The Resisters (Resisters Series #1)

The Resisters (Resisters Series #1)

4.8 15
by Eric Nylund

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In the tradition of Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury, million-copy bestselling Halo author and game developer Eric Nylund brings action-packed science fiction to a young audience with this riveting children's debut. Twelve-year-old Ethan Blackwood has always known exactly what he wanted—to win the state soccer championship, get into the best high school,See more details below

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In the tradition of Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury, million-copy bestselling Halo author and game developer Eric Nylund brings action-packed science fiction to a young audience with this riveting children's debut. Twelve-year-old Ethan Blackwood has always known exactly what he wanted—to win the state soccer championship, get into the best high school, and become an astronaut. Then he meets Madison and Felix, who tell him something . . . insane. They claim that 50 years ago, aliens took over the earth, and everyone past puberty is under their mind control. Ethan doesn't believe it. But then he sees for himself the aliens' monster bug robots and the incredible way that Madison and Felix have learned to fight them. So Ethan Blackwood has a choice: he can go back to his normal, suburban, protected lie of a life—or he can become a Resister. This is science fiction on the lines of Scott Westerfield and Cory Doctorow for middle graders.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When the aliens come, they'll take over our minds and absorb us into a collective, according to Nylund (author of several novels based on the Halo video games) in this series launch, set well into the future. Twelve-year-old Ethan is a star soccer player (a sport now played in mechanical suits). After a party, he is kidnapped by a pair of kids named Felix and Madison, who give Ethan a Matrix-style awakening: aliens took over the planet 50 years ago, and adults are under their control. Kids are free because their brains aren't fully developed, but join the collective when they mature. Ethan also hears the story from the other side—that aliens offered humanity unfettered communication and empathy, leading to the end of war. Nylund does a solid job of keeping Ethan off-balance, and readers who are looking for a quick SF adventure will enjoy the mind-control story and the protagonists' insectoid battle suits. The plot holes, exposition dumps, and predictability (Ethan disobeys orders and saves the day on multiple occasions), however, prevent the book from being especially memorable. Ages 10–14. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Ethan Blackwood is enjoying seventh grade in secure, comfortable Santa Blanca. Like his friends, he is looking forward to the big test that will determine his high school placement. His older sister has already been accepted at Vassar and Ethan hopes for M.I.T. However, there are subtle hints that life in the "neighborhoods" isn't quite what it seems. There are picture-perfect Victorian houses and backyard barbeques, but middle-school soccer games are played using massive nuclear-powered suits. Furthermore, any place outside the community is off-limits, except on carefully supervised field trips. Ethan learns the truth when he meets two young outsiders, Felix and Madison. Fifty years earlier, they tell him, Earth was overrun by the telepathic Ch'zar. Using mind control, the aliens absorbed all human adults into the Collective where they became slave laborers for the invaders. Children were immune to the Ch'zar influence, but only until they reached puberty. So, the "neighborhoods" were established to provide artificial families where kids could be kept safely under control until they were ready for absorption. The two want to recruit Ethan into the Resistance movement against the Ch'zar—but can he really trust them? Ethan, Felix, and Madison are multidimensional characters with authentic emotions and realistic attitudes and motives. This book mixes considerable background exposition with fast-moving action. While the immediate plot issues are resolved, there are plenty of threads left dangling. Middle school boys will enjoy the high-tech battle action and will look forward to the next installment.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
Kirkus Reviews
For Ethan Blackwood, life is perfect. He's a star athlete and an excellent student; he has lots of friends and a warm and loving family. His future is bright; most immediately, he's looking forward to the soccer championship. Until he's kidnapped and finds out that everything he knows is a lie. The Ch'zar—sinister, unseen aliens—have been in control for decades and are slowly but surely stripping the planet of all viable resources.Humans live in isolated neighborhoods that only simulate normal life, with everything manipulated by alien mind control.But mind control doesn't work on children, only on adults. So it's up to the few teens who know the truth to fight back and save their friends and siblings, who are growing older by the day. These are The Resisters...and they, too, are growing older every day. The author of many installments in the Halo series, Nylund is also head writer for Microsoft Game Studios. He sure knows how to set the scene and get the action rolling, placing more-or-less believable characters in an unbelievable landscape, complete with a Ch'zar-altered history. This is clearly the first installment and is engaging enough to leave readers wanting more. (Science fiction. 10 & 14)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Resisters Series, #1
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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Read an Excerpt

° ° ° 1 ° ° ° 

The Last Time For Ordinary 

Ethan Blackwood prepared for battle. 

