ZENITH by Julie Bertagna


Age Range: 11 - 13
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This sequel to the dreamlike Exodus (2008) continues the story of refugees in a post–climate-change–flooded world. Mara and her ragtag fugitive fleet sail over the endless oceans looking for somewhere free to settle. Told from the perspectives of Mara, erstwhile pirate boy Tuck and Mara’s lost love Fox, the refugees’ journey takes them deep into hostile territory, and Mara’s fellows turn on her when their panicked ocean flight shows no end in sight. Meanwhile, Tuck’s people—“gypseas,” pirates who have never seen land—are prodded to violence when Mara’s ship plows into their floating home. The collision brings gypseas and refugees to glacial caves, slave markets and warfare. In an unearthly interlude, the protagonists hibernate for the winter, hoping blindly for something better. Less polemic than its predecessor, this sequel is perforce more successful; its moments of unsubtle politicking (“dubya” used as an insult for a fool) are rarer and less distracting. The metaphysical and unresolved conclusion won’t appeal to fans of hard science fiction, but will find its own audience. (Science fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8027-9803-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2009


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