Cover Image: The Exiled Fleet

The Exiled Fleet

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Member Reviews

I read The Last Watch in October of 2020 and posted the review in March.  I'm glad to have been able to continue this adventure with the second book, but now I'm waiting for book 3.  

 My main complaint is that I wish there had been a little reminder of some of the events in the first book.  The Exiled Fleet begins in medias res, and as I've read over a hundred of books since last October, it took me a chapter or so to reorient myself.  A minor complaint.  

Character development continues, an important element in a series that relies on a sense of loyalty and camaraderie.  Each of the characters has both strengths and concomitant flaws that keep them human--not perfect, infallible cardboard cutouts.  In addition to Rake, Cavalon, and Jackin, secondary characters from the first book take on new responsibilities, and some interesting new characters are added.

The Sentinels survived the collapsing of the Divide and have rescued as many other endangered Sentinels as possible, but their situation is still dire.  As they struggle for materials, food, and mechanical and technical solutions, we learn more about the characters and their backgrounds while also gaining a better understanding of their world(s) and the machinations of Augustus Mercer, his eugenic programs, and long range plans.

Plenty of action.  Read in July; review scheduled for 

NetGalley/MacMillan-Tor/Forge
Science fiction.  Aug. 17, 2021.  Print length: 432 pages.
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A worthy follow-up to the author's debut space opera THE LAST WATCH, THE EXILED FLEET brings XO Adequin Rake & co fresh trouble in the form of potential starvation, political upheaval, and (maybe) alien conflict. Old faces are joined by a new cast of intriguing players, including engineering whiz Cavalon Mercer's childhood friend and co-conspirator Owen Larios, and medic-with-a-past Ford Kellar. Dewes supplies game-changing character backstory only hinted at in LAST WATCH, and expands on Augustus Mercer's insidious plot to tighten his grip on the System Collective.  Already being compared to THE EXPANSE and THE BLACK COMPANY, the Divide Series is sure to appeal to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and SPACE CRUISER YAMATO fans as well, and readers will eagerly await Dewes's next installment.
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My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Macmillan -Tor - Forge for an advanced copy of this new science fiction novel.

J. S. Dewes in the second book of the The Divide series, The Exiled Fleet ramps up everything in the story, more narrow escapes, new technology, alien contacts even a burgeoning rebellion and space pirates. There is a lot going on which helps the story that even considering the length never seems to slow down. However there is a lot of get to thing the to find the thing to do the thing that advances the story. 

Taking place 6 months or 5 weeks depending on the character, after the first book, our recently abandoned humans soldiers are facing starvation or destruction by a universe that seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Told in dual narratives from the Captain, a woman who has seen things, and committed them too, and a exiled royal with secrets and behavior problems, but a great brain. To save the survivors a series of quests must be done, each step involving another quest, with more quests on top. Also while the main characters are interesting, most of the secondary characters are either also involved in the royal plot, or just loyal past the point of chain of command. Secrets are unbared, a vast conspiracy is discovered, as is a secret rebellion, enemies might not be enemies, with space corsairs tossed into the mix also. 

I enjoyed this despite my kvetching, not as much as I enjoyed the first book, but I still want to know more. I enjoy the main characters and some of the revelations will make one of their lives very difficult and incredibly interesting at the same time. The ending shows a clear point forward, and where the remains of the crew of the Lodestar go, I would like to know.  I think this is a series that will extremely popular, like the Expanse or the Imperial Radch series.
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*3.5
This is for you if you like:
-	Political science fiction
-	Fast-pace
-	Action
-	Girlboss (kind of a grump, and surrounded by people with humor)
-	Band of misfits
-	Focus on platonic relationships

The sequel to the fast-paced and action-packed The Last Watch. Book 2 returns with even higher stakes. After having survived the collapsing edge of the Divide, now they must find a way to flee the edge entirely. With no engines and a shortage of food, they must do it quick. 

