Early Review: Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden

Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden // VBC Review

Escaping Exodus
Nicky Drayden
Published: Oct. 15, 2019 (Harper Voyager)
Purchase at: Amazon
Review Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Seske Kaleigh’s people live within the bodies of space creatures utilizing all the parts of the creature—bones, flesh, organs, etc.—until the beast is used up and then they must find another creature and repeat the process. This is how they’ve survived for centuries, but from the start something is different about this new excavation.

It’s an issue that Seske, part of the Contour class and next in line as Matriarch of her people, will have to face head on. As Seske begins to question their way of life, she’ll have to work quickly in order to keep her people safe from Exodus, all while learning what it means to lead.

Escaping Exodus features one of the best-realized future worlds I’ve read in sci-fi. The way Nicky Drayden presents it is so interesting in that we’re just thrust into this society without knowledge of how things came to be, but we’re put into the beginning of an excavation—kind of like the beginning of a new cycle—and we learn as it goes. Only later do we get a fuller picture of why things have become the way they currently are.

I was so taken in with the matriarchal society with family units consisting of six women, three men, and one child and they all fill some role (head, heart, will etc) that is their area of expertise, so to speak, for the family. Then there’s also the clear divide between the classes which we get through the viewpoints of Seske—of the Contour class—and her best friend Adalla—of the Beastworker class. Drayden does such of great job of making the story futuristic, yet still able to be comprehended within today’s timeframe. Meaning, it’s not so far out there that I can’t completely dismiss aspects of the story from one day coming to fruition.

Therein also lies the problem for me with Escaping Exodus in that there was just too much in this story for the page count which meant that there were some things that didn’t get the proper development. I would have gladly read another 200 pages on this book if it meant that certain conflicts or story threads could have been worked out. As it stands, especially toward the end, there were definite moments where I felt whiplash due to the change of course between one occurrence and the next. Like the beginning so eloquently spells out the constructs of the society, then suddenly we’re close to the end and things have to actually move somewhere.

The main relationship in the story is between Seske and Adalla. It’s a coming-of-age relationship that repeatedly gets waylaid by class structures and Seske’s future role as Matriarch. There is much more time focused on Seske and Adalla figuring out who they are as individuals when their society says they cannot conceivably be together. I would have liked a little more exploration to this relationship, but I think it’s an interesting notion that—even within a supposed future—lineage is still so prevalent. You can be with whomever you want, however you want, but they need to have a good family name behind them and have a good position in society.

Overall, though, the biggest message for me was the idea that sustainability is not just caring for and working with your environment, but it’s caring for and working with each other. We are part of nature so it goes to say that we can’t just hold some people to a higher standard, we all have to step up and not at the expense of others.

Content: be warned Escaping Exodus is full of squishy, palpating, pulsing, gushing viscera and gore.

Sexual content: I think the sexual content is best summed up with one hyphenated word: tentacle-cooch <– I’ll just leave that up to your imagination.

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