Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
bannerless (Carrie Vaughn)
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Publisher: John Joseph Adams / Mariner Books
Publication Date: TODAY!!! (paperback/e-book)
I had previously read and enjoyed Carrie Vaughn’s young adult sci-fi novel, martians abroad. When I saw that she had a dystopian murder mystery sci-fi coming out, I was excited to read it. And it exceeded me expectations.
The story is set “after the fall” in the coastal United States. The coast has flooded. Cities have fallen. The world is slowly rebuilding. The novel follows Enid, a young Investigator who helps police the towns along the Coastal Road. That job involves anything from helping people in the aftermath of storms, settling disputes, or in this case, investigating an extremely rare potential murder.
This book totally worked for me based on the strength of the world-building and Enid’s character. It was a thrilling character study of one person living at the beginnings of a new era. The people in Enid’s part of the world have been rebuilding through generations in an agrarian society where people live in structured households and must earn the right to bear children. Going against the norms are frowned upon because no one wants to repeat the mistakes of the past. When an outcast in another town is found dead, an investigation is requested. Enid takes the lead on her first major case where the stakes keep getting higher.
Now the murder mystery was a fun background but is not the true point of the story. This novel is really structured around Enid’s life both past and present. This involves the fantastic use of flashbacks that help the reader understand some of the reasons Enid chooses to take the steps she does in the solving the crime. Enid is inherently curious and wants to be helpful. Because of the fall, society has lost so much knowledge. While the rest of the people seem to be focused on the future, Enid ponders both the past and the present. This is a dystopian with an optimistic outlook. I would love to have Enid on me crew.
I enjoyed the glimpses into why the world fell, the societies that exist outside the coastal road, the seemingly realistic mix of old technologies and new, the strong place of women in society, and above all watching Enid’s journey. I will certainly be reading more of this author’s work.
So lastly . . .
Thank you John Joseph Adams / Mariner Books!
Netgalley’s website has this to say about the novel:
A mysterious murder in a dystopian future leads a novice investigator to question what she’s learned about the foundation of her population-controlled society.
Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them and are awarded symbolic banners to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory. Enid of Haven is an Investigator, called on to mediate disputes and examine transgressions against the community. She’s young for the job and hasn’t yet handled a serious case. Now, though, a suspicious death requires her attention. The victim was an outcast, but might someone have taken dislike a step further and murdered him? In a world defined by the disasters that happened a century before, the past is always present. But this investigation may reveal the cracks in Enid’s world and make her question what she really stands for.
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Previous Log Entries for this Author
martians abroad (On the Horizon – Young Adult Fantasy)