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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Once again, Mara is setting sail, fleeing from one unstable place to the promise of others. Again she is headed north and again she is bringing bedraggled and hopeful survivors with her. Everyone is searching for the same thing. A safe place. A home. Land.

In a world where global warming has melted all of the polar ice caps and the world has been flooded, there doesn't seem to be much to hope for anymore. Mara led her family and friends north only to find that the New World city of New Mungo wasn't the salvation they had hoped for. Mara's cyberworld friend, Fox, has stayed behind to battle the corruption, while she sails north with Rowan, the Treenesters, the Urchins, and other escapees from New Mungo in search of the land Mara is sure exists.

Along the way, Mara will meet Tuck, a boy who has only ever lived on the sea. He lives on a floating "city" of connected boats, barges, and bridges, among people with a history of piracy. The navigational course that Fox programmed for Mara's ship didn't include such a civilization - and the ship causes damage to Tuck's people. He joins his people in pursuing the great ship with vengeance in his mind.

But, Tuck's people aren't the biggest threat facing Mara and the refugees of New Mungo. The safety of a distant land may also offer more danger than they ever imagined. And the very act of living is a hard-earned accomplishment as lives are won and lost in this inhospitable new world.

ZENITH is an exciting sequel to EXODUS; I found it to be even more intense and thrilling than the first novel. Julie Bertagna continues to describe a world that could be all too real if threats of global warming aren't taken to heart.

Reviewed by: JodiG.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2007
I was moved to tears by Exodus and couldn't wait for Zenith to be published. One of the things that I loved about Exodus was the narrative perspective of the main character, Mara, so I found it a bit difficult at first to adjust to the multiple narrative focuses, including Fox, Mara's lover now separated from her. But the effect was to make their separation, and their separate narratives of discovery, all the more moving.

Exodus explored three very inventive spaces: an island at the end of the world, a refugee camp and strange survivors' underground area beneath a Sky city, and the futuristic Sky city itself. Zenith has a broader canvas, one filled with incredible wonders that are reminiscent of the discoveries made by Ged in the Earthsea books: a ramshackle floating pirate city who worship Colonel Sanders, a cargo cult in the Far North with caves closed by car doors, an ice cave that opens onto the top of the world. It's so richly imagined that it's hard to believe it's not real.

Part of the reason for that is Bertagna's gorgeous prose, which is unafraid to be lyrical and equally unafraid to get its hands dirty, particularly in an astonishing sequence near the end that seemed so brave and wonderful for a young adult's book (I won't give a spoiler). The ending, in which three new perspectives emerge, seems full of hard-earned promise: a triumph for a book which began with loss, disaster and despair.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is the second book in the trilogy by Julie Bertagna, the first being "Exodus".

Having enjoyed the first book, especially the characters of Mara and "The Fox", I was very disappointed in how the author seems to lose her passion for them in this second book. Mara becomes, sadly, more of a follower or someone who lets events dictate her actions, which is very different to her strong character in Exodus.

The unfolding secret about her was -- without giving away anything -- a clumsy series of ham-fisted clues: I would liken it to a "telegraphed pass", that is, totally obvious what Bertagna was getting around to telling us.

Ho hum.

The one interesting character in the book is Tuck, a boy from a floating city who inexplicably joins Mara's group on land when none of his other compatriots would ever dare leave the sea. The sections with him seems to get the most energy and enthusiasm out of the author.

Then, the ending: the last chapter or so was a of flash-forward who knows how many years, just suddenly. A sort of epilogue that just didn't work, and really didn't make me want to carry on with this series to the finale, Aurora (due out June 2011).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2012
The best thing you can say for this book is that it feels like real life. Not because the characters are so well drawn you feel you know them or the descriptions are so lifelike or the plot is so terribly believable. No, Zenith feels like real life because it's events don't happen in an ordered, meaningful way where everything is explained like in most books but are seemingly random, often never properly understood by the characters and sometimes don't enrich the plot at all. But annoying as it is to read, this does make the book feel almost like a true story.

The whole of the book is from the point of view of Mara,who is sailing with the refugees on a ship, Fox, who is plotting a revolution beneath the city and a new character called Tuck who is a "gypsea".Now I really really didn't like Tuck at all. The author seemed to intend him to be a "mixed bag" character who is a combination of good and bad which is fair enough but there wasn't actually one moment when I rooted for him or liked him even the slightest bit. His vendetta against Mara seems completely unreasonable, even given the circumstances, because it's very obvious it's not her fault what happened with his people. His later love interest plot with her was an interesting enough plotline now I think back on it but whilst I was actually reading the book made me scream with frustration because I just wanted her to end up with Fox. I was not remotely interested in the plotline about him finding his true talent, which is what he takes up at the end of the book and I kind of felt that he had beeen given the happy ending Mara should have had, which did nothing to endear me to him. What he does before he runs away from Mara's group is just EVIL. Interestingly the review to the sequel hint that he becomes a villain so...we'll have to see.

