Humanity is on the brink of extinction and the Earth is quickly dying in The Last Exodus, the first installment of Paul Tassi‘s post-apocalyptic science fiction series The Earthborn Trilogy.
Once a fertile planet, the Earth is now a barren wasteland with most life wiped out after an alien invasion by beings from the planet Xala. Unfortunately for everyone and everything involved, neither Earthlings nor Xalans were victorious. The Xalans, assuming that Earth was a primitive planet because it had yet to make contact with extraterrestrials, underestimated their prey’s ability to destroy when threatened. In order to fight the Xalans, humans had to pull out the heavy artillery “” weapons that could decimate their attackers, which also, consequentially, killed the Earth, too.
Lucas is a human survivor on Earth. With the lack of food and essentials, along with the acid rains, melting of the polar ice caps, and evaporation of the oceans, he knows that even if he can manage to survive under these harsh circumstances, the Earth itself is nearing its end. But, he instinctually continues on, walking north in the hope of reuniting with his family. Along the way, he teams up Asha, another human survivor, and Alpha, a fugitive Xalan scientist wanted for treason. Together, they must find a way to escape Earth to a new world that will welcome them, which is a monumental feat, especially since there’s still hostiles out here.
First-time novelist Paul Tassi, a video game and tech writer for Forbes magazine, tells a fascinating, straightforward tale that keeps the reader invested and interested. Its likable protagonist, Lucas, is just an average man who has good instincts and makes the right choices, one of which is deciding to trust Alpha. While the classic science fiction elements are there “” aliens, space ships, space travel “” the story isn’t bogged down with technobabble. You don’t need a science lesson, a dictionary, or Wikipedia to understand how Alpha gets things to work. The alien, who is far more intelligent than his human companions, often has to break things down for Lucas and Asha, and his explanations are both believable and understandable.
Once of the most refreshing parts of Tassi’s storytelling was how the characters communicated. Although there was the expected language barrier between Lucas and Alpha, it was immediately hurdled. A lot of stories like this would have spent pages upon pages having these two frustratingly miscommunicate or frequently come to misunderstandings. Instead, the duo tell it like it is and get busy working on a plan while also building on trust, which makes sense. These two have survived this long, and they didn’t do so because they are stupid! They both know they’re in a desperate situation and it would be beneficial to both of them to be expressive right away. It’s logical for these characters to act this way. (I stress this so much because just look at a series like Twilight, which is a super simplistic teenage vampire tale, yet its characters are so stupid and illogical, that they frequently misunderstand one another — which is so annoying and frustrating for the reader!)
I don’t want to go into any details about what Lucas, Alpha, and Asha encounter together (and separately), because I found it enjoyable to go into this story not knowing too much. The history of the Xalan invasion is told near the beginning of the book, so we’re not kept waiting wondering what happened. We also find out the conditions of Earth in the first few pages, so we know exactly what Lucas is up against, but there is still plenty left to be revealed as the story unfolds.
The Last Exodus is reminiscent of a lot of other science fiction and post-apocalyptic works: You’ll see some of The Road in there, but much, much less emotional and depressing, and some Walking Dead without the zombies but with some alien survivors stranded on Earth (and no seemingly endless supply of canned goods and squirrels to eat). There’s also a bit of Book Of Eli, V, Independence Day, District 9, and Alien. But, the book’s obvious influences make it endearing; plus, it does branch out on its own in many ways, too.
In The Last Exodus, Tassi succeeds in weaving together the space and post-apocalypse sub-genres into an enthralling adventure story of survival, trust, and hope.
Bottom line: a quick read, very enjoyable, highly recommend. I found myself getting wrapped up in re-reading parts of the book while I was writing this review, so that says something right there.
The Earth lies in ruins in the aftermath of an extraterrestrial invasion, the land devastated by a desperate war with no winners between mankind and a race of vicious, intelligent creatures. The seas are drying up while the atmosphere corrodes and slowly cooks any life remaining on the now desolate rock. Food is scarce, trust even more so, and the only people left alive all have done horrific things to stay that way.
Among the few survivors is Lucas, an ordinary man hardened by the last few years after the world’s end. He’s fought off bandits, murderers, and stranded creatures on his long trek across the country in search of his family, the one thing that drives him to outlive his dying planet. What he finds instead is hope, something thought to be lost in the world. There’s a ship buried in a crater wall. One of theirs. One that works. To fly it, Lucas must join forces with a traitorous alien scientist and a captured, merciless raider named Asha. But unless they find common ground, all will die, stranded on a ruined Earth.
Combining gritty post-apocalyptic survival and epic space opera, The Last Exodus is the beginning of a new action-packed science fiction adventure where the future of the human race depends on its survivors leaving the past behind.