- Some interesting mysteries regarding the aliens
- Colonization story for people who enjoy such subjects
- Some action-packed intense scenes
- Writing can be a bit too stiff or formal at points
- Argument between the captain and the mayor can feel artificial or introduced only for the sake of creating drama
Exodus by M. R. Forbes is an exciting, action-packed science fiction story that details humanity’s last stand on Earth and desperate attempt to ensure the survival of the human species by colonizing another star system.
Science fiction stories involving colonization of another planet are a fairly common plot in science fiction. What causes humanity to abandon Earth is the appearance of an alien species that ravages the planet searching for power sources on which to feed.
In fact, for readers who are familiar with Amazon’s The Tomorrow War (2021), these aliens may seem a bit familiar in their aggressiveness and perhaps even appearance. In many ways, the Trife, the invading alien species, aren’t too different from any other aliens in stories like Starship Troopers or even the aforementioned The Tomorrow War.
But where Exodus manages to engage readers is through the mystery surrounding the aliens. Where did they come from? And why do the Trife react the way they do? The Trife’s reactions suggest a history that isn’t explored in this first book of The Forgotten Starship series.
The captain of the colony ship Pioneer is Tyson Grant. As a character, he’s a bit too idealistic even if he presents himself as a pragmatist. And his obsession with shaving is reminiscent of the elder Adama in the more recent Battlestar Galactica. This literary significance of the shaving seems a bit out of place for an action-oriented science fiction story. But that’s the least of the issues with Grant.
As a protagonist, Grant is overshadowed by his subordinate Guardian Prime, whose character and history feels more fleshed out. While Grant appears too stiff and formal, too static, Guardian Prime, or Joseph Cross, is more dynamic and responsive. Since Guardian Prime is in the thick of the action and suffers more of the consequences, his character is more engaging than the seemingly aloof Grant, regardless of Grant’s internal monologues that attempt to show a more thorough character.
The action scenes are intense, and the mystery surrounding the aliens keep readers engaged despite a trip that would otherwise be uneventful short of technical glitches. The relationships between the characters—Cross and his subordinate as well as Grant and his XO—suggest some kind of future romance.
Another aspect of the story is the conflict between the captain of the ship and the mayor of the city. The mayor’s selfishness is an obstacle that seems out of place, and as a result, his desire for a stasis pod feels more like an annoyance to the reader than an attempt to illustrate the character. Perhaps the mayor’s desire to be alive by the time they reach their destination will play a larger role in the next book.
Exodus by M. R. Forbes is an action-packed story for people who enjoy the dying Earth or colonization themes in science fiction. This book manages to combine both themes into a coherent story that introduces interesting mysteries that will keep readers engaged, if not only for the answers to the mysteries of the aliens.
Read reviews of other similar science fiction books.