As for Fox, I liked him in the first book but since he never did anything at all in the bits of Zenith that were about him, I've started to go off even him. I was hoping the fact he was living with Lily would mean we got to hear more about her and Callum but the author completely dispenses with Callum and we never get to know how he feels now about either her or Fox. I know he was only a minor character in Exodus but I actually found him fascinating and it really annoyed me that we didn't even find out how he feels about Fox's betrayal.

Other characters don't do anything to improve the book either. Rowan behaves like an ass in this one and the ending about him didn't make me happy at all, Mara's companions from the first book are quite interesting until one of them vanishes and the others just mope for the rest of the book, and the new characters introduced seem there to fit cliches-the tough mean girl who's endured loads of suffering and squares off against the heroine but then realises they're actually alike and they make friends, the wise old woman...The author appears to get bored with these characers halfway through and they either die or vanish with no explanation.

Then there's Mara herself. The author appears to be frightened to turn her main character into one of those heroines who whines all the time about missing their boyfirend and goes so far the other way that Mara comes across as not missing Fox at all. Again the author goes down the route of cliche with what happens to Mara, setting the sequel up well but not making this book any better. Some of Mara's personality has seems to have been sapped by the events that happen and she mostly just moves sluggishly through the book, reacting lethargically or with resignation to the next bad event. The only time she wakes up is when she meets Fox through the computer system; she actually reacts with indignation to the fact people knew about risng sea levels and did nothing instead of the general guilt and sadness she treats everything else with, whether or not it actually deserves guilt or sadness. I'l admit the author takes quite an original approach with the ending of Mara's storyline but it didn't make me happy.

The real problem with this book wasn't the characters or the plot, it was the way events were strung together. Things happen and are just never explained and characters jump from one place to another with no apparent reason for how that happened. At one point Mara is a prisoner with some other characters. The scene then jumps to those who've escaped being prisoners hiding out in a cave. Suddenly they see Mara walking across the beach towards them! But she stops, having just discovered the dead body of another character. One of the people in the cave asks a question and it is answerered by Mara, who is now standing right next to them, even though a minute ago she was on the beach. Then they move on to talking about how they're going to survive, never mind how Mara escaped from those who'd caught her, never mind the fate of the others caught with her and never mind how the woman on the beach ended up dead. It just ddin't make sense.

On top of that, the whole book was just too sad. Nothing and I mean NOTHING, good happened on one single page. I kept thinking that all the early suffering was going to be made up for later, but it never was. I suspect this book would actually be much better on rereading because I wouldn't have false expectations and in a way the tragedy that plays out is shaped and done quite well but this wasn't what I was expecting at all and it really annoyed me that it didn't do anything I wanted it to.

But on the plus side, all it's faults do make it feel very like real life. I'm not sure if that's what the author was going for, but it is one strength.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2011
This book was originally published in 2007 and has been reissued by Macmillan in 2011 with a new cover design.

'Zenith' is the sequel to 'Exodus' and continues the story of Mara as she searches for a home in the North. Now aboard a ship with refugees from New Mungo, Mara has a terrifying journey ahead of her as she seeks to find Greenland and a safe place where she can begin to build a new home. Having left Fox behind to fight his own battle, she has to face loss and heartbreak as she clings to survival.

When the ship she's aboard crashes into a city of boats, barges and bridges, they cause untold chaos and destruction. Tuck, a gypsea who has only ever lived at sea, joins the chase for revenge as they hunt down the ship. But new struggles face both Mara and Tuck as their paths cross and they face new dangers and challenges to their very existence.

The book's chapters alternate between the stories of Mara, Tuck and Fox and their viewpoints are told in the present tense as they cope with an uncertain future. I did find that in places the story was a little slow and not quite as exciting as the first installment. A lot of plot threads were set up but a lot was still left hanging at the end and I didn't find the ending satisfying at all. There's so much that needs to be sorted out. I can only imagine that people reading this book back in 2007 must have been tearing their hair out at the end! Luckily, I don't have long to wait as the final part of the trilogy, 'Aurora' is published on 3rd June 2011.

