Bea, who he has never really noticed in a romantic way despite their friendship.

When Alina runs into trouble just as Quinn and Bea are going on a trip outside the Pod, he helps her escape. And th three of them find what life is like in the world outside. That there is more to their worrd than they could have ever imagined. And the choices they have to make and their resulting actions will ensure that things will never be the same again...

It's an original idea for a dystopia and it never preaches at the reader, instead forces you to think about the way this world has come to be. Once you get used to the alternating viewpoint and the characters, it does also become very readable. Alina is a little difficult to like at first but you do get used to her in due course. Bea is highly sympathetic though right from the off, because of things that happen to her early on. And Quinn is amiable enough.

The strength of the book though is in the characters because all three grow and change an awful lot over the course of the book, and what may seem like a predictable love triangle at first doesn't work out how you might expect.

All that happens comes about as a result of character choices rather than the needs of the plot, and it does manage to make some of the supporting cast appealingly three dimensional as well, as you will see from an excellent final scene for one of them.

This leaves all the character in a very different place at the end to where they started, and with long journeys ahead of them. And it also leaves you wanting to know what will happen to them next. An excellent start to what should be a good series, and I look forward to the second volume.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An interesting idea, executed in a mediocre fashion, 26 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Breathe (Kindle Edition)
This could have been so much better. The beginning is quite interesting, and the whole idea of the story not bad at all. But it appears that the main resistance hides out in a football stadium a stone's throw from the city under the dome, and the oxygen company's sophisticated means of tracking/killing haven't found them before? And then a handful of rebels make a stand? At least they lose (sorry to be giving the storyline away), opening the way for a sequel...which I won't be reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original Idea wrapped in Drama and Romance, 15 Jun 2013
This review is from: Breathe (Paperback)
Originally posted on www.justthisteenager.blogspot.co.uk! Visit for more reviews!
Breathe by Sarah Crossan is a dystopian novel set in a world without air, where people have to live inside giant domes in where the air is rationed. Of course, being a YA novel there has to be major social differences with the Premiums being allowed enough oxygen for normal life while Auxiliaries struggle to afford enough to live...... any opposers to the regime are forced from the Pod into the oxygen less outside.

It is a rather good plot playing on the ideas going around society today - if we cut down all the trees what will we do for oxygen? Crossan manages to weave a delicate complex story with well-developed characters that is enjoyable and engrossing. My favourite character is Alina but the two friends who rescue her from the law enforcers of the Pod smuggling her outside are also extremely like-able. All Crossan's characters are such that you want to find out what happened to them.

Breathe is one of those novels where the story is split between several viewpoints - in this case between Bea, Alina and Quinn (unfortunately not as fit as Quinn from the Night World series!)
Alina
Alina is the rebel, the one who knows what the Premium government are up to, whose dedicated her life to fighting it - despite the horrific consequences if she's found out (one of which is to be left slowly suffocating from lack of air on the Outside). She is very strong, and from the start of the novel is detached and unwilling to form any attachments to anyone, romantic or just friendly.

Bea
Bea is an Auxiliary who is best friends with a Premium. When she fails to gain admittance onto a program she should have got onto, and her friend does, she begins to doubt the fairness and validity of the whole set-up. Bea is very caring and isn't afraid to form attachments unlike Alina. Once she befriends Alina she begins to represent Alina's humane side making Alina more humane and less detached than she previously was.

Quinn
Quinn is a Premium, son of one of the high-up politicians. He's friends with Bea and when she doesn't get on the above mentioned program he too begins to doubt the system. Bea and Quinn help Alina out of the Pod when she reveals she's in trouble to them - despite having never really met them before. Quinn is strong and brave but having been brought up by some-one who is in the corrupt system is unable to really believe that it is really corrupt until later on in the book.

I enjoyed Breathe and will look for the next book in the series and grew attached to the 3 main characters and their journey to reach the rebels. I think Crossan has managed to set herself up well for the next novel and I really want to read it now to find out how Alina gets on and whether the other two manage to catch up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking., 30 Nov 2012
By 
N. J. H. (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Breathe (Paperback)
Breathe is a dystopian YA novel with so much potential to be a mind-blowing series; I seriously hope this series takes off as much I loved it.

