Friday, July 18, 2014

Not an Easy Ride (or an Easy Read!) for me!

Resist (Breathe, #2)Resist by Sarah Crossan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

     At the end of Sarah Crossan's first novel in this duo I was left breathless, excited and looking forward to finding out how the tale concluded. The destruction of the 'The Grove' — another domed area where trees were now flourishing, and people were at last living away from the tyrannous Air Tax — had left me feeling shattered and sad. I was looking forward with great expectation, to reading about the Resistance as it built slowly and steadily.

I was also gripped by the fact that the novel read from first person perspectives. But unfortunately those perspectives which held me in the first novel had begun to lose their grip: Bea, Jude, Quinn, Ronan, Alina — oh dear, the trouble was there were too many ‘I’-s, and I ended up becoming thoroughly confused. I thought that by this volume I would have settled down as to which   ‘I’ was which, but sadly no. The ‘I’-s were too much of a muchness whereas interesting characters such as Maude, Jazz and Vanya and even the thug Maks did not get the chance to tell their own story.

Added to the profusion of ‘I’-s, we have the position of all the various masks and air tanks in the story. All characters need them, even if some have been trained to breathe thinner air, but if this is the situation you’ve set up, you do need to remember which air cylinder is where, and how much oxygen is left in each. It can be done, but it makes hard work for the author and even harder work for the reader to remember where all these devices are, and how much oxygen —full  half or empty—  each one has.

     A fragile setup was created with the set-up in the first volume and it takes a lot of skill and finessing to hold this together, and hopefully strengthen it more. I was prepared to stick with it, looking forward to seeing it all gelling together, but the addition of the ticking time bomb towards the end added to the already hackneyed flavour of the narrative. Yet it was anything but exciting.  And the solar respirator stinking? Dear, they stunk from the very beginning, and that would have been a good time to bring in a device to deal with it.

In a word, the story didn’t work out well for this reader although I held out high hopes for it. The concept of the clunky solar respirators ease the problem a little. Still, the inquiring mind is bound to wonder how these contraptions work. They couldn't possibly of course, yet the tale might have been redeemed a bit if the author had at least gone through the motions of an explanation!

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