Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review by Alex- The Resistance

The Resistance by Gemma Malley

First off: Warnings for all those who haven’t read the first book, The Declaration. Possible spoilers.

The year is 2140. Having escaped the horrors of Grange Hall, Peter and Anna are living freely on the Outside, trying hard to lead normal lives, but unable to leave the terror of the Declaration--and their experiences as surpluses--completely behind them. Peter is determined to infiltrate Pharma Corporation, which claims to have a new drug in the works; "Longevity+" will not just stop the ravages of old age, it is rumored to reverse the aging process. But what Peter and Anna discover behind the walls of Pharma is so nightmarish it makes the prison of their childhood seem like a sanctuary: for in order to supply Pharma with the building blocks for Longevity+, scientists will need to harvest it from the young. Shocking, controversial, and frighteningly topical, this sequel to Gemma Malley's stellar debut novel, "The Declaration," will take the conversation about ethics and science to the next level.

This is the sequel to The Declaration. I don’t think there will be a third… but who knows. I may have to look into it. But The Resistance ends fine, and while not everything is wrapped up, it’s pretty much settled. So really, there’s no need for a third, but it would be interesting.

So The Resistance is set in the same world as The Declaration. We’ve got Anna and Peter together, with baby Ben, a few months after The Declaration left off. A new character is thrown in- a young Legal, just a little older than Peter. As in, the son from the mistress who made Peter a Surplus by taking his Legal status. This makes Peter and the boy, Jude, half brothers.

Once again, the book is in third person, skipping from person to person. Mostly, the focus is on Anna, Peter, and Jude, with occasional glimpses into Richard Pincent, Peter’s grandfather and leader of Pincent Pharma, and also Pip, leader of the Underground, the group sworn to take down Longevity and all that it stands for.

Each of the young lives are actually quite separate. Peter and Anna live together with Ben. (Which I find a bit weird- they’re so young! Like, my age… I can’t imagine living with a boy now. Plus, they’re young in their world too, compared to all the Legals, all over 100 or whatever. Crazy.) But they don’t actually interact much it seems, since Peter is busy with his new job at Pincent Pharma. Jude doesn’t actually meet either Peter or Anna until later.

I felt the characters were kind of lacking. They were more just like figurines to play out the plot and deliver the theme and messages, which really are the two focus points. There’s nothing much new about the characters so much and I don’t find them all that interesting. But the themes… hoo boy. There’s so much to think about.

It reminded me in ways of The House of Scorpions by Nancy Farmer, which I read a few weeks ago. Old people must rely on young ones to keep them alive. In The House of Scorpions, powerful people make clones of themselves to take organs from when needed. In The Resistance… well I won’t say. It’s pretty terrible though.

Also, I've been thinking... In the post-apocolypse books I've read (really, this means The Chrysalids and The Forest of Hands and Teeth), both societies revert back to religion. Like, it's religion all the way. And then, in The Resistance, there's no religion whatesoever. There's a bit of talk about the lack of religion actually, but no one is actually religious. Why is it that science and religion are always on the opposite sides of the river? I mean, I get it, and in some ways, I wonder why they can't be together... alright ignore me. Now I'm rambling and off pondering.

All in all, great read. It really gets one thinking: about all that stuff that could happen, about social status, about what it means to live, about how to live, and about what it would be like to live in a world like that. The whole thing’s a bit disturbing, and as a young person, I find some of the stuff horrifying, but also extremely interesting, and really worth the read. :)

And I just realised, this was my 75th book read this year! :D Yay. 3/4 of the way there to my 100 book challenge for 2009. I'll make it in no time to 100. If you want to keep up with my progress and see all the books I've read, go here. Lauren's also doing it, and if you want to see how she's doing, you can check out her lj.

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