Bannerless
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.

Bannerless Details

TitleBannerless
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherJohn Joseph Adams/Mariner Books
ISBN0544947304
ISBN-139780544947306
Number of pages352 pages
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Mystery, Fiction, Dystopia

Bannerless Review

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    June 30, 2017
    3.75 stars for this SF post-apocalyptic novel. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:In Bannerless (2017), Carrie Vaughn ― perhaps best known for her KITTY NORVILLE urban fantasy series inhabited by werewolves and vampires ― has created a reflective, deliberately paced post-apocalyptic tale with some detective fiction mixed in. It’s about a hundred years in our world’s future and after an event simply called the Fall, when civilization collapsed worldwide. The cities are now ruins, ab 3.75 stars for this SF post-apocalyptic novel. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:In Bannerless (2017), Carrie Vaughn ― perhaps best known for her KITTY NORVILLE urban fantasy series inhabited by werewolves and vampires ― has created a reflective, deliberately paced post-apocalyptic tale with some detective fiction mixed in. It’s about a hundred years in our world’s future and after an event simply called the Fall, when civilization collapsed worldwide. The cities are now ruins, abandoned by all but the most desperate people. Climate change has resulted in, among other things, deadly typhoons that periodically hit the California coast, the setting for our story. What’s left of humanity is living a far simpler lifestyle than most of their twentieth century ancestors.Along the Coast Road, a largely agrarian society has developed in which people have a reasonably good way of life. People live in small communities, and in group households. They have extremely strict restrictions on use of resources and on population control, which they view as a way to prevent the events that caused the Fall from reoccurring. Childbearing has become a privilege, one that must be earned; official permission for a household to have a child is evidenced by a green-and-red woven banner. Having a “bannerless” child is a major violation of the rules and social code that govern Coastal society. That, like other violations of rules such as overfishing or overplanting of fields, generally lead to the breaking up of the violator’s household and social shunning. A few traces of pre-Fall technology still survive, like (conveniently enough) birth control implants. It’s an interesting world, well-built by Vaughn.Enid is an Investigator, one of a limited number of people with a law enforcement job that combines the roles of detective, police and judge. There isn’t a lot of crime in their area; bannerless pregnancies and people cheating the system by planting unauthorized crops are far more common than murders or crimes of violence. But Enid and her partner Tomas are called to the community of Pasadan to investigate a questionable death. The death of Sero, a man who lived alone, appears to be an accident … but he had no friends in Pasadan, and the people there are suspiciously close-mouthed about what they might know of Sero and the circumstances of his death. In Pasadan, Enid also unexpectedly finds her former lover Dak, a wandering minstrel with whom she spent a few months traveling the Coast Road some ten years ago. How is Dak involved in Sero’s death … if he is?Bannerless alternates between two timelines: Enid and Tomas’ investigation into Sero’s death in the current day, and flashbacks from Enid’s youth, particularly her time with Dak, journeying up and down the coast with him and his cherished (and rare) guitar. He lives the life of a traveling bard, singing old and new songs, including one about dust in the wind that he learned as a child from an old man, who told him the song came from “a place called Kansas.” Dak’s renewed interest in Enid, when they meet again after so many years, didn’t seem realistic to me. Enid thinks it’s because she was the one who left him rather than the other way around, but it struck me as just as likely that he was acting charmed by Enid mostly to promote his own self-interest.Bannerless has a restrained tone throughout, despite the main character’s investigation of a possible murder. It’s not as exciting as some novels about more harrowing dystopian societies, and may not keep you on the edge of your seat with gladiator-like fights to the death or zombie attacks. But it’s a more plausible and even hopeful future. Bannerless emphasizes the positive traits of human cooperation and care for our environment, while at the same time being clear-eyed about human shortcomings and weaknesses. Vaughn is rather mysterious about the particular causes and events of the Fall for the first half of the book; actually, it was a bit underwhelming when the Fall was finally explained.Bannerless expands the world Vaughn created in the excellent Hugo award-nominated 2010 short story “Amaryllis,” which she’s explored in at least a couple of other short stories. If you’re a fan of contemplative post-apocalyptic novels like Station Eleven, Bannerless may appeal to you; while it’s not as deep and complex as Station Eleven, it’s still quietly appealing.I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. Thank you!
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  • Gary
    May 25, 2017
    3.5 starsBannerless is a post-apocalyptic murder mystery that works well as a post-apocalypse, somewhat less so as a murder mystery. Carrie Vaughn’s strengths as a writer – her powerful visuals, compelling characters, and intricate worldbuilding – serve this novel well. Set in a future “after the Fall”, Vaughn imagines this new world as a network of communities that follow strict guidelines to ensure that scant resources aren’t overtaxed. Population control is the most essential feature of this 3.5 starsBannerless is a post-apocalyptic murder mystery that works well as a post-apocalypse, somewhat less so as a murder mystery. Carrie Vaughn’s strengths as a writer – her powerful visuals, compelling characters, and intricate worldbuilding – serve this novel well. Set in a future “after the Fall”, Vaughn imagines this new world as a network of communities that follow strict guidelines to ensure that scant resources aren’t overtaxed. Population control is the most essential feature of this world. Women are fitted with birth control implants to curtail unsanctioned pregnancies, and households are only allowed to bear children once they earn a “banner” by proving their ability to be highly productive (and law abiding) members of society. As one might expect, these banners are a great source of pride for the households that obtain them, but are also a source of resentment and disaffection for the bannerless.Enid is an investigator whose jurisdiction includes all manner of crimes and violations, and the main plot of the novel involves her and her partner Tomas trying to determine if a grisly death in the town of Pasadan was an accident or murder. This story alternates with flashback chapters of Enid as a young woman, living an itinerant lifestyle with her musician lover Dak. In the “present day” storyline, Enid becomes emotionally conflicted when the long estranged Dak shows up as a member of the Pasadan community.I preferred the flashback chapters of the novel, which explored in detail the way the communities function in this setting, and how difficult it is to function without one. You know how it’s going to end, by design, but the climax is thrilling and Enid’s final choice is both believable and heart-wrenching. The mystery story is a bit thin – by the end it feels like a short story padded out to novel length. The conclusion to the “whodunnit” is easy to predict halfway through, though the ending still manages to be emotionally satisfying and fits well into Vaughn’s theme of communities succeeding, or failing, together.A solid book, despite its flaws.
