Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Book Review: Resist by Sarah Crossan

Resistance to the Pod Leadership has come apart. The Grove has been destroyed but so has the Pod Minister. Quinn, Bea and Alina separately must embark on a perilous journey across the planet's dead landscape in search of the rumoured resistance base Sequoia. Meanwhile the Pod Minister has been succeeded by his capricious daughter. Her brother, Ronan, is supposed to advise her, but his doubts about the regime lead to him being sent out of the Pod in search of Quinn. In a world in which the human race is adapting to survive with little air, the stakes are high.

Breathe was not my favourite book of last year so I wasn’t expecting much from its follow up, Resist. Generally speaking I enjoyed it a lot more but I still had some issues. The main problem with both Resist and Breathe is that there is room for so much depth in them but it stays on the easy surface and just vaguely stummbles through the plot line with no real character or story building. There was just so much that was left hanging and I wanted a lot more from it.

Firstly, I felt like the consequences of the events in Breathe were never really explored. The characters thought about it and there were some vague descriptions of emotional impact but it was not enough. Bea, for example, had lost everything and I wanted to feel her fear, her despair but what I got was blankness. She wasn’t one dimensional, and she was a lot better than she was in the first book but there was still a nothingness to her that was boring.

Then there was the mysterious Abel who had been mentioned and in my opinion built up in the first book. I said in my review of Breathe that I felt he would have a bigger part to play in Resist and I was right, but he may as well have stayed away for all the impact he had. It was a waste of a character that had huge potential.

Another opportunity for depth came from bad guy Maks. Maks is violent, mean and sadistic yet there is a moment where he seems to feel genuine remorse for his actions and pain for his situation. There were tears in his eyes and I thought that his character was going to go on a journey of self-discovery and try and right his wrongs. But it was just forgotten about and he went back to being a prat and I again lamented the loss in depth. It was like that moment never happened which made me wonder what it was doing there in the first place.

One of the things that really were improved on was characters. I only liked Alina in the first book but that others grew on me here. Alina was still by far my favourite but Quinn & Ronan definitely rose in my estimations and as I already mentioned Bea was a lot more bearable.

Unfortunately plot was not one of the improvements. Breathe had a touch of originality about it with the dome and the tree hugging resistance but Resist seemed to fall into much more regular dystopian territory. By that I mean forced pregnancies and rape culture gone mad. It feels like most YA dystopians need to add these themes which was fine the first few times but now something a little different would be nice. Rape isn’t edgy.

The ending was also a little disappointing although I do commend the author for having the guts to do the hard thing. No victory comes without sacrifice. It was disappointing because I have no idea what really happened, there was loads of fighting but then the bad guys were gone, the corrupt government were gone, but gone where? I have no idea what happened to them when all was said and done. It felt unfinished.

This review paints a harsh picture and it probably deserves a little more praise from me because it is an exciting and engaging read. I am harsh because it could have been amazing, it had that potential. Instead it was just ok which was a shame.

3 stars

Published October 10th 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. A free copy was provided for review.  Images courtesy of Goodreads.

Review by Kate Phillips 

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