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Cross Fire

(Exo #2)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  241 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Earth's century of peace as a colony of an alien race has been shattered. As the alien-run government navigates peace talks with the human terrorist group Sapience, Donovan tries to put his life back together and return to his duty as a member of the security forces. But a new order comes from the alien home planet: withdraw. Earth has proven too costly and unstable to mai ...more
Hardcover, 378 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Scholastic Press
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  241 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Fonda Lee's books. And apparently I'm not the only one - her adult fantasy book, Jade City, was up for a Nebula this year and at the same time, her YA SF book Exo, has been nominated for the Andre Norton Award.

Cross Fire is the direct sequel to Exo, and picks up the story shortly after its predecessor left off. The alien Mur Zhree who colonized Earth over a century ago with mixed reception, but on balance arguably to the benefit of Earth, may now hav
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A major step-up from the mostly successful first book sees a much more mature Donovan Reyes dealing with an increasingly precarious alien-occupied Earth.

The Rii are coming, and the Mur Erzen Commonwealth are getting ready to abandon Earth, taking with them only a small population of their most fit and trusted humans. The human resistance organization Sapience and its various splinter groups are growing stronger with the zhree pulling back and there's a lot of pressure on SetPac forces to keep or
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
I screamed about Exo last year, I'm gonna scream about Cross Fire today.
Because HOLY HECK THIS BOOK IS AMAZING and has set the bar for YA sci-fi super high for me.

- Cross Fire is the sequel to Exo and extends the post-apocalyptic story of humanity who are now subservient to an alien colonist species.
- This book takes the story to new heights. Humanity is warring with each other, divided by their allegiance to either the colonists or the human species -- and then something happens that changes e
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think this sequel to Fonda Lee's Exo is better than her first book, despite a somewhat slow start. The Zhree decide that Earth is too far away and costly to manage, and decide to abandon the planet, seeking to rescue 90,000 inhabitants to preserve the human species, with a focus on the hardened Exo's. Meanwhile, tensions among the core humans are led by rebel groups called Sapience and True Sapience. We continue to watch events develop through Donovan Reyes, the son of the former Prime Liaison ...more
Angela Blount
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Originally reviewed for YA Books Central:

Smart, well-paced, and intensely thought provoking. This series is on track to redefine sci-fi expectations for the YA genre.

Once again, the story is told in third-person past tense—entirely from the viewpoint of young soldier Donovan Reyes. Donovan is still mentally recovering from his time in captivity, and the loss of both parents to opposing ends of the conflict over the alien colonization of Earth. His instill
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
That was an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. Aside from the incredible action and pacing, I think this book contains excellent character development and is thematically rich and worth talking about.
I had a lot of mixed feelings about book 1 and its handling of the topic of colonization; some of those issues were addressed in this book, others not so much. Key turning point: Donovan's character finally realizes that most zhree don't value humans except when assimilated and harmless/l
So if I really enjoyed Exo despite having some issues with it, I liked Crossfire even better and didn't have anything like the same critiques of the world and character development that I did with the first installment. The addition of a larger political context to the relevant setting, the greater wealth of information we learn about the zhree, and a particular development about 2/3 of the way into the book that knits together puzzle piece hints dropped earlier in the plot (in a way where the t ...more
Caleb Geo
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very great continuation from the previous story.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first half is more character driven, while the second half is more action packed and plot-driven. I really liked the complexity throughout.
American Mensa
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Crossfire, by Fonda Lee, is the science fiction sequel to the popular book Exo. Donovan Reyes, the protagonist, is certainly no ordinary man. He is an exo, or a human possessing an exocell. Implanted using a special procedure, exocells allow for heightened strength and intelligence compared to “squishies”, or ordinary humans. Having an exocell has never been more important, for Donovan resides on a vulnerable Earth, where humans are ruled by a superior alien species, known as the Zhree. They pro ...more
Olivia Farr
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Cross Fire" was a great sequel to Exo that wraps up all the major plotlines and possibilities. The zhree, an alien race, are divided between Mur and Rii. The Mur have colonized Earth over a hundred years ago and work side-by-side with many humans in groups they call erze (kind of like a family group, organized by skill). Some of these humans are hardened (called Exos), which means they were given an exocel when they were young, which gives them protection, strength, and other finer skills. The ...more
Madeline (The Bookish Mutant)
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
*Warning: This text contains a minor spoiler*

Just as good as book 1.

I enjoyed how high the stakes were in this book, and I loved the fast-paced action and twist filled plot. The development of Donovan was wonderful to watch, and though I’m still a little iffy about his relationship with Anya, it seemed to work for this installment. One thing I wasn’t crazy about was Jet. He didn’t show up too much in book 1 (looking back, thank god), but he played a much bigger role in the sequel. Though his str
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The second is just as good as the first. Same extremely nuanced morality, same incredibly difficult situations, same complex moral choices without resorting to the grimdark or people just being generally awful. I cannot recommend this book series highly enough, especially for intelligent young children. Most books for young children are fairly morally straightforward. There is simply good guys and bad guys and while people make mistakes it's still pretty easy to tell. The next step up adds the s ...more
Nina DuBois
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Cross Fire was a really good sequel to Exo. It kept me highly entertained, there was plenty of action, and the politics was amazing. I loved direction this series is heading and I enjoyed it immensely. Fonda Lee writes such unique stories that are all her own. I love her writing. Even though Donovan was not my favorite person in the first book, he came a long way in this book. Instead of trying to be one thing, and Exo, he was learning to make his own decisions and what it means to do the right ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the hardest things to do is to write a sequel set in an already strongly built world and bring in new readers without a ton of "previouslies" or assuming that the reader has already been in this world. This book does it, and does it well. To be honest, I didn't even realize this was a sequel!

