The Exiles by Katherine Barger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow! I read the first of this series back in the summer, and once I finished it, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next one! (Though that first one was a bit of a heartbreaker … be sure to read these in the order they come. That is of the utmost importance.) But wow – what a great continuance of the first in the series!
Our main character, Nyssa, is the only character with a POV – something I usually wouldn’t enjoy as much, but I think it works perfectly for this one. Nyssa really struck me as a teenager, which was quite well-done, because kids sometimes are written either too old or too young for their ages. There were times I was a little irritated at her just because of decisions and attitudes she had, but I think that was realistic. She’s not perfect, and she has a long way to go in her walk with the Lord. As for the other characters, they were great! (view spoiler)[I still miss my Duncan, but what can I say? (hide spoiler)] It was good to see Nyssa finally around her parents for a bit, as well as her relationship with Jek. I hope he’s in there some more in the next book – those siblings relationships are some of the best! There were a couple reappearances of people from the first book, one I wasn’t too happy to see but involved an interesting twist. And the other (view spoiler)[ Greer! He lived! Yes! I can’t wait to see how his and Nyssa’s relationship progresses. (hide spoiler)] Overall, a strong cast of side characters really rounded this book out.
As for the plot … wow. I never knew where this was going to go. The first part wasn’t quite as fast-paced as the first one, but it wasn’t boring. There was good character building and setup for the rest of the novel. And by the time we got to the end – wow! There was plenty of action and suspense to go around. I was turning those kindle pages with a fury! And of course, there was a big cliffhanger at the end, and now I have to wait several months for the next book … That’s what good books do to you, right?
The themes/moral of this book was learning to trust the Lord and working through doubt. I really appreciated Nyssa having such a relatable struggle. However … I would’ve liked a little more of an emphasis on the moral in general. I think it was set up so well for Nyssa to have to go through these issues, and having a bit more discussion/time on them would’ve been lovely. In general, I would’ve liked to have seen more about Nyssa’s faith in Christ. It was a little too vague at times for me.
Overall, though, this book was a great, clean YA book. If you’re looking for Christian YA books, look no further. This series is full of action, intrigue, and great relationships. I’m looking forward to the third one in the series!
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher/author. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.