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  • Bandit
    May 31, 2017
    I've read Vaughn's Golden Age novels, to mixed results, but enough to merit interest in her new book. Bannerless is a stand alone (thus far anyway, which doesn't mean much, Vaughn is a prolific series writer) and the mixture of dystopia and a murder mystery sounded very enticing. The execution was somewhat less so. Vaughn created a compelling near future post apocalyptic world, but didn't roam in it too much and the murder mystery was very underwhelming. Not quite sure why, thinking about it. Th I've read Vaughn's Golden Age novels, to mixed results, but enough to merit interest in her new book. Bannerless is a stand alone (thus far anyway, which doesn't mean much, Vaughn is a prolific series writer) and the mixture of dystopia and a murder mystery sounded very enticing. The execution was somewhat less so. Vaughn created a compelling near future post apocalyptic world, but didn't roam in it too much and the murder mystery was very underwhelming. Not quite sure why, thinking about it. The main character was quite compelling, a female investigator, traveling to another settlement to solve a crime, encountering a past love and some complicated local politics. But it was all just sort of skimmed, the story didn't really go into the details when it should have, making for a quick but not particularly satisfying read, a literary equivalent of an appetizer instead of a meal. The only thing Vaughn's world got really right is the reproduction tactics. In so many dystopias with blatant ignorance to dire circumstances everyone reproduces like it's going out of style, which I always found to be utterly idiotic. When resources are limited, present is bleak future more so, one would think making babies should be the last thing on anyone's minds. But no, time and time again, caution is thrown to the wind and kids are made and brought into the world that is at the very best hostile to all lifeforms. Not here, though, in Vaughn's vision of the future, families are set up and the right to reproduce must be earned, thus the banners. It is, thus, a privilege, not a right or a past time. Granted to some that may sound more brutal that bringing children into a devastated devastating world, but is it really...and anyway different strokes...it would certainly explain the way babies are being born now in certain places, like third world countries. No forethought, no plan, just...babies. At any rate, in the Bannerless world all technology is inferior to the world before, expect, inexplicably, the contraceptives. And so there is a well defined social status struggle. And that aspect is interesting and the rest of the book is ok, nothing special, just a decent quick read. Thanks Netgalley.
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  • Jessica Woodbury
    February 13, 2017
    I get really excited about dystopian/speculative mysteries, probably because THE CITY AND THE CITY is one of my favorite mysteries. But both can be tough genres, hard to do well. Especially if you decide to also shoot for a rather literary approach to the whole endeavor. In the end, BANNERLESS didn't quite succeed for me in any category. The post-apocalyptic setting is crucial to the book. I tend to prefer books that don't go too high concept but that still create a world that feels vivid and di I get really excited about dystopian/speculative mysteries, probably because THE CITY AND THE CITY is one of my favorite mysteries. But both can be tough genres, hard to do well. Especially if you decide to also shoot for a rather literary approach to the whole endeavor. In the end, BANNERLESS didn't quite succeed for me in any category. The post-apocalyptic setting is crucial to the book. I tend to prefer books that don't go too high concept but that still create a world that feels vivid and different. This book has a low concept setting, a rather simple and straightforward apocalypse, a rather simple and straightforward new society. (If one that felt rather unbalanced. In some ways they are heavily agrarian and have little technology, but then there will be birth control implants and solar cars.) If you are all about worldbuilding, this book isn't going to keep you all that interested.The mystery could easily salvage this but this world has a victim no one liked, a society where there's rarely a motive to murder, and a small list of suspects. I found myself skimming more than once, which is certainly not my normal experience with a mystery.The mystery intersperses with a long backstory, but it doesn't teach us much about our protagonist or do much to forward the plot or post-apocalyptic setting. Instead it just brought the pacing down in an already rather slow read.
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  • The Captain
    July 11, 2017
    Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .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 nov Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .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!See me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...
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  • Margaret
    June 20, 2017
    I'm not sure if this is a fast read, or if my being sick the last two days and reading a lot made it seem like a fast read. In either case, it did make the days go faster. :)This is marketed as a dytopia, but I actually didn't find the post-apocalyptic society particularly dystopian. In fact, it's pretty stable and egalitarian. I would live in this future, except minus all the previous deaths, of course, but this takes place many decades after the apocalypse as well.Enid is an investigator, and I'm not sure if this is a fast read, or if my being sick the last two days and reading a lot made it seem like a fast read. In either case, it did make the days go faster. :)This is marketed as a dytopia, but I actually didn't find the post-apocalyptic society particularly dystopian. In fact, it's pretty stable and egalitarian. I would live in this future, except minus all the previous deaths, of course, but this takes place many decades after the apocalypse as well.Enid is an investigator, and she and her friend and fellow investigator Tomas travel to what looks like an idyllic town to investigate a rare murder. The title comes from the Banners awarded households who have contributed to their community enough to be able to support a child. The Banners allow households to have children, but only the households who can contribute. So a household where no one works wouldn't be awarded a banner. At the age of 12, girls are put on birth control, and if their household receives a banner, then the BC is removed until they have a child.There are ways to spin that as dystopian, but in the world of the novel, it seems perfectly practical. As someone with a mild disability, and a father with a disability that prohibits him from working (mine doesn't), it does make me wonder about the households with family members who are unable to contribute to earning a banner. Unable to work. However, disabled people apparently don't exist in this world.The mystery was a bit unmysterious, but it still kept me reading. I enjoyed the world and Enid's character enough to want to know what happened next. The world building is clunky in the beginning, but once it settles into a story, it's a fun read.Thanks to Netgalley and John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.3.5/5
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  • Cathy
    March 5, 2017
    Note to self: Not a description that would usually appeal but just read short story by the same name in Dozois' Year's Best 33 featuring Enid and really liked her. But she was old and about to retire.
