Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Exodus by Julie Bertagna


This Whitbread award children’s book is so powerful, it had me absorbed and helpless for days. Definitely for teenagers and adults rather than younger children, it is an exploration of a future, when sea levels have risen dramatically. Mara is a fifteen year old girl with vision and determination, living a subsistence level life on one of the few remaining islands in the North. Storms rage all winter and blistering hot summers send the sea level rising every year. Technology is long defunct in her community, but she has a relic from the past that she uses to explore the ruins of an old-world virtual reality internet equivalent, The Weave. Her discovery of some New World cities built out of the sea bed into the sky, gives her an idea to save her community.

When the refugee convoy reach the New World city they find that humanity has split into two groups, the intellectual elite live lives totally cut off from the Earth and reality in their techno world, while the outcasts and refugees eke out an existence in the netherworld, among the drowned ruins of the old world city. To save her people Mara has to work an even more daring plan, infiltrate the New World city, cope with its sophisticated technology and find someone she can trust.

Bravery, self doubt, trust, love, and care for humanity are all powerful emotions that drive this engrossing story. It is too near the possible truth to dismiss as mere futuristic fantasy, so is not a cosy read, but faith in the ultimate good nature and noble spirit of the few gives hope for mankind’s eventual survival. Read this for a great story, but not if you’re feeling fragile, this is no escapist read. Exodus Exodus


Unknown said...

accidentally landed here and iam glad i notice book review blog. I must admit most of books are not of my choice but very good to read reviews.

and if this interests you,
book catalog
and my book review

cheers... /Yuva

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!