[REVIEW] Exodus – Julie Bertagna

Julie Bertagna
Exodus (Exodus, Book 1)
Pan Macmillan Picador (UK: 6th June 2003; AU: 1st November 2006); Bloomsbury Walker (US: 17th February 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Sea levels are rising, which panics the residents of Wing, a small island in the North Atlantic. Fifteen-year-old Mara Bell has explored the Weave, and learned of a New World: cities rising from the sea and into the sky. And so Wing’s residents leave en masse in boats…

In order to leave out spoilers, I’ll be vague. But within these pages are three extraordinary settings, and the novel is comprised of so many genres that there really is something for everyone: Young adult, futuristic, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, science, ecology, fantasy, history, refugees, prophecy, technology, cyberpunk, poetry, family secrets, humanity, social commentary, and probably others I’ve forgotten to mention.

The first part is the most emotional; the second part needs more explanation (likely found in subsequent novels); and the third part is technologically fascinating. First published in 2002, Exodus is still completely relevant. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before, and is simply amazing. The good news is that the sequel, Zenith, has already been released. The bad news is that we still have to wait for the final part of the trilogy, Aurora.

One response to “[REVIEW] Exodus – Julie Bertagna

  1. 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!

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