  • Jenna (Falling Letters)
    June 29, 2017
    Review originally published 9 July 2017 at Falling Letters. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. (Decided I 'did not like' this book, so 1 star it is.)I went into this book hoping for some clever literary fiction exploring questions of population management, bodily autonomy, and maybe some critiquing of environmental and economic policies. I hoped the murder mystery would take a back seat, functioning as frame for those questions. Unfortunately, Ba Review originally published 9 July 2017 at Falling Letters. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. (Decided I 'did not like' this book, so 1 star it is.)I went into this book hoping for some clever literary fiction exploring questions of population management, bodily autonomy, and maybe some critiquing of environmental and economic policies. I hoped the murder mystery would take a back seat, functioning as frame for those questions. Unfortunately, Bannerless falls short in all those areas. Bannerless instead tells a simple coming of age tale and murder mystery, neither of which are particularly compelling.The first thing about this book that stood out to me was the repetitive and self-explanatory prose. One aspect that particularly grated on me was the hammering on about how investigators are feared, terrible, powerful. Their brown uniforms symbolize of something awful, but who knows what. We’re told numerous times that the average person disdains investigators, yet the narration never shows why. I don’t like being told something over and over with no evidence. Perhaps its because investigators enforce rules that people don’t like? But we’re never shown effects of that – the system that most people live by functions well and we don’t see or hear about an investigator ruining someone’s life. (One person has an outburst about a household that was split up because an investigator discovered they were doing something illegal, but that has no connection to this story.)Another related issue I had with the prose is that many sentences felt unnecessary, in that they told me something I could have inferred from the dialogue. It was an odd case of telling instead of showing – at times, the telling happened in addition to the showing. One chapter contains five instances of glaring, by the same two characters. In general, the prose reads amateurish and undeveloped.This critique about the investigators ties into my main issue with the novel. Where is the dystopia? How does the investigation “reveal the cracks in Enid’s world and make her question what she really stands for”? Enid doesn’t seem to question her role as the blurb hints. The story doesn’t convincingly portray birth/population control as a negative thing, which, given the book’s dystopic tropes, I would assume is the goal. There’s talk of how children born bannerless (i.e. their parents didn’t have a banner and thus shouldn’t have had a child) are discriminated against. Enid encounters people living outside the households and banners structure, but they live desperate lives which enforces Enid’s belief in the banner system (not that she ever questioned the system). Based on what happens in the novel, I support the banner system, which ensures if you can support a child, then you can have one. Wouldn’t that be the case in an ideal world? That everyone who has a child can support that child? Of course, that’s a simplistic view that should open the door for a more complex exploration of bodily autonomy and other concepts, but Bannerless makes no room for such an exploration.It occurs to me now perhaps the story is more complex than I’m giving it credit for. Maybe it really is advocating this method of population control, or just trying to start that discussion by showing a positive side of population control. Yet I still feel that the story would have been improved by a more nuanced exploration of the various sides of that discussion. Plus, the book is being marketed as a dystopia so I’m not sure what what Enid was supposed to discover as she investigated the murder.The story follows two threads – Enid as a teen travelling with musician Dak and Enid as a twenty-something investigating a murder. The murder mystery itself is simple and predictable, and thus pretty boring. The investigation is blah. Enid tries to talk to people, they don’t want to talk to her. She eventually figures it out. Hooray. I did like teen Enid, despite her slow story. She follows her own path. She makes the decision to travel with Dak and she makes the decision to leave him.The Bottom Line: Bannerless has the premise of a fascinating story, but the weak plot and dull storytelling make Bannerless one you can skip.
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  • Kathy Martin
    June 24, 2017
    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 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.
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  • Geonn Cannon
    July 13, 2017
    Essentially two novellas shuffled and pasted together, a prequel crammed in every other chapter so the momentum of both stories suffered in the end. It was a fine story and well written, with an even-handed balance between world building and plot, but the awkward start-and-stop of each chapter really dropped it in my opinion.
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  • Darcy
    June 14, 2017
    I feel like so much of this one was familiar, like maybe the author has written a short story within the world and I read it at some point.This book had a slow build to it. Things in the world had to be established, Enid, her personality and her one big out of character decision in the past. All of that had a big impact in the present of this book. I liked how curious Enid was, it made her perfect for her job, for not taking things at face value, a good thing for the investigation she was on. Th I feel like so much of this one was familiar, like maybe the author has written a short story within the world and I read it at some point.This book had a slow build to it. Things in the world had to be established, Enid, her personality and her one big out of character decision in the past. All of that had a big impact in the present of this book. I liked how curious Enid was, it made her perfect for her job, for not taking things at face value, a good thing for the investigation she was on. Things there seemed cut and dry at first, but slowly things started to unravel. What started out with one thing revealed so much more and brought up great questions in a gray area. Are you just as guilty as those that commit the crime if you suspect what really happened or ignore the rules becuase they will benefit you? Something to think about.I found how the author talked about the Fall to be so desloate. It's so easy to see how there wasn't one big thing, but small little things that snowballed until in hindsight you can see how it happened.
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  • Kathleen Townsend
    July 12, 2017
    Earlier this week we saw the release of Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn. This is a murder mystery set within the framework of a post-apocalyptic world where every day it takes everything just to survive. The story unfolds in two timelines. The first, current timeline follows Enid as she works as an Enforcer attempting to solve a murder. The second follows Enid through her teen years as she follows Dak the musician around the countryside. The novel takes place on the west coast, the exact location ne Earlier this week we saw the release of Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn. This is a murder mystery set within the framework of a post-apocalyptic world where every day it takes everything just to survive. The story unfolds in two timelines. The first, current timeline follows Enid as she works as an Enforcer attempting to solve a murder. The second follows Enid through her teen years as she follows Dak the musician around the countryside. The novel takes place on the west coast, the exact location never quite revealed. This is a future earth, a place where modern society has collapsed. A series of ecological disasters ravaged the land, the remnants of which still occur. Along with this was a series of terrible epidemics which killed off large swaths of the population. This sets up for a fantastic post-apocalypic world, a place where humanity has banded together in small, tightly knit communities. There is strict birth control in an attempt to desperately ensure that there is enough food and other resources to support the town. This is a novel that is set up well and should have a lot to say on a wide variety of topics. However, the novel never really gets there. Not much is said on these topics. The world within the novel is explained rather thoroughly, but nothing is commented on. Enid doesn’t question the rules of her world, the framework upon which her society is set. No commentary slips through in the discussions between characters. Which leads to my next point. The blurb markets this as a dystopian novel. While it is most definitely post-apocalyptic, it is not particularly dystopian. The novel never makes the next step into that territory. Not enough is given to show us the pitfalls of how their society works, either in regards to population control or otherwise. Sure, we get a small glimpse into the harsh life those who’ve stuck things out in the dilapidated cities survive and how it differs from the life Enid knows, but we don’t really have enough to make a lot of commentary on it. And, again, the characters don’t provide a lot of dialogue – either inner dialogue or with each other – either. The tale told within the past was more of a coming of age tale than anything else. We saw Enid grow and change within that story. I found this the more intriguing of the two parallel tales being told. I liked seeing the post-apocalypse setting and learning how society and the world became the way it was. The mystery, on the other hand, fell a little flat. The whodunit aspect was very predictable. I wasn’t at all shocked or surprised at the outcome of the mystery. This was rather unfortunate. While Enid had obvious character growth throughout the chapters set in the past, I couldn’t really say the same thing of the present day mystery story. This leads to another gripe. The book’s blurb states that what Enid finds on her case makes her question everything she stands for. At no point does Enid do any such thing. She doesn’t question anything about her world or its rules. At this point she doesn’t even question the methods as to how their world got to be the way it was, as she’d read various books from the old world and journals written during the fall of civilization.Sometimes when I find a book like this, the simple beauty of the prose saves it for me. I can’t say this happened this time. The prose isn’t poor by any means, but it didn’t quite save it for me. The book is a very fast read. Overall, Bannerless by Carrie Vaugn fell a bit short for me. I was looking forward to a dystopian, post-apocalypse murder mystery that asked a lot of a questions. What I got fell short of that mark. Still, the world in which Enid lives is quite intriguing, and I wouldn’t be against reading more by this author or other works set in this world. It’s unfortunate, but I think the thing this book suffered the most from was mismarketing. If you like post-apocalypse settings maybe give this book a read. If you don’t like predictable mystery stories this may be a book to pass up. *This book was recieved from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*This review and more can be found on Looking Glass Reads.
