“Exodus,” by Julie Bertagna

“Exodus,” by Julie Bertagna is an amazing science fiction novel about a future in which global warming has resulted in rising sea levels that have covered most of the world in water.

Book Cover Art for Exodus by Julie BertagnaWing is an isolated island in the Northern Sea. Each year the seas rise a little farther, forcing the people of Wing to move upland. And each year the winter storms hit Wing even harder. For fifteen-year-old Mara the storms are frightening, and she is convinced that there must be some way to escape the situation.

In her spare time Mara uses the Weave, an ancient virtual reality system, to search for information about what Earth was once like and what happened to the rest of the world. Most modern technology no longer works, but pieces of the Weave still operate, and Mara is able to tap into it. The Weave once bustled with human avatars, but now it is empty, and all that is left are representations of the disturbing wreckage of Earth’s civilization, interrupted at its very peak by world disaster. The Weave is full of frightening calls for help, and last minute news reports about worldwide flooding.

But deep in the Weave Mara finds clues that lead her to believe that just before the world flooded a series of elevated cities were built on huge platforms above the water. These cities were called New World cities, and in pictures they appear beautiful, with intricate platforms and tubes. Mara dreams about finding one of these cities and leading the people of her island to live there.

Finally Mara uncovers clues that reveal the location of a New World city called New Mungo. Excited, she uncovers her ultimate plan to the people of Wing. They should sail South, leaving Wing behind, and become a part of New Mungo.

After some deliberation the people of Wing decide to leave their island. Really they have no choice. The sea is rising so rapidly that they may not be able to survive another winter without being washed out to sea by rising floodwaters.

So the people of Wing set out for the New World city. Upon arriving at New Mungo, though, they find themselves locked out. New Mungo is a giant elevated city and its residents have little concern for any others who may have the misfortune to not have an elevated city of their own. The thousands of refugees that live below New Mungo have nowhere else to go, and now the people of Wing have no choice but to join them. The squalid conditions of the refugee camp cause sickness and anger. Even the danger of Wing would be preferable.

But Mara is still determined to save her people. If she could just find some way past New Mungo’s defenses then perhaps she could find a way to save not only the people of Wing, but the other suffering refugees as well.

“Exodus” is an amazing story in all respects. Author Julie Bertagna has envisioned a stunning world, reminiscent in some ways of “The Other Side of the Island.” In a world engulfed with water there is limited interchange of ideas, and as a result each group of isolated people develops their own dramatically different culture.

This makes for some very interesting characters. All of the main players in “Exodus” are well designed, with their strong and weak points to balance them out. I will be especially interested in seeing how “Exodus” develops as a series. The book ends with plenty of room for further developments, and I’m sure that a sequel will come soon.

I definitely recommend “Exodus” as one of the most interesting utopian/dystopian novels I’ve read.

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Inkweaver Review 2009-07-23T10:28:00-05:00

37 replies so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I loved it. I wish you could write a second book about Fox's past or something.

Anonymous said...

Or about what happens after they get to Greenland.

Anonymous said...

Loved it! Isn't there more in the series, i swear there is, what are they called?

Anonymous said...

I would recommend it depending on what kind you like, for me I thought it was good but I have read better books, but this is definitely the best book of this kind that I have read.
oh and someone said they thought there was more in the series, there is i think its called zenith

Anonymous said...

it was the best book i have ever read. I am waiting for aroura the third book in the series

Anonymous said...

it fits my needs for a good book

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!

Agne said...

Exodus is a book that is written so imaginatively, that it makes you think, although at times, I felt like there was too much description and not enough action. The solid ground beneath your feet might not be as solid... The book focuses on the future of the world and in particular a girl, who practically knows that her island will drown and that she has to do something to help herself, her family and her friends. She goes on an extraordinary adventure which affects the readers emotions on every page. A great example of Julie Bertagna's true talent with this heart warming story of how a girl can change everything.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading this book 5 years ago for a book report, and the story left such an impression on me that it's stuck with me for as long. It's one of my favourite books I read as a teen and I'm glad I could find it again!

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Very good book we are writing an essay about it in my english class

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