Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden is a weird book. It’s also a really good book; the two terms aren’t mutually exclusive. Just be aware the tentacles might be going in exactly the direction that you think they are (I promise, it is plot relevant).
Escaping Exodus has living starships carved out from the insides of spacefaring beasts, oh so many tentacles, digestive juices, organ workers, a very distinct social class system, and where would that all be without a little rebellion?
Seske Kaleigh is heir to the command of this biological city, but as they begin the process of remodeling a new beast, everything that could go wrong begins to go wrong. Seske struggles to fit into the form of the ideal matriarch and isn’t helped along by her conniving sister, who shouldn’t exist in the first place, and the beast itself holds a terrible secret.
This was a really interesting read, I loved the visceral world with it’s excellent worldbuilding. It’s so gross, but also exactly what I want in a book. Some parts of the book are definitely a bit of a mindfuck (in a good way), but there is also a distinct plot that keeps the story on track even as everything falls apart.
Escaping Exodus has some big environmental and class statements, and I loved that we were able to see the story from the perspectives of people on the upper echelons of society and the very bottom (of the bone pit). It was great to see how both characters struggled in each position, but also to see Seske’s privilege despite her struggle. There is a lot that she takes for granted without considering the consequences, but she makes the turn toward better decisions toward the end, even if it means upsetting the balance of their society.
I’m excited to see how the sequel manages the changing social and environmental conditions of the world. And with a title like Escaping Exodus: Symbiosis, I have big hopes.
Oh, and did I mention it is queer? This is a f/f romance between two women from the opposite ends of society and the challenges that come between them.
Highly highly recommend, definitely one of my most memorable and most often recommended reads of the year.