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  • Kathleen
    June 3, 2017
    Bannerless may be a novel set in a future dystopia but it is not the usual post-nuclear holocaust, zombie-riddled, vampire strain, hunger games type of story. It involves a mystery but Bannerless is not a pulse-pounding killer on the loose out to get the main character novel, either. And while it does lament what humanity has lost in the way of technology and modern conveniences such as electricity or even paper, it remains restrained in its lecture. Bannerless is a parable that lets us know how Bannerless may be a novel set in a future dystopia but it is not the usual post-nuclear holocaust, zombie-riddled, vampire strain, hunger games type of story. It involves a mystery but Bannerless is not a pulse-pounding killer on the loose out to get the main character novel, either. And while it does lament what humanity has lost in the way of technology and modern conveniences such as electricity or even paper, it remains restrained in its lecture. Bannerless is a parable that lets us know how far we will fall but also what the characters in the story are doing to prevent it from happening again.Taking the problems society battles now, overpopulation, hunger, greed, and climate change, Bannerless establishes a system and a set of hard laws that prevent this from ever overwhelming the earth again. The people live in smaller villages run by a committee overseen by a regional government and policed by investigators. Households are not necessarily based on relation but housemates that work together for the good of the house and the village. No one farms more than what is needed by the village or there are harsh penalties. All households work for a banner; the regional reward for hard work that shows the home is capable of supporting another child. The investigators deal with a bannerless pregnancy, either with termination of the pregnancy or banishment. It’s a harsh system but it protects the future; over farming might create oversupply and negatively affect the soil ten years from now and extra children would make for increased food rationing and the villages do not want to lose the little paradises they have now.The story focuses on Enid, a regional investigator from the town of Haven. She and her cousin Tomas, also an investigator, are called to the town of Pasadan to investigate a possible murder. People react negatively whenever they see the brown investigator uniform—even if they themselves are innocent, a guilty housemate or villager can estrange the entire house or town for years. It’s as simple as one person ruining it for everyone. So Enid and Tomas are cautiously welcomed but town politics and fears make their job difficult especially when they find that the dead man was a loner and not well liked. He had no household and never interacted with others unless they needed repairs on their homes or fences. And Pasadan has many beautiful fences.But Bannerless doesn’t just focus on the mystery of the man’s death, the reader is taken into the past and we learn about Enid’s childhood and her formative teen years when she traveled outside Haven down the Coast Road and explored what had to be what was left of Los Angeles one hundred years after the Fall. It’s creepy and tragic and shows what Enid is trying to prevent from happening in her world now. Both stories, past and present, eventually intersect in Pasadan.The story starts out slowly and takes awhile before it gains purchase and keeps the reader going until the end. I admit there were times I was ready to walk away from the book but I am very glad I stuck with it. Bannerless is multi-layered and takes its time to peel back each layer to reveal another justification for why this banner system cannot be broken. One simple lie or overuse of supplies or even hoarding; any of these seemingly little infractions can build up and bring the world to its knees once again. It was also interesting that, while never stated, most of the characters along the Coast Road are probably Hispanic; the names, skin color and the “hola” greeting. Nothing political, just fact that most people along the west coast are Hispanic in origin.
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  • Sarah A
    July 13, 2017
    Note: I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.Bannerless is a post-apocalyptic novel about people living in an area of the US known as the Coast Road. The novel is set after the Fall, a time when plagues and global warming and unequal economic structures caused the collapse of society as we know it today. Our society has been replaced by settlements made up of households with varying numbers of adults in one house and each settlement is gove Note: I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.Bannerless is a post-apocalyptic novel about people living in an area of the US known as the Coast Road. The novel is set after the Fall, a time when plagues and global warming and unequal economic structures caused the collapse of society as we know it today. Our society has been replaced by settlements made up of households with varying numbers of adults in one house and each settlement is governed by a committee, which are in turn governed by regional committees. In order to have children, households must apply for banners, which are granted to households that prove they can sustain raising a child economically. Any woman in a household without a banner is implanted with a birth control device to prevent pregnancy and it is illegal to have children without a banner. In the midst of this collective society, the novel follows Enid, an investigator who travels around to various settlements to settle disputes and provide consequences when necessary. At the start of the novel, Enid is assigned to investigate a suspicious death in another settlement, where politics and secrets are obviously at play.First, I did enjoy reading this novel. The mystery aspect was interesting, as I don't feel that I have read a lot of post-apocalyptic mysteries. Enid is an interesting protagonist, even if I didn't really care for her very much. She is a strong woman, which I admired, and is very much her own person. However, when it comes a society that seems dystopian, she is very much the enforcer of that society, which is a different viewpoint than the one I'm used to reading in such novels. Other characters were also interesting, though I found them to be a bit one-sided at times.This novel was billed as a dystopian novel and the synopsis says that Enid's investigation will make her question everything about her society. However, I didn't really feel like that happened. Enid was an interesting character, but she didn't really seem to change over the course of the book as much as get more set in her ways and viewpoints. This was my major quibble with the book. I also felt like the world building could have been a little more in depth and made the world seem a little more dysfunctional. I mean, it wasn't an ideal society, but it all societies have their problems. I didn't feel like I got to see enough of the world to judge whether it was truly dystopian.Overall, I liked this novel, but I didn't love it. I think a lot of that had to do with expectations I had from the synopsis that I didn't really feel were delivered on. However, I loved reading a mystery set in a post-apocalyptic world, and I really enjoyed that I finally had a protagonist I could occasionally feel negative things about. I don't seem to find a lot of books like that, and I think it makes for a very interesting reading experience. Despite some of the drawbacks I had with this book, Goodreads is also identifying it as book #1 in a series, and I'll likely continue reading it. If you like mysteries and post-apocalyptic novels, I think you would probably like this book, too.
