Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn
Series: Coast Road #1
Published by Mariner Books on July 11, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Mystery
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
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.
Carrie Vaughn is an author I’ve always enjoyed. Her Kitty Norville series is one of the first urban fantasy ones I read. Bannerless is more science fiction dystopia than supernatural. The world-building is great; there are enough details to give a vivid image without being tedious. This world has social and political issues based on lack of resources and limited communication. The people’s behavior is a bit more like a small rural community. The system is a bit like a feudal one with committee members acting the role of the leaders.
I didn’t know this was a series but I think this is excellent news. Enid, the main character, is an investigator. I like her intelligence and compassion and sense of integrity. The layered plot has the mystery of a suspicious death as well as giving us Enid’s history. I wasn’t sure I would like the flashbacks but quickly came to appreciate them for the information and insight into her past.
The characters overall are well developed. We know the least about those in her own household and personal relationship! Enid travels for her work which adds to the feeling of “jumping around” along with the flashbacks. I hope since now there will be a Coast Road series, there is more development of her family group, and more cases to solve. I won’t want to miss it! The Wild Dead is scheduled for July 17, 2018.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Anne: 2017 New Release Challenge