11 August 2018

Review: BANNERLESS, Carrie Vaughn

  • this edition published 2017 by Mariner Books
  • source: my local library
  • ISBN 978-0-544-94730-6
  • 274 pages
Synopsis (Amazon)

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.

My Take

This novel couples crime fiction with science fiction in a dystopian view of America in one hundred years' time. Much was lost during The Fall, when political, social and technological chaos resulted from some sort of cataclysm. The population has been decimated by pestilence and the large cities have gone along with most of their populations.

An interesting read. Investigators Enid and Tomas have been sent to a nearby community to investigate a serious death reported by one of the community leaders. The man has already been 4 days dead by the time they arrive, and nobody wants to give them any information. It appears Ariana, the community leader who has requested the investigation actually has another agenda altogether.

My Rating: 4.4

About the author
Carrie Vaughn is the author of the New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty. She also writes for young adults (her novel STEEL was named to the ALA's 2012 Amelia Bloomer list of the best books for young readers with strong feminist content), the Golden Age superhero series, and other contemporary fantasy stories. She's a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R. R. Martin, and her short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She's a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop, and in 2011, she was nominated for a Hugo Award for best short story.

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