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  • Jay Batson
    July 12, 2017
    Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the book for free in exchange for a public review. My star rating system is posted here; while simple, I try to be consistent with it.Bannerless is a tragedy. The book tells a tale of good intentions by good people, gone wrong, and joins a fraternity of such tales. An unusual one in that the character experiencing a downfall isn’t a single person, but is a collection of persons who together represent the main character of the story.The story is set afte Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the book for free in exchange for a public review. My star rating system is posted here; while simple, I try to be consistent with it.Bannerless is a tragedy. The book tells a tale of good intentions by good people, gone wrong, and joins a fraternity of such tales. An unusual one in that the character experiencing a downfall isn’t a single person, but is a collection of persons who together represent the main character of the story.The story is set after the “fall” of civilization. It isn’t important to the story what that fall actually was, or how it happened. In fact, discussion of this doesn’t come until the last 10% of the book, and isn’t material. But, the consequences of the fall are crucial. The slice of humanity given to us in the book is back to being agrarian, and nearly Shaker-like in many ways. But survivors of the fall have created changes to our societal norms in order to live within an earth that has limited capacity to produce, and sustain life.So, instead of being with one mate for life, people form collective Houses instead of traditional man/wife/child families. These Houses can only reproduce when they earn the right to do so - and are awarded a banner. The story is about being Bannerless - lacking the right to bear a child.This first-person narrative is told from the perspective of a woman, acting as an official investigator (from the barely-there authorities) into a suspicious death. The book tells the tale of the investigation, and the life this investigator lived that led her to this task.This is also a tragedy of a book to read. There are tools aplenty in the setting, the main ideas, and story vehicle. But, I yearned to be done with this book when I was barely half-way in. While well-edited for what it is, this author is clearly writing for the joy of putting words on paper, and has a great love for telling every possible detail of the experiences of the characters. And sadly, the entire tale started to sound like a lamentation - a long, slow telling of a very sad tale that didn’t have enough upside / payoff to make it worth living through all the lament.About halfway through the book, I bookmarked the place where I said “Enough”, and nearly gave up. But, I’m always one to give somebody a chance to prove me wrong. In the end, there was nothing but boredom and tragedy for me in this book.My rating system would have me give this one star. But because the ideas and tools are present and deserve credit, I’ll give it two.
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  • Meg
    July 11, 2017
    What happens when you mix a post-apocalyptic dystopian with a bit of detective fiction? You'll get Carrie Vaughn's Bannerless. I really enjoy traditional, structural genre stories mixed with a fantastic setting, and this one didn't disappoint. Bannerless takes place about a hundred years after a series of events destroy society. It's a little like taking a peek into our future if we aren't careful about our relationships with other countries and if we aren't careful with our planet. Instead of b What happens when you mix a post-apocalyptic dystopian with a bit of detective fiction? You'll get Carrie Vaughn's Bannerless. I really enjoy traditional, structural genre stories mixed with a fantastic setting, and this one didn't disappoint. Bannerless takes place about a hundred years after a series of events destroy society. It's a little like taking a peek into our future if we aren't careful about our relationships with other countries and if we aren't careful with our planet. Instead of being another post-apocalyptic dystopian novel, Vaughn uses this vision of the future as a twist in her traditional mystery and that twist adds a dimension to the story that I found really enjoyable.In this futuristic world, the population has dwindled, birth control is mandatory, and people live in tight-knit communities in which everyone knows everyone else's business. People group together in family units called houses, and they work together to provide enough materials for themselves and for their families, and once their quotas are met or consistently exceeded, these families can apply to get a banner which allows that household to have a baby.Enid of Haven is an Investigator, a role that combines the roles of police, detective, and judge. Crime doesn't really exist in this future world, and most of it ends up being bannerless pregnancies or unauthorized food and material production to try to game the system. She is called up with her partner to investigate a suspicious death of a bannerless person in a neighboring community, and she is forced to confront someone with her past as she and her partner Tomas figure out the mystery. I also really enjoyed Enid's self-discovery as she investigates the suspicious death. She goes from being a little insecure of herself as an individual to growing more and more confident in herself, and to me, that's entirely relatable. Told in alternating chapters of Enid's past and present, Bannerless explores a future in which our very society is regulated on the local level and how our actions, even with good intentions, can be devastating for entire families.If you enjoy traditional mysteries, dystopian futures as imagined in books like Station Eleven, and speculative fiction, you'll probably enjoy this one! It's short, yet well-crafted and well-paced. And I've just read she's working on another post-apocalyptic murder mystery, so I'm hoping that the next one will continue following Enid's investigations!This book was provided to me for review by Netgalley and Mariner Books. All opinions are my own.
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  • Berni Phillips
    July 15, 2017
    Fun read about a post-apocalyptic society. This first book in a new series follows Enid, an investigator (=cop) on a murder case. Half the book is devoted to flash backs of Enid's life before she became a cop, especially her relationship with the charming, roaming musician, Dak.Interesting society. There were a sequence of hammer blows to the society which wrecked it: a global pandemic flu followed by catastrophic storms caused (presumably) by climate change. Enid lives in Haven, one of many sma Fun read about a post-apocalyptic society. This first book in a new series follows Enid, an investigator (=cop) on a murder case. Half the book is devoted to flash backs of Enid's life before she became a cop, especially her relationship with the charming, roaming musician, Dak.Interesting society. There were a sequence of hammer blows to the society which wrecked it: a global pandemic flu followed by catastrophic storms caused (presumably) by climate change. Enid lives in Haven, one of many small towns/villages which have risen up after the Fall. Nuclear families are apparently a thing of the past, replaced by a more sensible multi-adult household. The banners, as in the title, are cloth banners which are given to households who have earned the right to have a baby. Upon entering puberty, all girls receive a birth control implant in their arm (like the Norplants of the 1980s/earsly 1990s). If your household can prove it is stable and worthwhile and can feed another person you can petition for and be granted a banner to allow someone in that household to get pregnant. To remove the implant without permission and have an illegal pregnancy is a serious crime, but they deal with it humanely. (They may grant the banner retroactively or send the pregnant mother to another household - nothing bad happens to mother or child.)As the human population is carefully tended, so are the fields. It is just as serious an offense to plant in a field that is supposed to be kept fallow for a while.It's an interesting society, and it works pretty well in the book. Enid and her partner are called in to investigate the mysterious death of a town handyman. This is the first book in a series, so I'm curious where she will go from here. I loved the Kitty Norville (Kitty the werewolf) series and I am fond of Vaughn's other books as well. (Note to self: you need to read her Martians Abroad book still.) At this point, I don't love it as much as the Kitty and Golden Age books, but it was interesting, and I will definitely buy the next.
