Book Review: The Resistance by Gemma Malley

* Warning! This is the second book in the series and while I’ve done my best to avid spoilers there may be some for those who haven’t read the first book’ *

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 rumoured 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. (From
I loved the first book in Gemma Malley’s dystopian series, The Declaration (review here ), so much that once I turned the last page I eagerly picked up this second instalment straight away. The Resistance picks up Anna and Peter’s story not long after the first left off and I found it a very easy continuation to make. In fact I loved The Resistance even more and once again flew through the pages.
While The Declaration focuses mainly on Anna and life for the Surplus children, this time the focus is on Peter and life outside amongst ‘legals’. Finding it difficult to adjust to life outside the Surplus Halls in a world were the young are always treated with suspicion and resentment, and both still heavily involved with the underground movement, Peter seeks to infiltrate Pincent Pharma, where longevity is made by getting a job. But the lure of eternal life is difficult to resist and Peter finds his loyalties tested to the limit, putting everything and everyone he cares about in danger.
The action really steps up in The Resistance. I mentioned in my review of The Declaration that despite being set in the future it had a Dickensian workhouse feel about it. Now we’re outside the Surplus Halls and right in the middle of Pincent Pharma, the huge and powerful home of Longevity, and in the midst of another scientific breakthrough. I’m not the most scientifically minded person ever (understatement) but this fascinated me. Malley gives us enough information to really imagine the world of Longevity without overloading my brain and forcing me to switch off.
The Resistance also takes an even more sinister turn than The Declaration, one that is truly shocking and horrific and yet again, being aware of how hideous humans can be, I still believed it. Nothing about this series seems far fetched at all, many of the themes are ones we can identify even now- only magnified, and this makes it all the more scary.
There are several new characters introduced in this novel. We meet Jude, the half brother who robbed Peter of his legal status by being born just weeks earlier. There’s a real air of mystery around him, I couldn’t work out if he was a good guy or bad guy for most of the book, and I actually don’t think he could. Richard Pincent, owner of Pincent Pharma is ruthless and cruel, making a fantastic villain while Pip, head of the Underground has the true spirit of a resistance leader. He’s both terrifying yet compassionate in equal measures and very mysterious. I continued to like both Anna and Peter too. Malley doesn’t make her heroes perfect, they have flaws which make them all the more human. I thought having Peter question his previous beliefs regarding longevity was a brilliant move and his battle within himself was honest and believable.

Gemma Malley’s writing style is incredibly accessible and readable yet remains intelligent throughout, and I think this series will appeal to a very wide audience, young and old. There are some quite adult themes in this book, and I probably wouldn’t recommend this one in particular to anyone under twelve, however I think they are tackled appropriately enough that I’d be happy for my own children to read these books from around that age. I’d also strongly recommend these books to reluctant readers because of their readability and especially boys who may be put of a little by the very attractive covers. I think it’s pretty important to read the series in order as I think I may have been a little lost if I hadn’t read The Declaration first. As far as sequels go, this is a winner and exceeded my expectation. Again, once I’d read the last page I went straight on to the third and final book in the series, the Legacy. 

Watch out for my review of The Legacy coming next.

Read as part of Read-A-series in September 

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Resistance by Gemma Malley

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