Zombies. Natural disasters. Pandemics. Planet of the Apes. The Walking Dead. Fallout. I am Legend. 2012. As a nation, we are obsessed with end of the world scenarios. I am always annoyed when a new movie or TV series premiers, because what more can be done? And then I’m completely sucked into it. What would it look like if we rolled multiple scenarios into one story? We would be smack dab in the middle of Carrie Vaughn’s Bannerless.
Hola! And welcome to Haven! Founded by doctors and biologists who saved vaccines and reconstructed antibiotics; essentially making Haven feel like the center of this dystopian novel, as well as our main character’s home. Enid has only known Haven. She grew up in the Plenty household, appropriately named for the 30 members living there. Although this common, expected even, it is apparent Enid is interested in a less traveled road. This ear after “The Fall” essentially has the foundation of your life already mapped out. The only change available is if you were to break the rules.
Even with most of your life planned out, there are bound to be troublemakers- that’s where the investigators come in. Collectively disliked and well avoided by all towns, their brown uniforms a dismal foreshadowing of only bad things to come. That doesn’t stop Enid from making friends with an investigator named Tomas. Growing up, any time Tomas would go on an investigation Enid would always volunteer to help- volunteering turned into her career choice and Tomas went from investigator to Enid’s enforcer.
Enid is approached with investigating a murder in a nearby town. Usually, it was just your ordinary:
- Thefts and fraud
- A household trying to barter twice the amount of grain or cider they are allowed to
- Reneged trades
- Breaking up fights
- Tracking down assaults
- Bannerless pregnancies
What makes this one suspicious, no one is admitting to seeing the murder, just admitting they need help cleaning up the mess. Enid is determined to prove this was indeed a murder, and not an accident. Her most convincing evidence is a bloody hand print at the scene of the crime. Will Enid convince the town of the murder they already knew about? Or will Enid discover something else the town is trying to hide?
While I try my best not to spoil a book, sometimes my thoughts get ahead of me. Even though this book has already hit shelves, here’s your fair warning.
When starting Bannerless I was a bit intimidated by the first chapter alone. You have an overwhelming amount of information thrown into your lap; people, places, jobs etc. and you have WAY more questions than answers. In fact, by the end of the book, I was still asking myself some questions that I did not have a clear cut answer on.
Another thing that had me questioning the entire book, was they still had electronics in some areas, and others they completely reverted back to the “old way” of doing things. For instance, there were electric cars, but they had blacksmiths, and no way of doing forensic evidence anymore. It’s completely believable, and yet I struggled very hard to let that big gap of technology sit well in my head.
Grievances pushed aside, Bannerless was very well written. It’s an extremely quick read, being only 274 pages, and because you just get a GLIMPSE of this dystopia, leaves you wanting to know more about the world and all the intricacies it takes to survive. I am extremely excited to jump right into The Wild Dead, the second in the Bannerless series.
“Bannerless” by Carrie Vaughn is available now. I was chosen by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to receive a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Given that fact, it has not altered my opinion on the book at all.