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  • Jenny
    June 14, 2017
    The dystopic world was pretty interesting. The concept of earning a banner to have children made sense as a way of giving people something to strive for and ensuring that they would have enough resources to feed the new addition in a world with limited resources. And the way households are formed and so on. And with some traveling in the book, it gave a really good overview of life and the feel of various towns and how they were the same and different from each other, and how their locations inf The dystopic world was pretty interesting. The concept of earning a banner to have children made sense as a way of giving people something to strive for and ensuring that they would have enough resources to feed the new addition in a world with limited resources. And the way households are formed and so on. And with some traveling in the book, it gave a really good overview of life and the feel of various towns and how they were the same and different from each other, and how their locations influenced their lives. I also liked having the main character, Enid, be an investigator. It was depicted as a job where others were afraid of them once they donned the uniform but the job was also a necessary and important one. Like cops. Investigators have a tough job, and it's also important that they're caring and have the good of society in mind. There's a case to solve which I thought would be more exciting to read about, but in the end it seemed like a more tangential part of the story, only there to highlight what an investigator does and give an excuse for Enid and Tomas to go to another town. I wasn't made to care enough about the victim, and the findings, while it made sense and I was glad it got solved, I wound up not really caring about either.The book also felt really slow-paced to me, so it definitely wasn't a pageturner. What motivated me to read was just exploring the world more and also once a mystery presents itself, I do want to see it solved. Also, I'd read other Carrie Vaughn books which I've liked. I'm not sure if this is a standalone novel or if it'll be the first in a series. I'd be willing to see Enid investigate something else to give it another shot but if I wind up feeling the same about a second book as I did about this one, I'd probably stop there.Thanks to NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Carrie Vaughn for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. :o)
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  • Tonya
    May 26, 2017
    I got this book as part of my membership with NetGalley primarily because I'm a big fan of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from its description, except it sounded like an interesting premise. It's speculative fiction in the sense that it takes the world we live in apart by degrees and then wholesale. It's post post-apocalyptic in a way I've never seen depicted before: everything had been destroyed a long time ago, and things had finally normalized. Ho I got this book as part of my membership with NetGalley primarily because I'm a big fan of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from its description, except it sounded like an interesting premise. It's speculative fiction in the sense that it takes the world we live in apart by degrees and then wholesale. It's post post-apocalyptic in a way I've never seen depicted before: everything had been destroyed a long time ago, and things had finally normalized. How the protagonist finds her way in the new normal, anchored by some knowledge of the past, makes for a fascinating journey.My response at the end of it. "Wow."The crescendo of of battering storms that punctuate the narrative was much more than the atavistic response it generated in the reader and in the characters who had to weather it. It was a leitmotif summed up in two sentances that punched me in the gut: "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."This book was a departure from the style I'd come to know and love in the Kitty Norville series, but the fast patter of dialogue appropriate there would have undermined the more subtle transformations of this story. It ventures into a literary style that Vaughn has made her own, but is as far removed from the PNR tropes she's played with previously as is possible. And yet the theme of growing up, learning your place in an imperfect world are as strong and impactful as ever.For anyone who wants to straddle speculative fiction and fiction, this is about as gentle an introduction as I could recommend. And I would strongly recommend it to anyone who's willing to consider how society's received wisdom spills into their judgments and decisions. The writing is engrossing and definitely worth a read.
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  • Jenny Lynn
    May 31, 2017
    This was a very interesting read. I went into it knowing very little about the story and world of the book (because I hadn't read the synopsis in forever and wanted to come into it and be surprised) and I liked the sort of post-dystopian world Vaughn created here. There's still struggle and hardship, but the people of the Coast Road have settled in to make life as good and as fair as they can. I liked that it was sort of a frontier-type story but still futuristic, though the only real bits of fu This was a very interesting read. I went into it knowing very little about the story and world of the book (because I hadn't read the synopsis in forever and wanted to come into it and be surprised) and I liked the sort of post-dystopian world Vaughn created here. There's still struggle and hardship, but the people of the Coast Road have settled in to make life as good and as fair as they can. I liked that it was sort of a frontier-type story but still futuristic, though the only real bits of future tech they had were the implants and solar cars. I loved the juxtaposition of the mystery behind their investigation into Pasadan with Enid's early travels with Dak along the Coast Road; it was nice to see how she'd come to be the person she is in the current narrative slowly throughout the story, and provided a nice mystery in itself as I tried to figure out what exactly had driven her and Dak apart. The idea of the Banners was the most dystopian element of the story but it made sense to an extent given how their society worked and how they were so keen on not letting another situation happen that led to the Fall in years past (overpopulation, lack of resources, etc.), even though it kinda made me feel icky to mostly side with the idea. I was surprised by some of the turns of the story but in the end I liked how Enid was able to figure things out despite all the extenuating circumstances. I definitely wouldn't mind reading more about the people up and down the Coast Road. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Theresa
    June 27, 2017
    Bannerless (Paperback) by Carrie Vaughn Carrie Vaughn is the master of apocalyptic worlds. This story like many of her others is written to show human nature. When the end comes it is not a bang or a whimper but how events will change your personal life. The Change in other places will be sad, islands swallowed by the sea on the other side of the world is part of life. The storms and economic problems affect our everyday life. In the end it's the personal tragedy that changes our world. It is th Bannerless (Paperback) by Carrie Vaughn Carrie Vaughn is the master of apocalyptic worlds. This story like many of her others is written to show human nature. When the end comes it is not a bang or a whimper but how events will change your personal life. The Change in other places will be sad, islands swallowed by the sea on the other side of the world is part of life. The storms and economic problems affect our everyday life. In the end it's the personal tragedy that changes our world. It is the personal apocalyps that makes it become the end of days. Yet, mankind will go on, in a different fashion, hopefully with more control, looking at the group not the individual. Bannerless looks at the value of the personal responsibility, to yourself, to your offspring, to your community and those that surround you, in the end to the world in general. Life will give you lessons, life will give you storms, and life will give you love, it's what you do with it that makes it worth living. A great book for comparison to other apocalyptic stories. A contrast to how things will end how they will affect the individual and like Ayn Rand, this book speaks volume of human nature, and what we have is what we make of it. I can see this book in the middle school classroom, discussed and analyzed. Looking at the nature of responsibility, the nature of assumption, and the value of the individual. This book speaks volumes of social engineering, but also great for expressing the reason for bully proofing, and how we can really make social change. Thank you Carrie Vaughn for giving teachers the stories we need to teach.
