By: Fonda Lee
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
It’s been a century of peace since Earth became a colony of an alien race with far reaches into the galaxy. Some die-hard extremists still oppose alien rule on Earth, but Donovan Reyes isn’t one of them. His dad holds the prestigious position of Prime Liaison in the collaborationist government, and Donovan’s high social standing along with his exocel (a remarkable alien technology fused to his body) guarantee him a bright future in the security forces. That is, until a routine patrol goes awry and Donovan’s abducted by the human revolutionary group Sapience, determined to end alien control.
When Sapience realizes whose son Donovan is, they think they’ve found the ultimate bargaining chip . But the Prime Liaison doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, not even for his own son. Left in the hands of terrorists who have more uses for him dead than alive, the fate of Earth rests on Donovan’s survival. Because if Sapience kills him, it could spark another intergalactic war. And Earth didn’t win the last one . . .
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There is something incredibly fantastic about excellent science fiction. The best of the genre is at once creative and otherworldly while maintaining a relatability and modern relevance. In EXO, Fonda does this beautifully. Stunning the reader with a highly original world and leaving them with nagging questions that have applications beyond the end of the book.
EXO was a blend of suspense, violence, and believable science fiction. Donovan, the son of the prestigious Prime Liaison, has been Hardened to become more like the conquering zhree. His body is a suit of armor, an exo, his erze designating him as superhuman. As part of the security forces, he patrols volatile areas where extremists are present and the Sapience cells are active. Daily, he reaps the benefits of the alien controlled world and doesn’t question the privilege that he has been served until harsh reality is shoved in his face. Donovan’s revelations open up a moral gray area over which side to stand on and the cost of freedom, and sheds light on the muddled morality of colonization and occupation. It turns the alien invasion story on its head, this is not only a post alien conquered Earth but our hero isn’t living in a dystopia. It’s not until he is thrust from his comfortable high ground that Donovan faces the questions of what it means to be human when you have willingly meshed your DNA with another species and where to stand when caught between conflicting loyalties and directives, and trying to do what is best when you value lives and have obligations on both sides of a civil war.
Bottom line is: I’m impressed. The romance never overshadows the plot, and the plot and writing were both brilliant and multi faceted. And while I remember having some issues with parts of the book, I can’t for the life of me remember what they were, or bring myself to care. The only thing I really care about? Getting my hands on a copy of Zeroboxer while I wait for the sequel.
Fonda Lee writes science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. Her debut novel, Zeroboxer was an Andre Norton Award finalist, Jr. Library Guild Selection, ALA Top 10 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, Oregon Book Award finalist, and Oregon Spirit Book Award winner. Her second novel, Exo, releases from Scholastic in February 2017.
Fonda wrote her first novel, about a dragon on a quest for a magic pendant, in fifth grade during the long bus ride to and from school each day. Many years later, she cast her high school classmates as characters in her second novel, a pulpy superhero saga co-written with a friend by passing a graphing calculator back and forth during biology class. Fortunately, both of these experiments are lost to the world forever.
Fonda is a former corporate strategist who has worked for or advised a number of Fortune 500 companies. She holds black belts in karate and kung fu, goes mad for smart action movies (think The Matrix, Inception, and Minority Report) and is an Eggs Benedict enthusiast. Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, she currently resides in Portland, Oregon.
Find the author:
1/23/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Interview
1/24/2017- Bibliobibuli YA– Review
1/25/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt
1/26/2017- The Forest of Words and Pages– Review
1/27/2017- Novel Novice– Excerpt
1/30/2017- Omg Books and More Books– Review
1/31/2017- Rich in Color– Interview
2/1/2017- Nerdophiles– Review
2/2/2017-Fantasy Book Critic– Guest Post
2/3/2017- Such a Novel Idea– Review
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided y Rockstar Book Tours. An advanced copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.