Exodus 2022 by Kenneth G. Bennett

Exodus 2022 is an eco sci-fi thriller (seriously defying some genres) novel written by Kenneth G. Bennett, published by Booktrope Publishing in May 2014. I received a paper copy of the book through Novel Publicity, thanks to reviewing Bennett’s earlier novel, The Gaia Wars The plot of the novel is summed up pretty well (a spoiler-free teaser, anyway) in the synopsis:

EXODUS2022 cover artJoe Stanton is in agony. Out of his mind over the death of his young daughter. Or so it seems. Unable to contain his grief, Joe loses control in public, screaming his daughter’s name and causing a huge scene at a hotel on San Juan Island in Washington State. Thing is, Joe Stanton doesn’t have a daughter. Never did. And when the authorities arrive they blame the 28-year-old’s outburst on drugs. What they don’t yet know is that others up and down the Pacific coast—from the Bering Sea to the Puget Sound—are suffering identical, always fatal mental breakdowns. With the help of his girlfriend—Joe struggles to unravel the meaning of the hallucination destroying his mind. As the couple begins to perceive its significance—and Joe’s role in a looming global calamity— they must also outwit a billionaire weapons contractor bent on exploiting Joe’s newfound understanding of the cosmos, and outlast the time bomb ticking in Joe’s brain.

I read one review that mentioned this Dean Koontz-esque set up drew them in. If I had any inkling this book would have been Dean Koontz-esque, I probably wouldn’t even have picked it up. Though I loved Koontz in high school, after reading a number of his novels, I realized he writes in a hugely formulaic way, and Exodus 2022 is anything but formulaic or predictable. It was nice to break out of reading YA for this novel and to enjoy the constant and unexpected plot turns. I haven’t read much eco sci-fi, but after this, I think I’ll start seeking it out. Bennett’s science in this book is beautiful, and his exploration of the world and the creatures that inhabit it just wowed me.

While I am personally a big fan of sci-fi, I can see how this book would appeal to even those leery of sci-fi. The science is well done, especially in its subtlety. Set in a near-future (2022, as the title implies), Bennett plays around with some futuristic technology without giving the reader lengthy origin explanations. The novel encompasses the near-future world and the dynamic characters bring it to life. Beck–a guy I loved to hate–may not have been overly complex, but even he had a story worth telling. Bennett just gets it when writing character.

For example, Joe is a preacher in the novel. While this turned me off at first, I realized that Bennett wasn’t using him to shove religion down the throat of the reader, but to build a stronger character, a better relationship with Joe’s girlfriend Ella, and a more awe-inspiring ending. Told mostly through his perspective, Joe’s thoughts—which were totally religious and devoted to Ella—were not predictable, instead they were incredibly down to Earth. The back story on Joe and Ella’s relationship was cute, but unless you believe in things being fated to happen (which the book is perhaps arguing) their meeting and their beginning was a little too coincidental for my taste.

Besides their beginning, their end is ANYTHING BUT a storybook ending. Until just a few pages before the big climax, I had no idea what was in store. It blew my mind in an excellent way. Not only were the important questions resolved, Bennett used his characters to do something I have never seen in sci-fi before (read it to believe it). I’d say, even though I appreciated the characters, it was the fantastic plot that drew me in, coiled my nerves, and spit my brain out in the end.

I just loved this book. After reading The Gaia Wars, which was much more of a YA book, I was expecting something similar from Bennett—good, but geared towards a younger audience. This book blew me away with just how NOT YA it was. Within the first couple chapters, it was already sucking me in. Besides the fantastic mysterious nature of puzzling out what in the world is going on with so many people’s minds globally, there is also the fascinating ecological side of the book. I’m a nature nut, so everything that had to do with Earth (in a similar, but more awe-inspiring bent than Gaia Wars) locked in my attention for an even more compelling read.

I would absolutely recommend this book to so many people–those who read fantasy, sci-fi, eco/nature, mystery, thriller, etc. books. Exodus 2022 is a well-rounded novel written for the purpose of devouring the story.

Kenneth G. Bennett author photoAuthor Bio: Kenneth G. Bennett is the author of the young adult novels, THE GAIA WARS and BATTLE FOR CASCADIA, and the new adult sci-fi thriller, EXODUS 2022. THE GAIA WARS series was optioned for film by Identity Films, LA in 2012, and both GAIA and BATTLE have been featured as Top 100 Bestsellers in Teen Literature and Fiction on Amazon.

Read an excerpt or check out the book on Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari.

Connect with Kenneth:
Bennett’s website

A final thanks to Novel Publicity for inviting me to be a part of the book tour for Exodus 2022, and to Booktrope for giving me the media kit and a warm welcome! It was a lot of fun reading the book and communicating with everyone. I hope to do it again some day–and probably read Battle for Cascadia now!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. kennethgbennett
    May 25, 2014 @ 13:26:41

    Hannah, thank you for the wonderful, amazing, generous review and for featuring EXODUS 2022 on your cool site. I’m thrilled to see the book here, delighted that you enjoyed the story, and so appreciate the kind feedback. Thanks for the great tweets, as well!

    Best wishes,

    Kenneth G. Bennett


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