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  • Jes
    July 16, 2017
    Half murder mystery and half dystopian coming of age story, Vaughn manages to write a compelling who-dun-it while sketching out an entire post-apocalyptic world. At the center of Bannerless is The Coast Road communities, a bucolic seeming utopia built after 'The Fall' of the modern world. This is a society where everyone works for their place and views themselves as caretakers of resources for the next generations. It isn't until protagonist Enid's story begins to unfold, both in the present and Half murder mystery and half dystopian coming of age story, Vaughn manages to write a compelling who-dun-it while sketching out an entire post-apocalyptic world. At the center of Bannerless is The Coast Road communities, a bucolic seeming utopia built after 'The Fall' of the modern world. This is a society where everyone works for their place and views themselves as caretakers of resources for the next generations. It isn't until protagonist Enid's story begins to unfold, both in the present and her wanderer past, that the unsettling foundations of this new society begin to poke through. Enid of the present is a brown tunic'd investigator sent into a text book perfect town to investigate a possible murder. Despite claims that no one liked the deceased or talked to him, it's obvious the town is nervous about something and it just might shatter their future. Enid of the past is a directionless young woman who seizes on an invitation to travel from a young troubadour she's fallen for. As they travel the coast road, it becomes clear that this utopian life isn't everything it seems to be. Through alternating chapters, Vaughn uses Enid's past to inform her present, and helps to deepen the reader's understanding of the their world along the way without heaps of exposition. Bannerless is a great pick for a summer afternoon read - compelling, interesting, and surprisingly bright despite it's themes.Disclosure: This review is based on an ebook version of the memoir provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through Netgalley.
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  • Lindsey
    July 5, 2017
    **I received an electronic ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review. Thanks NetGalley!** Review Below:Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn is set in a future post-apocalyptic world, after the "fall." In this world communities must follow strict rules in order to make sure that resources are not over-used. Population control is among those rules that must be followed by members of each community. In order to keep birth rates at a reasonable level, all women are fitted with a birth control **I received an electronic ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review. Thanks NetGalley!** Review Below:Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn is set in a future post-apocalyptic world, after the "fall." In this world communities must follow strict rules in order to make sure that resources are not over-used. Population control is among those rules that must be followed by members of each community. In order to keep birth rates at a reasonable level, all women are fitted with a birth control implant at puberty. Households are only allowed to bear children after they have earned a "banner," by proving that every member of their household is a highly productive and law-abiding citizen.The main character of this novel is Enid, an investigator into all manner of crimes and offenses. Her and her (work) partner, Tom, are tasked with solving a death in the town of Pasadan. As the two work to solve the mystery surrounding the death, Enid encounters a former lover, Dak, and endures the painful loss of someone close to her. The main story-line is broken up by flashback sections about Enid and her former lover.I was more interested in this post-apocalyptic world, and less interested in the murder. The writing was at times a bit clunky, especially in the opening sections of the novel. Overall, I enjoyed the setting and ideas that comprised this novel, but was not all that enthralled by the mystery that took place in this world.
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  • Jennifer Jamieson
    May 30, 2017
    Enid of Haven is an investigator. She's called to investigate a murder at a town further down the coast road, and she's to lead the investigation assisted by a member of her household. The trip to the village brings up a lot of old memories of how she got to where she is, and how far she's come.Bannerless is a post apocalyptic mystery that takes place several generations after a series of events have caused the breakdown of modern society as we know it. Most advanced technologies, knowledge and Enid of Haven is an investigator. She's called to investigate a murder at a town further down the coast road, and she's to lead the investigation assisted by a member of her household. The trip to the village brings up a lot of old memories of how she got to where she is, and how far she's come.Bannerless is a post apocalyptic mystery that takes place several generations after a series of events have caused the breakdown of modern society as we know it. Most advanced technologies, knowledge and techniques have been lost. Enid has to conduct an investigation much in the manner of investigators of the past, relying on instinct, logic, reasoning and interviews.There's also marked changes in people's attitudes toward productivity and reproduction. People are expected to think ahead and consider impacts years down the road--such as farming to preserve the productivity of fields for years, and not over farming to preserve the same. There's a strong theme of contribution, and reproduction is a privilege that is awarded to people who contribute to their homes and communities in measurable ways.Enid is an interesting character and the concept is one that's easy to get drawn into. The characters are all engaging, and the story is inventive. I look forward to seeing where this new series goes.
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  • Anissa
    May 27, 2017
    I read a short story entitled Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn in the anthology, The End Has Come (The Apocalypse Tiptych #3) and very much enjoyed it (read in February 2016). I'd completely forgotten about it when I saw Bannerless up for review on Netgalley, it seemed like something I'd love to read so I jumped on it. It wasn't until I read the first chapter that it dawned on me that I had been introduced to this world before.I very much enjoyed this trek through Enid, the investigator's, world. The I read a short story entitled Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn in the anthology, The End Has Come (The Apocalypse Tiptych #3) and very much enjoyed it (read in February 2016). I'd completely forgotten about it when I saw Bannerless up for review on Netgalley, it seemed like something I'd love to read so I jumped on it. It wasn't until I read the first chapter that it dawned on me that I had been introduced to this world before.I very much enjoyed this trek through Enid, the investigator's, world. They mystery of what's happened to Sero at the Bounty homestead was very interesting and what I enjoyed most about this story. The flashback chapters to Enid's earlier life right before she becomes an investigator were interesting in fleshing out her character and explaining her past with Dak. They also gave a look at life outside of the homesteads and in the city ruins with people living outside of the order of things. I wanted a bit more of the politics and wider structure of the world but didn't mind that most everything felt very local. I also wondered how they kept an unlimited supply of intramuscular birth control this far out from the Fall especially as all their other medical supplies were more rudimentary. What I liked most about this story was that it posed questions about what's good for a civilized society versus the individual; a household versus a community; a family versus all others. Also the age old question "Who is my neighbor?" and who is worth caring about. I loved that though Sero was not in fact, Bannerless (unbeknownst to the people around him), Enid never presented that information as though it made him worthy of being cared about. He was worth being cared about because he was a person and part of a community. I also quite enjoyed Enid's relationship with Tomas. I'd read another in Enid's world happily and definitely recommend this for fans of post-apocalyptic books.I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my unbiased opinions & thoughts on the work.
