Wednesday, July 5, 2017

ARC Review: Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn

Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: The Bannerless Saga (Book 1)
Publication: John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books (July 11, 2017)

Description: 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 Thoughts: BANNERLESS is a dystopian mystery set about 100 years after the collapse of civilization in the United States. The Coast Road section of the United States is doing pretty well because they have adopted strict population control. Birth control is mandatory. People have to prove that the can support a child before they can earn a banner and have the right to have one. Everyone has to pull their weight and work in their communities. Most people have grouped together in households within small towns.

Policing this society are Investigators. The heroine of this novel is Enid of Haven. She is a relatively new Investigator whose mentor is Tomas. She is the lead investigator on a case of suspicious death, or maybe murder, in the town of Pasadan. When she and Tomas arrive she finds a divided governing committee. Ariana, one of the committee members, called her in but there is friction between her and committee chair Philos who wants the Investigators gone.

The citizens of Pasadan are very reluctant to assist the investigators in any way, claiming that the victim Sero was an outsider that no one knew very well. Rumor has it that he was bannerless - illegitimate. Enid's investigation is complicated by the presence of Dak, Enid's first love. She and Dak, a traveling musician, had taken off from her home in Haven to follow the Coast Road ten years earlier. Chapters of flashback tell the story of Enid and Dak's relationship and also how Enid came to be an Investigator.

Enid's investigation leads to other discoveries about the seemingly perfect town of Pasadan and eventually lead her to discover what happened toe Sero. Along the way we see what it is like in the Coast Road through some excellently interwoven world building.

Fans of dystopias and mysteries will enjoy Enid's first adventure and be looking forward to more stories set in this world.

Favorite Quote:
The worst storms were the ones that changed you. The ones you remembered not for how bad they objectively were, but for how much damage they did to your own world. Banners, planted in memory.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I do like dystopia novels and mysteries and this one combines the two.


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