Like book 1, The Exiled Fleet has just the same fast pace and action - nothing too overwhelming that it would be too hard to follow. But I enjoyed this one better! The world introduced to us in The Last Divide is further explored and expanded here, which is exactly what I wanted to see. The characters’ resourcefulness and camaraderie truly shone. Plot-wise, I think this book is more political than the first. If in book 1 we get see action with aliens and space maneuvering, there is considerably less of that type of action here. The Exiled Fleet lets us see and know more on what book 1 touched on with regards to politics. There are many, many things I didn’t see coming. So, I think it would be accurate to say: expect some jaw dropping moments.

Coming in at 432 pages, this book isn’t exactly short but it’s a breeze to read because it’s so fun and the characters are worthy of rooting for. We also get new faces in this sequel - such as a very pleasant criminal – and they were all very enjoyable additions. The characters are a big factor as to why I enjoy this series; their banter and antics are everything. For people who have been sent to the edge of the universe as punishment, they are quite nice. Most books tend to have younger protagonists, but not in this one. Adequin Rake is in her early 30s, Cavalon is in his late 20s, everyone else isn’t younger by much and there are still characters older than Adequin. Adequin is very notable for me as a protagonist (and girlboss). She’s a very respected character, she outranks a lot of men in the books, and she’s the type of leader who will take the brunt of it all and then some. Which may also be where the problem comes in.

This could have easily been a solid 4 stars but the drawbacks really did diminish my enjoyment. Like I said before, Adequin is the type of leader who takes the brunt of it. She does that a lot here, it became repetitive. 

Spoilers ahead!
She’ll order her crew to leave her behind so they could flee, her crew will do their best to object but will follow orders eventually. But in the end, she’ll be saved by one of those crew members. It happens quite a few times, it wasn’t anything new or surprising for her character. It was rather predictable to be honest.

The ending of a book also makes it or breaks it for me. It cements what rating I will give especially if I am still undecided. The Exiled Fleet’s ending felt rushed somewhat, a little bit anticlimactic, and with significant conveniences; I didn’t think it was a bad one though. It alludes that there are more to come in the next book, but I still felt like the ending could have been explored on more instead of just having the rushed conversations that took place. 

In a nutshell, this book was very fun and solid read, with memorable characters to boot.
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Going into The Exiled Fleet, I wondered whether the sequel could live up The Last Watch. But any doubts were immediately put to rest upon starting the fast-paced sci-if epic, which grips you by the throat from the first chapter and doesn’t let go until the very end. The Exiled Fleet builds upon everything that made The Last Watch so commanding. The book delivers the same high-octane action and gives us suspenseful rescue missions and heists, but also takes the opportunity to deepen the characterization of its central characters. While Dewes dives deeper into the psychology of Cavalon and Rake, Rakes’ second-in-command Jackin is also placed at the forefront, with the novel exploring (and exposing) his complicated past. It’s not just the characters that are built out in surprising and complex ways; as the sentinels begin plotting their next steps, they journey beyond the divide, giving viewers closer looks at the world, politics, cultures, and various species of this universe. A must-read for any sci-fi fan, The Exiled Fleet is a thrilling next chapter in one of the most exciting new sci-fi series.
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I devoured the first book over the course of a day. I found the idea of a ship stranded at the edge of space, noticing that the edge is retracting, absolutely terrifying. I loved it so much that I even wrote to the author, something that I never do. She was absolutely wonderful and responded quickly. As a result I had very high hopes for this sequel. However my hopes did not prepare me for how amazing this book was. It was somehow even better then book one. The story got much bigger but also smaller at the same time. The action had much higher stakes and the characters really evolved in a natural way. I loved this book and am eagerly awaiting whatever comes next. 5 out of 5!
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I decided to wait until the audiobook is available to review this title because I loved experiencing the first book in that form and want to continue the experience.
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The Divide #2.  Almost as good as the first, which is saying a lot as I was positively delirious with a raving 5 star review after that one.   This one had a few teeny weeny slow bits here and there, but who cares?  This one brings most of our favorite team (Rake, Cavalon, Jackin, Emery...) out of the Divide in search of enough of a substance to power the ship so all the Sentinels can be returned before they starve. To say the odds are impossible is to put it lightly.  Very exciting stuff, especially when powered by such fantastic characters and great writing.  It is seldom that you get characters of such depth and believability as Rake and Cavalon in science fiction.  An absolute joy to read.  More please.
My copy was an ARC from NetGalley.
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Another fantastic adventure with space pirates. Plotting isn’t quite as taut in the sequel but the story remains creative & engaging. Secondary characters showing rough edges but the main characters and their emotional bonds are excellent.
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Wow.  I really enjoyed this book.  It continued  the story of the last watch.  We spend most of the book trying to figure out how to get away from the divide and how to take down Augustas.   The book left room for the story to continue but didn't end on a cliffhanger which I greatly appreciated.
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Thank you to NetGalley, J.S. Dewes and Tor Books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Exiled Fleet picks up shortly after The Last Watch. The Sentinels are still stranded at the outer edges of the universe and starvation looms on the horizon. Adequin Rake, Cavalon Mercer and crew must solve their lack of engine problem for the survival of thousands on the ship.
 
