Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Publication Date: August 8, 2014 Published By: Evil Toad Publishing Website Exile on Goodreads James Cormier on Goodreads My review copy: Provided by author for honest review
Centuries after the Fall, the United States has been wiped away. The crumbling remains of the great American empire are home now only to savage, lawless tribes and packs of ravening Damned-the twisted children of the apocalypse. Most of those few who survived humanity's destruction spend their short lives in a violent struggle for survival. But some light still flickers in the darkness: the Blessed of Bountiful live in seclusion, relying on walls both physical and spiritual to protect them from the Desolation that their world has become. Among them are the Saints, those few men and women born with superhuman abilities that the Blessed see as gifts from God. The violent apostate tribes of the Northeast Kingdom have always been a danger, but up until recently its small size and the vigilance of its people have made Bountiful an unappealing target. As attacks on the community grow harsher and more frequent, however, even the steadfast Blessed are forced to start preparing for the worst. With her home's very existence threatened, seventeen year old Ever Oaks, a Saint with the power to heal, is forced to make a difficult choice, one that may come to define her people's future...
Ever no longer had to wonder when it would happen. She knew. That apostate and his knife had shown it to her, as clear as day. She had an unshakable feeling that everything she knew
everything she had ever known was about to change.
That was the thing about hope: it was, by definition, the absence of knowledge. It was faith. Taking only his gunbelt and his knife, he crept toward the looming, broken skyline of Jerusalem.
Like a spider, though, she found it almost impossible to resist the stranger crouching before them. Ever felt empathy mixed with the beginnings of hatred; she wanted to scream and weep at the same time.
Exile was a huge surprise for me in many ways, making this a more difficult book to review. I'm not sure what I really expected, but at the same time this book was so many things that I did not expect. Cormier created a dystopian world that is possible and yet seems impossible. It is more than just a story, this book is a journey and an experience. This is the type of book you have to be prepared to submerge yourself in, because if you aren't ready to dive in there is just too much to take in. Exile is a read that you need, but it is also a read you need to have the time for.
The amount of detail that Cormier put into this book was amazing, and yet at times I felt like it was slowing down the pacing. However, with this being said that amount of detail in the plot, characters and setting is one of the main reasons I ended up enjoying the book so much. The one thing that threw me off was the religious aspect. It isn't that I am against religion, just more that I didn't expect it to be such a staple. This is where everything got difficult for me. The main character Ever was wonderful and you could tell from the start that she was different and followed her own heart, but she also let on that she believed a higher power was willing it.
The characters themselves were extremely well written. There was not one person that I did not feel I couldn't envision. Ever was spectacular and original, crafted to gain the readers attention. Ever is strong willed and is the kind of girl that you want on your side. Not because she is fearless, but because she is afraid and still moves forward. This is something that the other POV that you occasionally get, sees when most others do not. Jared came in a little quick and seemed like her could possibly be a problem (love triangle), but he doesn't come out that way once you know him. Beyond these two there are still many characters that stand out, but to even give short details would consume this review.
There are so many contradictions in this review and I know that. However, with a good read sometimes comes these types of things. Exile to start was a little to wordy for me to start, but the further in I got the more I appreciated it. Finishing Exile I found that I was excited to continue on with the series. This series has serious potential to become more than just a dystopian, especially with the unique twist thrown in right at the end. I look forward to reading more in this series, and feel confident that I will only enjoy the books more now that I know what to prepare myself for.