In the months to come, Ethan would look back and marvel that there could be a fight in which someone didn’t get hurt . . . or his life or the entire human race wasn’t constantly at risk. 

At the time, though, he did think of it as a battle. No one ever thought of it as a game—not when you strapped on six hundred pounds of nuclear-powered exoskeleton athletic suit. 

Inside his suit, he crouched on the sidelines of the Northside Elementary athletic field. Ethan and his teammates huddled around Coach, listening to his plan. Each of them wore an external frame that was stainless steel and hydraulics and orange gecko-grip-soled feet . . . except, of course, Coach. He wasn’t in a suit. For now, he was half their size, a dwarf among giants. 

It was all “defensive action” this and “special team maneuver” that. 

Really, all the fancy terms came down to setting up one last play. 

This was a special repair time-out before the last seven seconds of the state semifinal soccer championship: the Grizzlies vs. the Westside Warriors. The score was tied. 

Twelve-year-old Ethan was captain of the Grizzlies. It was a crushing responsibility for a seventh grader surrounded by the eighth graders on his team. 

But Ethan thrived under pressure. The tougher the midterm, the more he crammed. The tighter the spot in a match, the more Ethan moved like a cat in his suit—?twisting around defenders—even making those near-half-field five-hundred-foot kicks! 

Inside the formfitting cockpit, sweat dripped off the end of Ethan’s nose. 

There were a few moments in Ethan Blackwood’s life that had burned themselves into his memory: a splinter that’d gone through his hand when he was four (his mom had pulled it out); winning two blue ribbons at school science fairs—one for the biology of the nerve, another for a robotic arm; last week at the Sadie Hawkins dance, when he’d fumbled for Mary Vincent’s hand (although technically she had taken his hand)—and this moment. 

Like when he’d had that splinter, won the science fairs, and held Mary’s hand—Ethan felt burning, churning flutters deep in his stomach. 

But this was different. It wasn’t just about Ethan. His whole team had a stake in this, and that made it vital that Ethan get it right. “Blackwood!” Coach Norman said. “Your head in this match?” 

Ethan Blackwood looked at his teammates. The snarling-bear emblems on their chest plates stared back at him; the pressure circuits in their arms and legs twitched and hissed as if the suits were somehow nervous too. 

Ethan met the dark gray eyes of Coach. “Yes, sir.” 

Coach went on then . . . something about the importance of focus . . . as Ethan’s gaze drifted past him, along the sidelines of the field and the bleachers. 

The cheers were completely distracting. 

Ethan adjusted the filters on his targeting camera to shade the huge lights overhead that turned night into day on the field. He spotted his mom in the stands, with her golden Filipino features smiling, and Dad, with his strong Cherokee jaw clenched (Ethan had inherited the same quick smile, and the same quick-to-frown jawline). They’d be proud of him win or lose. Even his brother and sisters had come tonight: little Dana and Danny, still in diapers, and his older sister, Emma, who gave Ethan a thumbs-up. 

Something was out of place, though. 

Sitting a row up from his family were two strangers. 

Ethan knew everyone at school and most of the opposing Westside Warrior fans, but these two students, a guy and a girl, he’d never seen before. 

They weren’t in Northside’s red and brown colors or Westside’s green. Even though it was prohibited by the school’s dress code, they wore jeans and black T-shirts. The dark colors set off their superpale skin. 

The boy took up space for two people in the stands— not “fat” big, but more like a weightlifter. His T-shirt looked two sizes too small and about to rip. His head was shaved, showing only a faint shadow of stubble. 

The girl was thin, and she seemed to drown in her oversized T-shirt. Her blond hair stuck up in a spiky ponytail. 

Something else set them apart. The look in their eyes was the strangest thing. Pure tension—like this was a life-or-death situation. 

Well, how could anyone not be fascinated by soccer? Especially this match! But these two scrutinized everyone on the field . . . as if they weren’t interested in the game, exactly, but were looking for someone. 

Coach Norman finished his final instructions (which Ethan realized he had completely blanked on) and shouted, “Break!” 

Ethan instantly forgot the two strangers and snapped his head back into the match. 

His teammates placed their hands in the center of the huddle with machine-like precision, raised them in salute, and shouted, “Grrrrrrrrizzlies!!” 

Ethan and his team then turned to face the Westside Warriors. 

Ethan should have asked about Coach’s instructions, but his parents had always told him to go with his gut when in doubt. 

That was what he’d do now. 

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