Breathe is about a world without Oxygen. There is a supply available but only for those deemed worthy (rich) enough for it. I kind of expected, with a concept like that, for Breathe to be good but I hadn't heard much hype about it so doubted I would be blown away. I actually loved this almost as much as Divergent - it was that good! So why there is no oxygen? There are no longer any trees and why? Because the government, of course, likes a bit of control and Oxygen is a good way to get co-operation.

I liked the ideas Crossan had. Like no high levels of activity were allowed because this used up too much oxygen so you would be fined for being over-excited, jumping, running or basically for doing anything remotely strenuous in public. Except for those with oxygen cylinders provided by the government, they can do as they please. Some of these people earned cylinders as part of a "lottery" when the oxygen initially ran out and the Pod was made. Pods are where populations now live. Areas protected by a large barrier covering the entire city - the front cover is exactly how I imagined them to look.

Within the Pod there are premiums and Auxillaries. Premiums have a constant supply of oxygen for the entire family whereas Auxillaries do not (many of them teach themselves to function with very little oxygen). The story is told from three perspectives with three first-person narratives. Quinn, a premium boy with a politically important father, and his best friend Bea, who is an auxillary, are the two key players in the narratives. Bea is clearly in love with Quinn, who doesn't seem to know she exists beyond being his best friend and Bea is competing to become a Premium for her family. Alina however, is a really interesting character. Alina is also an Auxillary (so her family, like Bea's, are desperate for air and must work countless hours to earn enough air to live). What's interesting about Alina though is that she's a rebel, part of a rebel group working to overthrow the government. Alina does not believe in the Government. She doesn't buy their rules. Alina makes her own. How? By stealing seeds and growing trees!

It was such a great idea to have three very different characters, with three very different outlooks and purposes, who are thrown together into an oxygen-less environment with nothing but oxygen-deficient air to breathe. This all happens for a variety of reasons, which you'll love so I won't say anymore about them. However, outside of the Pod there is more than a lack of oxygen to fear.

I really urge everyone to read this book. I've literally thrust my copy of this book onto everyone I know because it's so fantastic (and I haven't done that for a while much to their relief) so definitely get yourself a copy! This series is going to really take off, it has to, it's brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more, more!, 23 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Breathe (Kindle Edition)
Wow, amazing book! Leaves you on a cliff hanger, I actually shouted "more!". Definitely worth a read, you will not be left disappointed. Just wish I didn't have to wait a year for the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breathe, 18 Nov 2012
This review is from: Breathe (Paperback)
In 'Breathe' Sarah Crossan has taken the seed of a truly original idea and allowed it to flourish and grow into this spectacular novel. I always wonder where authors get the ideas for their books and this one in particular is truly unique. Imagine a world where oxygen is a valued and precious commodity, now in short supply. Where you can't run around, kiss the boy you love or simply lead a normal life because you may not have enough oxygen to breathe to do so. This is the terrifying concept which Sarah Crossan weaves into her new book.

I first came across Sarah's writing last year when I read her first book, the brilliant 'The Weight of Water' which was entirely in prose. It was an impressive debut and I've been looking forward to having the opportunity to read more of her work ever since. 'Breathe' is quite a change of direction for her and her first young-adult novel but it absolutely lived up to all my expectations.

Three distinct characters share the narrative: Bea, Quinn and Alina. Thrown together on a journey outside of the 'protective pod' in which they live, they set out to discover the real truth about the world they've all come to fear. Each character had a very unique voice which helped with the alternating chapters. My personal favourite was Bea who is an Auxiliary. In love with her best friend Quinn, she longs for a better life for herself and her family. She's kind hearted and intelligent and was an appealing figure in the book with a genuine heart of gold. There's a kind of love triangle between the three teenagers, which initially I was a little wary of but I liked the outcome of this which didn't necessarily follow the traditional pattern.

This is a truly captivating and engrossing book which is the first in a new trilogy. If you enjoyed the Matched series by Ally Condie then you'll love 'Breathe'. I was swept away by the story and the fast paced plot and can't wait to find out what's going to happen next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept but failed to capture my imagination., 6 Nov 2012
By 
Kate Phillips "Kate" (Southampton, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Breathe (Paperback)
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 are 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 part of this book 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.
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Breathe
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
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