I read the first book in this trilogy-Exodus-years ago, whilst I was still at school. I remember being blown away by it, as I was a few years later by Zenith. It took longer before I had the opportunity to read Aurora so I decided it was best to read all three again as I had forgotten the story’s details. Although I am no longer as amazed by these books as I once was- the writing itself is nothing special- the themes remain particularly touching and poignant. The story follows Mara, a young girl living in the year 2100 on a drowning island called Wing. The world is flooded and the people of Wing know nothing of the outside world. One day, Mara finds evidence of ‘sky-cities’ that were built as the world was flooding to accommodate refugees. Faced with certain death as their island succumbs even more to the waves, Mara sets out, with the entire population of the island, to their nearest ‘sky city’. Here she finds a society which has no place for refugees and whose people have no knowledge that life even still exists outside of their sheltered bubbles. Mara than sets out on a quest to help save those people not privy to this grand new world. The books have just the right amount of adventure, love story and actual thought behind them to make them really something very special.
What I adore about this trilogy is the concept and possible future reality of ‘lost knowledge’ and ‘lost history’. In a world overcome by the sea, everything is lost. Books and stories and interminably precious and little known. One of Mara’s greatest treasures is ‘A Tale of Two cities’ and Bertagna manages to display a girl with no pre-conception of who this ‘Dickens’ might be. As someone who (obviously) values books and knowledge so much, this possible future- one in which all our history, our knowledge, our intellectual evolution up till this point has been lost is so horrifying that it captured my interest for the duration of the trilogy.
The book is ultimately one for young teens, so the themes/characters etc are thus age-appropriate and perhaps not as complex as I would like, but the story remains touching nonetheless. If anyone enjoys a book which makes them reflect just a little, and doesn’t mind some very simple prose, then this is the book for you.