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  • Penny Noble
    July 8, 2017
    I am a big fan of Ms. Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series and will read everything the author writes just because of that series. And, I am always excited to see a new series written by the author. To be honest upfront, I have never been a big fan of dystopian novels, and I almost didn’t read this book because of that. However, as I said, I will read anything Ms. Vaughn writes. What I did find about this book was that it had an interesting concept, great writing, and very interesting characters, just I am a big fan of Ms. Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series and will read everything the author writes just because of that series. And, I am always excited to see a new series written by the author. To be honest upfront, I have never been a big fan of dystopian novels, and I almost didn’t read this book because of that. However, as I said, I will read anything Ms. Vaughn writes. What I did find about this book was that it had an interesting concept, great writing, and very interesting characters, just what I would expect from the author. We see what could happen in the future if we’re not careful, but we aren’t beat over the head about it. And, what’s nice is the hope that the people have even after everything has changed. One thing I have to warn about is how long it takes to get to the heart of things. This story is slow-paced, but not in a bad way. The book is slow in revealing things, but the author does a great job at it. I do have to admit that I didn’t like the skipping back and forth between time-frames, and thought the mystery could have been a little bit better, but that those two things are minor. All-in-all, however, this was a great book. Highly recommend! Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the e-copy of the book which I voluntarily reviewed.
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  • Kim
    July 5, 2017
    Chose this as part of a reading challenge to read a book by a female author that I have never ready anything by. Carrie Vaughn writes beautifully and I found this story moving, emotional and enthralling. Not your typical "after the [big event] changed the world forever" type story. I found the character of Enid very complex, and it was great to read about such a strong female lead. In the story we are introduced to a society that has rebuilt itself after a major event. Modern life as we know it Chose this as part of a reading challenge to read a book by a female author that I have never ready anything by. Carrie Vaughn writes beautifully and I found this story moving, emotional and enthralling. Not your typical "after the [big event] changed the world forever" type story. I found the character of Enid very complex, and it was great to read about such a strong female lead. In the story we are introduced to a society that has rebuilt itself after a major event. Modern life as we know it is gone. Implants are mandatory after a girl starts menstruating so as to control population. Births are only allowed when households have acquired a banner. Bannerless pregnancies are not allowed. Enid works as an investigator and Bannerless is told both in her present day when she is investigating a potential murder in a nearby town and in her past before she became an investigator and while she is still young and filled with hope. Murders are rare in this time, so how does she end up investigating a potential murder?The story is woven very well and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
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  • Laurie
    July 16, 2017
    Carrie Vaughn is one of my favorite authors and I love her newest book. The story takes place in the future where most of humanity has been lost to disease, famine and various natural disasters. Unlike most post-apocalyptic stories the downfall of humans isn't the main focus. People have come together to form a network of communities that trade and share resources so no one has to go without. One community has an unexplained death that calls for an investigation. Enid and her partner Tomas are s Carrie Vaughn is one of my favorite authors and I love her newest book. The story takes place in the future where most of humanity has been lost to disease, famine and various natural disasters. Unlike most post-apocalyptic stories the downfall of humans isn't the main focus. People have come together to form a network of communities that trade and share resources so no one has to go without. One community has an unexplained death that calls for an investigation. Enid and her partner Tomas are sent to find out what happened. Through Enid we learn about her childhood and what brought her to become an investigator as well as watch her solve a murder. This is not your typical apocalyptic story. There is mystery, sadness, love and hope. Enid watches people come together to help and love their neighbors and community as well as learn that there is still greed and selfishness in the world despite all that humanity has been through. Beautiful book!
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  • Viva
    July 1, 2017
    1 star = I did not like it.So I started reading this book but I couldn't get a feel as to where/when the setting was. I turn to the back of the book and realize it's a post apocalyptic book. I look to see if I'm missing a prologue but there isn't one. I go back to reading but get the feeling that it's part of a series and I'm missing the earlier books which explains everything. I re-read the back of the book carefully again to get an idea of the context and go back to the book. I conclude that i 1 star = I did not like it.So I started reading this book but I couldn't get a feel as to where/when the setting was. I turn to the back of the book and realize it's a post apocalyptic book. I look to see if I'm missing a prologue but there isn't one. I go back to reading but get the feeling that it's part of a series and I'm missing the earlier books which explains everything. I re-read the back of the book carefully again to get an idea of the context and go back to the book. I conclude that it's just the way it's written. It doesn't help that the chapters go back and forth in time. Basically you just have to put your faith in the author that everything will be explained eventually in good time but the characters are flat and the writing wordy. Overall, I found this book extremely difficult to get into and didn't enjoy it. I got this book as a free ARC.
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  • Alicia
    June 18, 2017
    http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2017/06...Vaughn's latest (after the Kitty Norville books, the Golden Age books, and a ton of other books) is a POST-APOCALYPTIC MURDER MYSTERY. Oh boy, you betcha I am here for this. Really interesting world-building in a semi-far-future California, with a woman who serves as an investigator asked to look into a suspicious death. The world-building and the characters are more interesting than the mystery, but I was certainly fine with that, as they are VERY interes http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2017/06...Vaughn's latest (after the Kitty Norville books, the Golden Age books, and a ton of other books) is a POST-APOCALYPTIC MURDER MYSTERY. Oh boy, you betcha I am here for this. Really interesting world-building in a semi-far-future California, with a woman who serves as an investigator asked to look into a suspicious death. The world-building and the characters are more interesting than the mystery, but I was certainly fine with that, as they are VERY interesting. It looks like this is the start of a series and I look forward to seeing what else will happen in this world. A-.__A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released on July 11th.
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