The novel Exodus by Julie Bertagna reminded me of the book Skylark due to its mix of apocalyptic, mystical and sci fi elements.
After man’s poor treatment of the environment, the polar ice caps melted flooding the Earth and the protagonist Mara lives on an island where the sea has been creeping up for years. Tain, one of the island’s oldest residents who knew the world before it completely flooded, has urged the island’s inhabitants that they must leave before it’s too late. The islanders want to stick their heads in the sand until the combination of a terrible storm wiping out homes on the lower slopes, and a startling piece of information that Mara shares, convinces them they must go.
Mara has found information on the New Cities which were built to withstand the waves before the biggest floods happened. She, and what’s left of her people, form a flotilla of boats to head off to find one of these cities. However, the journey starts off inauspiciously when Mara is separated from the rest of her family who are all on a different boat.
Eventually some of the refugees reach the New City only to find that it’s not the safe haven they hoped it would be. After a tragedy, Mara feels responsible for leading her people to this place and is on the verge of suicide but is rescued by some strange feral children who have spent so much time in the water that they have taken on some aquatic characteristics. The strange urchins are not the only inhabitants of the land underneath the towering new cities, the Treenesters have their own odd characteristics. Upon meeting Mara, they are convinced that she is part of a legend that will save them.
Between the urchins, Treenesters, refugees and the inhabitants of the new cities, Mara has her hands full. That’s all I will say so that readers can discover how the paths of all these new acquaintances diverge. It will be interesting to see if the next book in the series will be similar to the second book in the sequels in the Matched series that continued the story with the separate adventures and points of view of the main characters…