Friday, 24 October 2008

The Resistance - Gemma Malley

I was extremely excited when The Resistance came out. I was looking forward to it since reading the first installment, The Declaration. But, alas, its sequel didn't live up to the expectations at all. It wasn't near as gripping as the first book. It was mainly focused on Peter, instead of Anna. Anna actually makes her first appearance only after maybe fifty pages! (I borrowed the book so I can't check now, but trust me, it took way too long for her to appear). It also dedicates too much time to scientific speculations about Longevity and its role in the world. The book was going to be called Longevity+, and although I preferred The Resistance as a title, imagining actual actions of resistance from the Underground, I have to say that the previous title would have been more appropriate. Almost the whole story revolves around the concept of Longevity, with its supporters praising its virtues to the (initially) skeptical Peter, and the resistance doing nothing more than sporadically and basically ineffectively attacking some vans. I was also annoyed by the way Malley treated her characters, showing us their absolute commitment to a cause in the previous book and then portraying them as relatively easy to be convinced that they might have been wrong. Maybe I'm being too harsh. To be fair, Peter and Anna are only teenagers, and although they acted almost like adults at the end of The Declaration they're still young, unexperienced and probably not so hard to manipulate. But I expected more from them, so it wasn't pleasant to watch Peter and then Anna capitulate.
On top of that, I grew increasily uncomfortable about the whole good versus evil issue. I'm ok with moral versus immoral, freedom versus repression, justice versus injustice. But when angels and demons are mentioned I start to shift uneasily on my seat. Gemma Malley made it a matter of religion, or the lack of one. According to Peter's grandfather, Longevity has suppressed the need of the people to believe in God. They are not mortals anymore, so they feel like gods themselves. This, it is implied, is what's wrong with their world. The devils are running it and they're not afraid of God anymore. The Declaration could have been read in many ways. I saw the similarities between the Surplus and the immigrants in the real world, with the way they are despised and accused, but they are also needed to do the hardest jobs. Someone else might have interpreted differently and see the lack of religious views. Fine. Now, though, it was all less subtle. It was definitely a battle of Science versus God, and it didn't go down well with me.

Other blog reviews:
Jen Robinson
Karin's Book Nook


Nymeth said...

That's too bad. Good versus evil stories don't tend to work very well for me either, especially when "good" and "evil" are defined in rigid and simplistic terms. And while I don't mind stories told from a religious perspective, the idea that science is "bad" definitely doesn't go down well with me either. So yeah...I think I'd have reacted the same way you did.

valentina said...

i don't know if it was simplistic, but definitely too straightforward for my tastes! I think I will want to read the continuation though, at least to know the end of the story!
I'm surprised to see how many people liked it and even thought it was better than the first...

Louisa said...

I thought it was good, better then the first. I agree with Nymeth, when science starts to be portrayed as something thats bad thats when I feel like somethings up. Other wise, a very good book thats interesting to read.

Its nice to have a different perspective on things, to be shown two sides of the same story. I liked the fact that it wasn't all about the future being something with fancy gadgets and floating cars and such. Just a much worse off world then today (todo with the global warming)

I liked it and thought it was an interesting read which left lots of things to think about.

Anonymous said...

the best book ive ever read BY FAR. alot better than the first. when i was reading it i felt like i was watching a film.

HOWEVER im reli dissapointed how gemma portrayed anna. she made anna look really stupid, falling for tht trap with maria..
and anna was too "mumsy" for me. too comfortable.

wayy more exciting than the first tho. how can u say ur dissapointed with any of it?? ( anna aside )

make a third gemma!

valentina said...

Yes, Anna's behaviour was one of the reasons why I didn't like as much as the Declaration. I disliked Peter has well and didn't like how his character changed. I didn't think it was a very interesting plot, and besides, I was expecting it to be more about The Resistance than about Longevity+.

Anonymous said...

There's a new Gemma Malley book out around February 2010! It's called The Returners.

Here's a synopsis for you:

Will Hodge's life is a mess! His mother is dead, he has no friends and he thinks he is being followed by a strange group of people who tell him they know him. But Will can't remember them first. And when he does he doesn't like what he can remember. While Will is struggling with unsettling memories, he learns that his past is a lot deeper than many people's, and he has to find out if he is strong enough to break links with the powerful hold that history has on him. This compelling novel, set in alternate future, challenges readers to consider the role we all have to play in making our society, and asks how much we are prepared to stand up for what's right.

Hope this helped!

Jimmypie said...

I agree with not liking how she portrayed the characters. It just didn't fit right, it was too different. And I was also dissapointed that she focused so much on Peter and less on Anna since she carried the first book so well with her unique personality. I would have liked to have seen her again in this new world and how she was rethinking so much and learning how to cope with freedom. Peter is just too typical.

I didn't mind her details on longevity though. I thought it was fascinating and showed how well she did her research (unlike some authors).

This book is in fact a message to the youth of today, because they are very close to coming out with a product of this sort. THey predict that we will see it within our life time, and will without a doubt have it within our childrens lifetime. Scary isn't it? But Do the math, she made us the evil adults in that book.

Its truely an interesting subject and I love her for writing this book in a style that suits everything I love.

valentina said...

thanks for your insightful comment jimmypie! I really hope humanity is not that stupid to fall into this trap. I don't want to think about what could happen, too scary!
I hope the third book will feature Anna more and describe the underground movement in a more positive active way!

TheGirlFromBefore. said...

Back again! This time it's to post another of Gemma Malley's upcoming books.
And guess what?
It's called The Revelation, the THIRD AND FINAL conclusion to the declaration series.
Are you as excited as I am? I think so.
Unfortunately, I don't have a synopsis for you, but rest assured I shall find one. And when I do, I'll be sure to post it here.

Hope I helped!

TheGirlFromBefore. said...

Found one, as promised!

A thrilling finale to the story of Anna and Peter and the quest for Longevity.

When a Pincent Pharma lorry is ambushed by the Underground, its contents come as a huge surprise – not drugs, but corpses in a horrible state.
It appears Longevity isn’t working and the drugs promising eternal youth are failing to live up to their promises.

A virus is sweeping the country, killing in its wake, and Longevity is powerless to fight it. When Richard Pincent of Pincent Pharma suggest that the Underground has released the virus, something has to be done to put the story straight and once and for all alert everyone to the truth.

Hope I helped!

valentina said...

That's great, thanks for the news!

TheGirlFromBefore said...

Gemma Malley has finally posted an extract of the final book in The Declaration trilogy! Unfortunately, I can't post the whole thing here because I could only use 4,096 characters, but here's a link:

Hope you like it - I certainly did!

Anonymous said...

:( I loove The Declaration, and, in fact, I buyed the book yesterday. It was a great debut of Gemma Malley, but after reading your review, I don't think I'm going to like the sequel. Because I think that she must keep the same personalities of the characters and the same focus at them. Or instead, she could have removed Anna from the book so Peter can have more space. But well, thk 4 da great review!!

valentina said...

Dear Anon,
even though it wasn't my perfect cup of tea, a lot of other readers enjoyed it. This was only my personal opinion, I wasn't trying in any way to stop others from reading it, although I understand that negative reviews can put people off sometimes. Thanks for stopping by and reading my review :)