DISCLAIMER: The Exiled was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to The Write Reads Tours and Penguin Books for having me on the tour.
There will be spoilers in my review that link back to The Stranded. Please be aware of this before reading this review.
Trust no one.
It is six months since the Arcadia set sail for the first time in forty years. But this wasn’t the freedom the inhabitants were hoping for. Esther Crossland did what she had to do, but it has left a trail of destruction in her wake. Now the wrecked ship is abandoned. Its inhabitants are in exile, trapped in sprawling make-shift shelters made up of warehouses, tents, and shipping containers.
Esther and Nik, architects of the rebellion, are on the run. Esther is in hiding, desperate to do something to help her people, and Nik seems to have abandoned all hope, on a journey taking him further and further from home. And neither of them want to face up to their true feelings about one another . . .
Not only that, there is a new villain in town. With the fall of Commander Hadley, it’s left to the ruthless Admiral Janek to deal with the traitors, and her own past is beginning to catch up with her.
Then the shaky ceasefire negotiated by General Lall, Nik’s mum, falls apart. Nik and Esther find themselves in a world of betrayals and double crossings – a game of power, with no one to trust but themselves.
It’s time for the final showdown.
The Exiled is the thrilling follow-up to, The Stranded, which follows its previous characters through their new lives on land. Was it worth the risks they took to get there, or will they realise the grass isn’t always greener on the other side?
As the ship slams into land, the inhabitants of The Arcadia are forced to stay in the camp or flee as quickly as possible. It’s clear from the beginning of this book that their lives have seen little to no improvement since leaving the ship. It was a far-off dream to expect that their lives would suddenly be completely turned around. I really enjoyed the way their new surroundings are explored, as it literally opened up another world for the characters to adapt to. This helps the reader to see a different side of the characters.
Esther’s POV is the prevalent one for the first half of the book as she strives to make the camp better for the people to live in. With limited resources and no sign of any additional ones being provided, Esther begins to think escaping the camp may be their only option for survival. I appreciate that we see more of her strength and determination as the book progresses. She’s never given up on the hope of escape, even though she struggles with her new reality after being confined to The Arcadia her entire life.
As mentioned, Nik does make a reappearance, but I was disappointed with the change of direction Daniels took for him. They all went through a horrific situation, no doubt, but instead of sticking around to help out, Nik just ran away. While this can be a realistic reaction for some people, I truly didn’t see Nik’s character going this way. He seemed to lose this fight and steely determination which was a shame.
The other POVs include Admiral Janek, and Meg. As expected, we needed another villain to take the place of Hadley from The Stranded after his demise and Janek is definitely a strong replacement. All she cares about is saving her own back and becoming President. She wants power and she’ll step on anyone’s toes to get it. Naturally, as the villain, she’s evil and her humanity is bordering on non-existent. Meg is a ghost from the ship’s past, so to speak. In all fairness, I’d forgotten her character when her POV was first introduced but she plays an integral role as the book progresses. While I wasn’t fussed about her character, I understand why she needed to be included.
Overall, I really enjoyed this duology and recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA dystopian novels. I’d rate The Exiled 4/5 stars.