This book was all that I hoped it would be for a sequel! Dewes successfully blends character building with the action and plot.  Rake is managing her grief, albeit not as well as she could be. I just want to hug, be snarky and also lay on the floor not being social with Cavalon. The rest of the crew, plus new additions are fantastic, while also relatable! 
 
Dewes, you have a big fan over here and I cannot wait for more in this series! Plus, I plan on forcing my husband to read this so I have someone else to gush with.
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Such a great follow up to a wonderful sci fi world that equals Sanderson's craft. I find these books more enjoyable to read than the Expanse novels and I cannot wait to see where this story goes in the future.
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For some reason I thought this series was going to be a duology, but I realized really early on in this book that this was not going to be the case - and I’m not mad about it! SO MUCH HAPPENS in this book. We get to see so much more of the galaxy than just the Divide, learn more about the Viators, Cavalon’s family, and just...wow. I cannot wait for the next installment in this series.
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Another cracking adventure with these MacGyvering ne’er-do-well space mutineers. Just as by-the-edge-of-your-teeth daredevilry as in the first. 

More people are pulled into the plot but the core group remains engaging and believable, particularly Cav and Rake. They make an excellent pair; good partners and good foils. 

Plotting isn’t quite as taut in the sequel but the story remains creative & engaging. Secondary characters showing rough edges but the MCs and the emotional links between them are excellent. ★★★★
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Having not read the first book in this series, I still very much enjoyed this installment and look forward to reading the first and then the third books as soon as I can. Science fiction writing that is accessible to even the non-technical reader, but that still includes scientific and technical detail, is very hard to find. Recommended.
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ALRIGHT WHERE DO I EVEN START?!

I literally bought a kindle for the express purpose of reading this ARC, and it was 100% worth it haha. After reading the first book in the series, THE LAST WATCH, I had high hopes for THE EXILED FLEET, and let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. If anything, I liked this installment of the series even better than I had liked the first - which is saying something.

The stakes are still sky-high (or higher, actually. get it? space joke.), the characters nuanced and wonderfully relatable as they continue their journey, both literally and figuratively. Much of the old gang is back, plus some new faces like Owen who were just as delightful to get to know as the original cast.

The science and tech feels believably complex without alienating me (a quite non-technical reader), and the world of the story just gets more fascinating and complex and wonderful the more you get to know about it. Calling it right now, JS Dewes is going to be one of the next masters of sci fi, and I can already tell she's got a long career ahead of her, which is great for all of us, because it means we get to read more of her awesome books.

TL;DR, if I could give this book 6 stars I would, and I am already CHAMPING AT THE BIT for book three in the series.
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