This is a brutal depiction of a future which has been marred by environmental devastation. Stark and terrible, the book itself is a warning about the treatment of our planet. Although I didn't enjoy it as much as 'Exodus', I thought that the character development was extremely good and there were a number of surprising twists which kept me in suspense. There's a sense of adventure and excitement throughout and I found all the new discoveries that they made extremely fascinating.

The second book in a trilogy is always difficult but although I think it suffered slightly for this reason, I'm definitely still looking forward to seeing what Julie Bertagna has in store for the big finale.
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on 19 May 2011
I was torn between giving this 3 or 4 stars for a few reasons.

I really enjoyed this book after reading Exodus and so I didn't want to give it a low score. However
I was left feeling a little disappointed even though I enjoyed it. I was as you may have guessed left with real mixed feelings. The story really didn't go in the direction I thought it would, I never imagined a floating pirate city or the
very unwellcoming inhabittants of Greenland. I found it exciting because I naievely figured that once they
reached land it would be happy every after! How wrong was I. One thing I love about both books is that awful things do happen. In a lot of young adult books they pretend at bad things happen, people die but then oh no wait they're fine.
In Julie Bertagnas books you feel the tension when reading because you know that bad things will happen to
some of your favourite characters. I loved two particular characters who I won't name so as not to give anything away.
And I really wanted to cry when they didn't make it.

This book was definately not going to get 5 stars just for the ending. It lacked so much and it took me a while to figure out that the author haad jumped many years into the future. I'm guessing atleast 15 years. But it happened very suddenly and really made no sense to me. Thankfully this was just the last few pages so it didn't spoil too much of the book.
Exodus left me desperate to read Zenith, and although I am eager to read Aurora, not so much as I thought I would.
This ending just really didn't tell us much of anything, or explain it. I felt it was all too fractured and didn't really flow at all, and is this Clay character who I think it may be? Thats something I badly want to find out. I feel we may have missed out if Aurora taakes up in the future, without us knowing how Mara and Rowan and the treenesters managed to survive, this hope is all explained.

Overall I did love this book, but not as much as I wanted to. And I really hope that Aurora isn't a let down and leaves all us fans sattisfied, and left thinking about Mara for a while to come.
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on 17 March 2014
I was expecting something just as thrilling as the first one, and it's kind of still getting the message through, but not as exciting. There is an extremely long intro to the story, which I was barely chewing myself through, and when it finally starts being exciting the book just ends. I love an open ending to any story, but come on. This was one miserable way to do it. I won't spoil it any more though. To me it seems that the trilogy was gradually getting worse compared to the first part. As if the rest of the story was sort of forced, just to squeeze a little more money out of the success. Or maybe I just got too old for it, I read the first one years ago and the last one recently, so don't take my word for it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2008
I absolutely adored Exodus in it's entirety, it's my favourite book of all time. Trouble is, Exodus didn't need a sequel and it hasn't worked. Exodus drew me in as soon as my eyes hit the page, the only hope that kept me reading zenith was the hope that it would build into something like exodus, but it didn't.

There just wasn't the same spark as there was with exodus, it was almost like the author just felt bored and did this one as if there was nothing better to do. It was still an ok book, but with it really needing to be something special after exodus it didn't fit the bill. When they hit greenland, the people that brand them as slaves and the gypsy people just seem to dissappear. There is no mention of them after the said incident, and it's like they have nothing to play in the story. Also the end baffled me totally, i'm assuming she'd skipped forward a few years but the riddle the writer put was baffling. What's going on with the girl that David's picked up, where are they now? And is clay the lady's baby or some one else?

I have a feeling that there are too many unanswered questions - not a proper resolution, and i've a feeling a third book of this is going to come out. Exodus was a fabulous book, and Zenith after it was a dragging let down. I'm not saying it was a bad book, but it's nothing when it's connected to exodus. Exodus didn't need a sequel, and it's a dissappointment that there is.
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on 15 June 2014
Read the first when I was perhaps 14 or so, whereas I am now 22. Therefore, part of my decreased admiration for this sequel could be age related. I don't think my taste is entirely different though, and I have read other reviews which compare the two and remark also that Exodus was much better.

I would recommend to almost anyone giving the first book a go. This one? Probably no one. I got around half way, perhaps a bit further, and I had to give up on it. I was too bored and disinterested, and I no-longer really admired or liked any of the characters who were present.
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on 3 April 2015
Great book
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Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Exodus by Julie Bertagna (Paperback - 4 Feb. 2011)

Aurora by Julie Bertagna (Paperback - 3 Jun. 2011)

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