Monday, February 28, 2011

REVIEW: Exodus by Julie Bertagna

by Julie Bertagna
Pages: 352
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 4th February 2011
Format: Paperback

An internationally acclaimed bestseller, vividly and terrifyingly topical, is finally available to American audiences. 

Less than a hundred years from now, the world as we know it no longer exists. Cities have disappeared beneath the sea, technology no longer functions, and human civilization has reverted to a much more primitive state. 
On an isolated northern island, the people of Wing are trying to hold onto their way of life - even as the sea continues to claim precious acres and threatens to claim their very lives. Only fifteen-year-old Mara has the vision and the will to lead her people in search of a new beginning in this harsh, unfamiliar world. 

This compelling and powerful story set in the near future will hit home with teens, especially those who are ever more aware of the increasingly controversial climate crisis we face in our world today.

So I literally started this last night and stayed up late to finish it! Exodus is probably a book that I wouldn't have picked up usually, because I'm not hugely into fantasy. I'm glad I read it because even though I'm not a huge fan because the novel covered so many other genres, including history, technology, futurology (that's a word..right?) and something very close to my heart (does that sound cheesy?), poetry.

It's the year 2100. Our protagonist is Mara Bell and she lives on the island of Wing, which is gradually drowning because of the floods. After meeting a strange cyber 'fox' in her Cyberwiz (which is like a sort of computer/virtual world-thingy) Mara convinces everyone to move to another island, the New World, because it's clear that it's not long until the whole of Wing is flooded and the inhabitants wiped out. But once they get there, it turns out that there's too many people there already and Mara must suffer watching her neighbours slowly die out of hunger, and then there's the problem that she was separated from her parents, and her little brother. 

She's decided she needs to do something, and fast, because she can't sit and be witness to the death of her best friend. And so Mara sets of on an adventure to get help. On her way, she meets with a group of people called the 'Treenesters' and is introduced to a prophecy involving none other than herself..

The start was quite slow for me, and I have to admit that before I actually sat down properly to read it yesterday, I'd read the first page on several occasions and could not get into it. Since I got the book about a month ago, I was pretty excited to read it because it sounded different from anything I'd read before and I'd heard that it was something really special. But about one hundred pages in..I was wondering if this was the same book everybody was talking about. 

However, I had to continue reading, because I was determined to find the best in Exodus. Come the second half of the book, things started to get a little was like somebody had waved a magic wand, because there was this.. spark in the atmosphere and I found I couldn't take my eyes away from the page.

I have to give credit to Bertagna where credit is due, because she presents us with some of the most extraordinary settings and descriptions, even though some of it it at the beginning might have been what put me off. Her depiction of the world that is struggling to survive in such extreme conditions is fascinating, it made me think about what could quite possibly be us in a number of years, you never actually know.

Mara is confident and clever, but she doesn't notice these qualities in herself, instead believing that she is a bit self-centred because it was her actions that caused some of the horrible events to occur in the book. There was a lot hanging on her shoulders, but it it took was her to have faith in herself and her actions to relieve that tension; and I'm happy to say that Mara became stronger throughout the course of the book and it really showed. The characters were all very well-developed, and extremely likeable, especially Gorbal! He was a funny one! And Fox..hmm..I would have liked to get to know him a little better though, since Mara and him were in love with each other. 

Exodus is a brilliant self-discovery story; imaginative and thought-provoking, a truly riveting read. Looking forward to reading Zenith!



  1. Great review! I've seen this book around and it looks pretty good :) I may have to pick up a copy :)

  2. Fantastic review Iffath! I read this when I was around your age, and I remember really loving it, probably because just like in your case it was so different from anything I had read before.

    I am much more critical now, so I doubt I will think it is just as amazing as I once did, but I am curious to see how I find it. :)

  3. Wonderful review, I have this book waiting for me on my TBR shelves and look forward to reading it :)

  4. I have never come across this book before and it sounds excellent! Thanks for brining it to my attention. Another for my wishlist :D

  5. I have this too and this is the first review l have seen on it!!
    it does sound great and good to see a review on it =)

  6. I have just added these to my library wishlist from Puffin Book Club. Thanks for the terrific review. If OK with you can I use it in the library to promote the books :D


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