Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Review: Exodus by Julie Bertagna

It’s 2100 and Mara’s island home has been steadily shrinking for years with the melting of the polar ice caps and the rising of the oceans – very soon, there will be nothing left. Mara learns of a nearby sky city called New Mungo via her cyber adventures on the “weave” and convinces her fellow islanders to set sail for this beacon of hope. But when they arrive, they are faced with a huge barrier wall, a desperate refugee camp and a police force that brutally shoots at approaching boats. If New Mungo won’t take them in, where will they go?

EXODUS is a very ambitious novel with 3 very distinct and stunningly realized settings: a drowning island in the North Atlantic, the high-tech sky city of New Mungo, and a shadow world beneath New Mungo where a few relics of the past, including a cathedral and a university, still exist.

Mara is the kind of fearless and determined teen necessary for such a novel. She’s a leader wherever she goes, and even the subject of a mysterious prophecy known as “the stone telling” which tells of a girl who leads victims of the rising sea level to salvation.

On the surface, it’s a great action story about surviving at any cost. Dig a little deeper and you are keenly aware of what those costs are. When you can’t save everyone, who do you choose to save? And then, how do you live with your choice? If you are the architects of New Mungo, you do it by banishing the past and living for the “power of now”. If you are a resident of the shadow world, you do it by burying the past, and fervently believing that an outside force will come someday to set things right. And if you are Mara…well, that’s something I’m sure the sequels ZENITH (out now) and AURORA (no set release date) will explore.

EXODUS is available in paperback. Find out more about it and the rest of the series at the author’s website.

My Rating – 4 Zombie Chickens: An Excellent Example of the Dystopian Genre

See Index of all Dystopian Reviews on Presenting Lenore

12 comments:

Lauren said...

Interesting review. I've read this and didn't really connect with it, but I'm kind of wondering whether I should give it a reread now.

Becky said...

The premise sounds really interesting and I love books that post those sort of moral and ethical questions. Great review. I'll certainly keep this book in mind!

Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf said...

I've seen this one in the shops and mentioned about the place, but it's good to see a review of it.

I'll definitely keep this book in mind for the future.

bermudaonion said...

Wow, it would be hard to live in New Mungo and turn people away. Sounds like a thought provoking book.

Amy said...

this sounds like a great one! tomorrow BLOB is over!

Dannie said...

I HAVE to read this. I love the premise and the cover. Great review.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I think that is the wonderful thing about dystopian novels...they really get your wheels turning. Better yet when you find it in a YA book. I love that cover too!

PJ Hoover said...

It looks fabulous! And if you give it four stars, it must be!

Lily Child said...

Another fab review! I will definitely have to check this one out! The premise sounds really interesting! :)

Zibilee said...

A very interesting sounding book! As usual, your review on it is excellent and has made me want to go out and snap this one up!

Alicia said...

Exodus is set in the year 2099, when the Earth has all but drowned and only a few islands remain habitable. Mara is confined to her fast-disappearing island home of Wing, which is ravaged by fierce storms and an ever-dwindling supply of food, and where every night she escapes into a virtual world known as the Weave. One night, she discovers ‘proof’ of the mythical Sky Cities – entire cities that rose into the sky and kept their inhabitants safe from the flooded world below – and sets about convincing everyone of their existence, keeping secret the fact that she only discovered their existence from a talking fox, who may or may not be an enemy… She convinces the community to set sail on a terrifyingly dangerous journey to find these Sky Cities; but what will they find there?

I really wasn’t sure about this book at first – the blurb made it sound a teensy bit corny and when I started reading it, there wasn’t much of a story (in fact, the story doesn’t really kick off until about 75 pages to the end) and the present tense in which it is written takes a bit of getting used to – but I was intrigued by this incredibly detailed future that Bertagna had created and was interested to know what would happen when the story did kick off; and boy, am I glad I did! Not to say that there was no story before the ‘pick up the pace’ point – the book was beautifully written throughout and those pages were quite vital to the plot of the story, as well as essential in making connections with the characters in the book.

The characters are all really well developed and you genuinely care about them when horrible things happen to them. You also really feel for them and their situation – after all, the book in set just 90 years away, in a world that struggles to survive because of extreme flooding; a world that is frighteningly likely to happen and it could be our great-grandchildren that live in the nightmare-world, making it an eye-opening, powerful read.

An exceedingly beautifully written and thought-provoking read. I cannot wait to read the rest of the trilogy!

Harriet-S said...

Mara Bell is slowly losing her home town to the water. As the waters rise, Mara must persuade the other islanders on Wing to take a chance and go and start a new life in the New World. But does a new life and a new start necessarily mean a better start? Find out in this amazing book, Exodus. This book had me sitting on the edge of my seat throughout, and I love the way the author writes, although I think the start was a bit over-described, making it hard to get into, and the end under-described. But despite that this was quite a good book and I give it ★★★★!