Book Review: Pulse, by Patrick Carman

pulse_coverBy the year 2051, nearly the entire US population is divided among two primary territories: the Eastern State and the Western State. The world is in panic about global warming, and scientists are desperately searching for ways to save mankind.

Those who don’t live within the State’s protective walls live upon the debris and ruins of our former country. These small, aligned communities are strictly governed by the States, who despite their formal requests, refuse to supply them with anything more than food and clothing. However, the States do distribute Tablets to the outsiders, which soon become the core of their survival. Everything: school, entertainment, shopping, communicating — even drugs — are all experienced on these Tablets, which are very similar to the electronic tablets we have today, only slightly more advanced.

The resisters of society are strongly encouraged to move to the States, for it increases their population and strengthens their power, two things considered to be necessary in overcoming the hardships of the current. Many resisters feel compelled to make the switch, but are hesitant with the knowledge that once you step foot inside the States’ boundaries, there’s no going back.

Among the resisters is a girl named Faith Daniels. At the beginning of the story, she attends a high school whose number of students is rapidly dwindling, and lives a repetitive, tedious life. She, too, sees it as inevitable, but refuses to give in, knowing that moving to the States would require her to surrender her freedom and trade it for sanctuary, something she was unwilling to do. This I admire her for: not sacrificing her freedom, even though it seemed like the easy way out.

When Faith’s classmate, Dylan Gilmore, reveals that she has a “pulse” — a telekinetic ability in which she can move objects using her mind — everything gets a lot more complicated. Together, Dylan (who also possesses the pulse) must track down a group of evil, telekinesis masterminds who turn inanimate objects into deadly weapons in their greedy search for influence, prosperity, and utmost power. Someone must stop them from corrupting the world’s leaders, and ruining the slim chance of survival they have managed to obtain. Dylan and Faith set out to do just that, and must unleash the full power of their newfound talents in order to do so, meanwhile discovering things about themselves — and each other — that will change them forever.

One unique aspect of this novel was the point of view chosen by the author. It was written from third person omniscient, meaning that the reader can tell what every character is thinking at any given point in the story. I feel that the author took a big risk by doing this, however the results are positive for the most part. Another important part of this story was its philosophical and complex world building, which plays a large role in the unraveling and revelation of the plot. This book is the first in a trilogy of the same name, and I am looking forward to seeing how the saga concludes.

When this book was released, there was an abundance of negative and offensive reviews. But honestly, I loved this book and was able to connect with the characters fairly well. Although Faith is consistently volatile and rash throughout the story, she is also brave and stands up for what she believes is right. I stumbled across this book randomly, but I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories of dystopian societies and/or supernatural abilities.

-Danielle K., 7th grade

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