Resist by Sarah Crossan
Bloomsbury, 2013. ISBN 9781408827208.
In Sarah Crossan's Resist, the eagerly anticipated conclusion to Breathe, minimal back story was supplied so it was easier to treat this as a stand-alone and dive right in with no preconceptions or expectations, which worked slightly better than trying to constantly remember each character's circumstances and failing. The opening chapter plunges the reader into immediate tension and action which doesn't let up until the last three pages. Such immediacy leaves the reader in no doubt as to the perilousness of existing in a world where every breath must be fought for.
Three exiled survivors of a defining battle are each seeking sanctuary and oxygen. Alina, Bea and Quinn, the narrators of Breathe are joined by the POD Minister's son, Ronan, in continuing the narrative, as each character strives to live and to protect what's left of human civilization, both inside the pod and in the Outlands. Despite some bleak scenarios, Crossan continually demonstrates the adaptability of humans and the courage that they are capable of in the most disheartening situations.
Ronan is the enemy, representing everything that is wrong with the pod, but he too is beginning to question the regime especially when recruited to hunt down the Grove's survivors. Sequoia, the much sought resistance base and sanctuary is also hiding secrets and is as controlled and threatening as the pod. It is in this section that Crossan raises some interesting and provocative ideas that sadly are never fully explained or explored. Suffice it to say that the ruling elite of Sequoia is every bit as determined to survive and preserve their way of life as was the Ministry of the pod. No sacrifice or action is deemed too extreme.
With non-stop action, changing allegiances, betrayals and murder, Resist keeps the reader constantly on edge as the narrative swings between the four narrators, each presenting new threats that seem insurmountable. Yet there is hope, and Crossan is at her best when ensuring that the reader sees that right action does exist and can win through because of the strength of individual and group morality. Similarly, her characters are resilient and rarely waver in their belief in each other. Crossan leaves the reader knowing that even in a treeless, oxygen deprived world there is always hope.