Exodus AND Zenith by Julie Bertagna

Alright, these were the two books that I was waiting for from the library last week when I read Magical Thinking. But first, my week in review.

I really don’t get any breathing space at all with these classes. Last night, Monday, I completed my final English Composition class. Now, to be clear, this wasn’t a normal highschool class; it was a college level course I took through the local Adult Ed. program, that I attended at night with a bunch of adults. It was a lot of work, and I was taking a psychology class at the same time, but I really enjoyed it! I don’t gel with my peers most of the time, so it was really nice and refreshing to take a class with people older than me, and I liked my teachers as well. It was a bittersweet moment when I had to say goodbye to everyone.

In comparison- today I attended my painting class, which is a normal highschool course with normal highschool students. And patience, I have to tell you this story. There are these two sophomores in my class who drive me completely up the wall. Every class is exactly the same- gossip and complaining about what they have to do. This week we were assigned the task of completing and performing an oral report on an artist of our choice, any artist at all. We have to create a slideshow of their work to accompany our speech, and it’s really quite easy. But these two girls just wouldn’t shut up about how much of a pain it is to make a slideshow, and how it would be so much better to do a poster instead. My art teacher couldn’t ACTUALLY tell them to shut up, so finally (and remember that I’ve been repressing the desire to ring their necks ALL SEMESTER) I told them off for her. I explained why doing posters was a bad idea (namely: highschoolers make shitty posters, and they would not be pleasing to look at) and that they were not representatives of the entire school. When they hate something, it doesn’t mean everyone does. Then one of the girls said that she could say whatever she want, she had “freedom of speech. It’s the first amendment, look it up.” And I said that I had listened to them exercise their freedom of speech all semester without speaking up because unlike them, I knew that voicing my frustration would not a) help the situation, or b) make anyone feel better. And just like I knew would happen, they turned right around and started attacking ME.

Later, I returned to the art room to get my things, and the teacher came right up to me and apologized for how the class went. I was shocked, because I had been about to apologize to HER for my outburst. She said that I voiced my opinion very respectfully and she was certainly going to talk to the girls about their behavior in her class. Victory.

Meanwhile….

Okay, I didn’t cheat. See that title? See what I did there? Exodus AND Zenith by Julie Bertagna. I had intended to read both books in the series, one right after the other. So rather than write two reviews of two related books, right in a row, I just decided to save it and create one review for both.

This one came strongly recommended by a friend. For this reason, I was truly hoping to like it a lot- she’s recommended to me some very good ones before. This novel was science fiction (which isn’t entirely my thing) with elements of fantasy. Set in 2100, the ice caps have completely melted and the Earth is almost entirely flooded. Surviving on the shrinking island of Wing is a young woman named Mara who would really like to not drown in the next few weeks. So, after talking to one of her village’s elders, she manages to convince her entire village that there are cities floating in the sky which would be ideal places for them to run to. Packed into fishing boats, they set out.

That’s really all I can tell you as far as summary. A lot happens, and to explain each different part you need to know the part prior, and I don’t want to spoil. Now, since this is set on Earth, 89 years into our future, there are remnants from the world as we know it today. The one which Mara finds is what she calls The Weave, which she accesses through a curious device called a cyberwizz, which I couldn’t exactly envision in my head. It creates a virtual experience for her to run around in and explore, and it’s all quite exciting.

I’m a little sorry to say that I didn’t really like this book that much. It was thought provoking and scary- the global flood was a consequence of human behavior- but it didn’t really capture me. I liked Mara, but I never really grew attached to her. Admittedly, the book became more interesting about halfway through, but it didn’t seem like it worked very hard to redeem itself.

One of the most difficult things about this book was that there wasn’t nearly enough detail. There was a bit of exposition and some dialogue, but Bertagna spent almost no time describing settings and locations, so I had a lot of difficulty visualizing the story. That made it much less interesting for me.

But, I got through that book and decided that I would at least give the sequel a shot.

I got one hundred pages into this one before deciding that it wasn’t worth it. Mostly, I was just bored. Usually when I don’t finish a book, I don’t mention it on here (to avoid the shame, mm) but I thought it deserved at least a mention, since it forced me to break my own rule.

This one picks up where the last left off, as well as introducing a new character- Tuck, a Gypsea boy who lives in a city floating on the ocean. I liked Tuck, but even he wasn’t that interesting. I wonder why? By all accounts, he should have been interesting- he was a young, fatherless thief with a drunken, nagging mother and a chip on his shoulder. Exactly my type of hero, you know?

So it’s hard to explain, and that might be the most frustrating part- neither of these books moved slowly, there was always something happening, and the characters were lovely and three dimensional. So why didn’t I like them? If any of you have any insight, I would appreciate it quite a lot. It’s a similar question as I pondered last week, when I asked why people are so fascinated by the dark things that truly captivate us? Unless it’s just me.

Really, I don’t even know.

Okay, I’ll admit that I feel like this one was a bust, but moving on. I’ve got four books in my pile right now; one from the library, two gifts, and one I bought myself with Christmas gift cards. Also, have any of you read The History of Love? I very strongly recommend it. It’s one of my favorite novels, and once I get a moment to reread it, I’ll review it right here.

Published in: on January 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm  Comments (7)  
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