Resistance, by Samit Basu

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When I wrote about Turbulence a little more than a month ago, I agreed with the book’s cover blurb in my demand for a sequel.  But while it’s hard to make something that is truly good and worthy of others’ consumption, it’s even harder to make something as good to follow the first.  Fortunately, I think Basu succeeds where many others have failed, and offers a sequel that not only delivers on the promise of the first book, but follows it appropriately in tone and structure as well.  If you want good superhero fiction, this is an excellent place to start.  Or, rather, Turbulence is a good place to start.  Then you should read this.  And for heaven’s sake, don’t read them in the other order, you’ll just spoil lots of cool stuff from the first book.

Like last time, I find myself in agreement with the cover blurb on Basu’s book, and yet again I think that the blurb misses something even more wonderful; I’m still convinced that Samit Basu is some sort of Bob Ross of words, successfully conjuring worlds out of thin air with the sparsest of descriptions.  Unlike last time, I took more than one day to finish reading this book.  Perhaps if my reading hadn’t been interrupted by working at an overnight summer camp I would have powered through this book as well.  I can’t tell whether I did not feel as drawn in by Resistance as I did by Turbulence because of those delays or because of something else, but I’m happy to give the book a pass given how much I enjoyed it anyway.

Suffice it to say that if you liked the first book, you’ll like this one too.  And if you haven’t read the first one but are down with non-American supers and women who aren’t just given the short end of the stick, you should definitely read Turbulence (and then Resistance).  If you like superhero stories at all, I suspect you’ll like Basu’s work here.  More on the details after the break…

Yet again, Basu has managed to write a book that feels like it covers a great deal of ground while still keeping the story itself quite short.  His tight focus on high-value scenes and laconic description serves him well in this, but I think it’s his control of pacing and story-progression that stands out the most.  I’m still envious of his capabilities, and wish to practice and perfect them for myself.

This only really seems possible because of this book’s status as a sequel, but Basu also gives new life to a few of the characters who seemed less complex in the first book.  The book’s focus shifts, of course, not dealing with all the same characters that you may recall from Turbulence, and I’m glad to see that the new characters also feel like they’ve been given enough life for me to believe in them.  As always, some of them are more silly or stupid and some of them are less so, but for the most part they feel like actual people (which is always an accomplishment).

Perhaps best of all, the villains of this book aren’t simply there as set dressing intended to cackle threateningly in the background.  Though it isn’t necessarily obvious at first, even those that I thought of at villains from the start have interesting and in many ways sensible motivations and goals.  I rarely felt like I was unable to sympathize with or at least understand where someone was coming from, which made all the various conflict between different supers and non-supers even more intriguing.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but the final climactic reveals near the end of the book really drive this home in a wonderful way.  Just the way a good climactic reveal should.

So, as I have said before and will say again, you should really give these books a try.  They’re easy reads, and they’re both quite good.  Have fun!

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