The Resistance by Gemma Malley

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The Resistance by Gemma Malley

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Follow up future catastrophe thriller dealing with the potential for extending life through drugs and stem cell research. Thoughtful but also tense and exciting.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: September 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 0747587736

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We left Peter and Anna after their escape from a Surplus Hall and the surprise of becoming Legal. In Peter and Anna's world, a drug called Longevity has made death a thing of the past and children an unwanted and resource-costly surplus. Childbirth is illegal, unless you are prepared to give up your chance of immortality. And few people are. But there are some gainsayers, forced into an Underground movement to which Peter and Anna belong. It was the Underground that helped them escape from the Surplus Hall.

So when Peter is asked to infiltrate the Pincent Pharma Corporation, currently close to unveiling Longevity+, he sees it as a chance not only to repay his debt, but also to strike a blow at the organisation he most despises, and an organisation whose president is his own grandfather. How far is this one man going to keep his grip on one of the most powerful positions in society?

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, which dealt with Anna's time in and escape from a Surplus Hall, so I was very much hoping that Malley could sustain her idea into a second book and even beyond. Cleverly, she chooses this time to centre on Peter. Peter is very different to Anna. He was brought up by a "normal" family, albeit in hiding, while Anna was conditioned into subservience. And so Peter is aggressive. He finds it difficult to hide his outrage. I appreciated this change of outlook - it freshened the themes and will enable thoughtful readers to reassess their reactions from last time.

The writing is equally straightforward and easy to read, once again belying some fairly complex themes. The overall thrust - that treating new life with contempt in a search to prolong old life is wrong - is simple enough. But of course, this isn't the only question longevity (and Longevity) throws up, and Malley takes us further into the nuts and bolts of the research process. Are stem cells ok? Is using Surplus children to retrieve stem cells ok? Is all medical research into prolonging life wrong? Or does it simply become twisted when profit and power is involved? Could we ourselves resist the temptation?

It's an intelligent book, but accessible to every reader. Great stuff.

My thanks to the nice people at Bloomsbury for sending the book.

They should read the first book in the series before The Resistance, while The Last Free Cat by Jon Blake is another super future catastrophe novel.

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