The idea that aliens have invaded, that some humans have not only decided to work with them but also undergo a procedure to become more like them, doesn't feel new (one could imagine this as an allego
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
CROSS FIRE builds and expands on the ideas and themes from EXO, the first novel in the series. Like it's predecessor, it doesn't take long for the action to start, and Donovan finds himself once again at the center of conflict between Earth's alien occupiers, the anti-alien underground, and his own role as both exo and heir to his mother and father's legacies.

Fonda excels at writing fast-paced and thought-provoking scenes with characters who have much more depth than the usual YA melodramas. She
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exciting conclusion to a story that expands the Zhree colonization established on Earth to something galactic. Donovan went through hell in book 1 and in this one he continues to make his own choices and involve himself in world events. He's a constantly evolving character who is a delight to follow.

This book includes more interactions between Donovan and a few Zhree that I really enjoyed (Therid, Worth, and Wilt) as well as giving us a glimpse into his training (wished for more of that!). A
Andrew Valencia
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cross Fire is the sequel to the Science Fiction book Exo. After experiencing a century of peace as a colony of an Alien race has come to a end when while negotiating peace talks with the human terrorist group named Sapience when the home alien planet decides to abandon Earth for being unstable. And as Earth becomes vulnerable from intruders Donovan Reyes a member of the security force knows how Sapience could stop the upcoming war but must unite all species to prevent extinction. This book is a ...more
Sharon Craft Viall
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Donovan is shocked to find out the his armor will not go up when the Rii attack Earth. That's when he finds out that there is a safety in his armor so they can't attack the Zhree. The human terrorist group sapience is finally going to take back Earth so they think. Donovan finds out that the Zhree are leaving earlier than they have been told so the Rii will destroy the Earth. Donovan must get someone to change or take out the safety on their armor, but know one will. What will happen to the Exo' ...more
Britt Buckenroth
Action packed sequel to Exo. The story picks up just about a six months or so after where Exo ended. Donovan is getting himself together after being kidnapped by the underground human terrorist group, Sapience, by integrating back in to normal life - drills and missions with his fellow soldiers-in-erze. I enjoyed this book as it took some unexpected turns as Donovan receives a message from father (who died in the last book) and makes some truly history changing decisions for his people and the f ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok, rarely do I feel a young adult sci fi book is worth 5 stars, but this one hits all the marks of great sci fi. The characters are deep and well developed. The relationships are a major part of the story. I love the focus on politics and the struggle that goes into making peace with everyone’s ideas and different view points. I love that there are still battles and there are hard losses and great victories in the battle. The romance is so realistic to me- I loved it. I also loved the open ende ...more
Heaven Ashlee
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was so good!

I hadn't been aware that Exo would get a sequel when I read an ARC of it years ago, but I'm so glad it did! Cross Fire was unexpected, and therefore I had no idea where the story would go. But it certainly went places! It expanded an already cool, unique world. It was a soldier's war story, framed with a little bit of romance, family, science and aliens. I mean there's no reason not to love it.

It was a very satisfying, if not bittersweet ending for these characters. Now I hope t
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the book Cross Fire, by Fonda Lee. In the book, an alien race is running Earth. They decide to leave, and before they do, another alien race attacks. A group of humans, called Exos, have a sort of shield that they can move around their body to protect certain parts, or completely cover their body. They decide to try and fight against the invading aliens. My favorite part of the book is sort of a spoiler, even though it isn't at the end. However, it is still a very major point in the stor ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is as good or better than the first one in the series, I found that this book tugs at your emotions and makes you think it a bit more than the first. This book follows up on the relationship with Anya and Donovan, Vic and Jet. This book follows up with the way the Saps or Sapience rebellion and their hatred with SecPac and the "Shrooms"(Shrooms are the alien species called Zhree or Rii.)
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I felt the character work in Exo was a little shallow despite the strong worldbuilding; Cross Fire flips it with some Textbook Evil aliens but a lot of attention to the character dynamics that were too shallow in Book One. (The romance finally makes sense! Jet's importance to Donovan is addressed and Donovan stops taking him for granted!) Deeply into the action, as ever; a good and fun ride.
Richard F
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Average quality writing coupled with a slow plot makes for 2 stars. The ending seems tailor made for a sequel, a common failing of sci-fi writers these days. Overall just a boring read. I ended up not caring much about what happens next. Lacks the sharp writing of a David Brin, to make a comparison. I had the feeling that the author was trying to create something epic, but it falls flat.
Mindi Welton-Mitchell
Excellent sequel!

Loved it--I felt like the characters finally hit their stride. Alas, the author isn't planning on a third, but it's a satisfying ending, even if some threads are unfinished.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: authors-of-color, ya
As readable and thought-provoking as Exo. There are plenty of books from the perspective of the scrappy resistance forces, but not enough from the perspective of those who have benefited from the alien occupation and view them as allies.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Is there a third?? I’d love to see more in this universe. And now I want to reread the first.

A wonderful, gritty and rather grim continuation of Exo that isn’t afraid to put its characters through the wringer.
Relatively clear where this one was going, though there were still surprises. Especially around the body count. Could have been deeper, could have gone to multiple pov characters. But basically worked and I'm curious for a sequel which is always a plus.
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Fonda Lee is an author of science fiction and fantasy novels for adults and teens. Her fantasy trilogy, the Green Bone Saga, begins with Jade City, which won the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, was a finalist for the Nebula and Locus Awards, and was named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Barnes & Noble, Powell's Books, Syfy Wire, and the Verge. Her young adult science fiction novels, Zerob ...more

Other books in the series

Exo (2 books)
  • Exo (Exo #1)