Today, I'm reviewing Resist by Sarah Crossan. I loved Breathe when it came out in 2012, so I've been really looking forward to this!
Published October 8th 2013 by Greenwillow Books
Format read: E-ARC courtesy of publisher
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Bea, Alina, and Quinn are on the run. They started a rebellion and were thrown out of the pod, the only place where there's enough oxygen to breathe. Bea has lost her family. Alina has lost her home. And Quinn has lost his privileged life. Can they survive in the perilous Outlands? Can they finish the revolution they began? Especially when a young operative from the pod's Special Forces is sent after them. Their only chance is to stand together, even when terrible circumstances force them apart. When the future of human society is in danger, these four teens must decide where their allegiances lie. Sarah Crossan has created a dangerous, and shattered society in this wrenching, thought-provoking, and unforgettable post-apocalyptic novel.
Things that worked:
Like Breathe, one of the strongest points for Resist is the cast of characters. Alina, Bea and Quinn all return to narrate the book, but they're joined this time by Ronan - a character whom readers were briefly introduced to in Breathe.
Crossan uses all four narrative voices to great effect, showing how these four teenagers are surviving in a post-rebellion world. The original trio are used to emphasize and support the main points of the rebellion that were established in the first book, while jointly showing how they've individually grown in the course of their journey. Bea, Alina and Quinn are all asked to endure challenges that would have seriously tested them in the first book, and you can see how their journey as shaped, molded and force them to grow. Ronan provides a thought-provoking counterpoint as someone who is coming to terms with the idea that everything he was once taught about life in the Pod is a lie.
While I thought that Crossan did a fantastic job of chartering the growth of Alina, Bea and Quinn, I also liked her introduction of Ronan. Even though his past ideologies have been seriously challenged, he doesn't lapse into denial or rejection of that fact. Instead, he soldiers on - quite literally, in this case - while smartly making the necessary bargains and compromises to achieve his own objectives.
Outside of the main characters, I also seriously enjoyed Crossan's introduction of the new secondary characters as well. She plays on the idea of people turning to extreme, almost cultish beliefs in times of crisis, and showing how ordinary people truly can be driven to anything, including forced relationship pairings and cruel treatment, in the belief that it will help society endure.
I've seen both scary and cookie cutter villains in literature, and both Vanya and Maks are amongst some of the scariest that have come across my path.
Like Breathe, the pacing in Resist moves briskly.
The action is partially driven by the multiple perspectives - Crossan uses her ability to jump between characters as a fantastic way of propelling the action forward. Through the four different pairs of eyes, we're able to get a sense of how things are proceeding in multiple areas, and how it adds to the bigger picture of the rebellion.
But outside of the multiple perspectives, Crossan also proves that she's just darned good at juxtaposing the accelerated collapse of both life inside the Pod, and life at Sequoia. She shows just why both societies are becoming increasingly unstable, and how (and why) the survivors and the foursome are increasingly desperate for an alternative.
* The setting
Crossan essentially gives us three settings throughout Resist - the Pod, Sequoia and the lands in between.
The Pod is familiar territory, but she shows how it's been forced to change and adapt into the aftermath of the rebellion. Sequoia is a slightly twisted - if possible - and darker version of the Grove, and Crossan beautifully uses the setting to emphasize that age-old belief that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
We also return to the outlying lands again, with Crossan using a fairly famous landmark this time, to emphasize the pre and post impacts of the Switch.
All three settings are strong characters in their own right, and Crossan uses these places to force her characters (and in many ways, the reader) to grow even more so than before.
Things that didn't work/Things to consider:
While readers do get some fantastic insight into how Bea, Quinn and Alina have respectively developed through the course of both books, I was personally left always wanting more. Crossan had a knack for throwing in great details about each character - e.g. Alina casually mentioning that she wants to give the finger to someone for not understanding a particular situation - that made me feel like I was getting to truly know the heart and soul of a character, but that would be abruptly cut off as the POV transitioned to someone else.
I'll be honest: this emphasis on plot over character, probably wasn't helped by the introduction of Ronan's POV. However, he's also so essential to the story, I think readers just need to keep in mind that this definitely isn't a story about character development, and the story will work as it is.
Strongly recommend for fans of YA dystopian, especially for fans of Veronica Roth's who are looking for something else to read now that Allegiant has been released!
About the author:
She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing.
She currently lives in NYC.