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The Wild Dead

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Mysteries and murder abound in the sequel to the Philip K. Dick Award–winning Bannerless   A century after environmental and economic collapse, the people of the Coast Road have rebuilt their own sort of civilization, striving not to make the mistakes their ancestors did. They strictly ration and manage resources, including the ability to have children. Enid of Haven is an Mysteries and murder abound in the sequel to the Philip K. Dick Award–winning Bannerless   A century after environmental and economic collapse, the people of the Coast Road have rebuilt their own sort of civilization, striving not to make the mistakes their ancestors did. They strictly ration and manage resources, including the ability to have children. Enid of Haven is an investigator, who with her new partner, Teeg, is called on to mediate a dispute over an old building in a far-flung settlement at the edge of Coast Road territory. The investigators’ decision seems straightforward — and then the body of a young woman turns up in the nearby marshland. Almost more shocking than that, she’s not from the Coast Road, but from one of the outsider camps belonging to the nomads and wild folk who live outside the Coast Road communities. Now one of them is dead, and Enid wants to find out who killed her, even as Teeg argues that the murder isn’t their problem. In a dystopian future of isolated communities, can our moral sense survive the worst hard times?


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Mysteries and murder abound in the sequel to the Philip K. Dick Award–winning Bannerless   A century after environmental and economic collapse, the people of the Coast Road have rebuilt their own sort of civilization, striving not to make the mistakes their ancestors did. They strictly ration and manage resources, including the ability to have children. Enid of Haven is an Mysteries and murder abound in the sequel to the Philip K. Dick Award–winning Bannerless   A century after environmental and economic collapse, the people of the Coast Road have rebuilt their own sort of civilization, striving not to make the mistakes their ancestors did. They strictly ration and manage resources, including the ability to have children. Enid of Haven is an investigator, who with her new partner, Teeg, is called on to mediate a dispute over an old building in a far-flung settlement at the edge of Coast Road territory. The investigators’ decision seems straightforward — and then the body of a young woman turns up in the nearby marshland. Almost more shocking than that, she’s not from the Coast Road, but from one of the outsider camps belonging to the nomads and wild folk who live outside the Coast Road communities. Now one of them is dead, and Enid wants to find out who killed her, even as Teeg argues that the murder isn’t their problem. In a dystopian future of isolated communities, can our moral sense survive the worst hard times?

30 review for The Wild Dead

  1. 3 out of 5

    Carol.

    The one-minute review: There’s loads of descriptions and reviews out there about this book, which surrounds solving a murder in an isolated community. The setting is a post-Fall world with limited resources, which is what ultimately elevates it above the average cozy mystery for me. Characterization is solid, although the description of just how tired Enid is had me exhausted by the end of the book. Although I found the world vaguely intriguing, it lacked the character connection or plotting that The one-minute review: There’s loads of descriptions and reviews out there about this book, which surrounds solving a murder in an isolated community. The setting is a post-Fall world with limited resources, which is what ultimately elevates it above the average cozy mystery for me. Characterization is solid, although the description of just how tired Enid is had me exhausted by the end of the book. Although I found the world vaguely intriguing, it lacked the character connection or plotting that could have made it unquestionably four stars. I was supremely unsurprised by the murder; my only surprises were the behavior of Enid’s co-Investigator who is fresh out of training and the community dilemma of the falling-down house. Vaughn’s writing has definitely improved since I last read her ‘Kitty the Werewolf’ books, but she’s almost too good at it this time: everything about this book is pensive and melancholic. While I enjoyed skill in the writing, I experienced the same kind of feel that endlessly unpleasant weather brings. Opening page: “Most regions Enid visited, she could find something to love about them, some enticing and beautiful detail about the landscape, the people, the mood of the place. A reason fold would want to stay and scrape out a living in less-than-ideal situations when a dozen other settlements had more resources and less disease, and would gladly welcome extra hands. Even the rainless, baking salt flats at the southernmost end of the Coast Road had isolation to recommend them, for those who wanted to be left alone. And just to show that every place had a reason for existing, the people of Desolata household there exported the sold they collected form the flats on their own trade route. But here in the Estuary, Enid had to consider for a while what exactly the appeal was. Over the damp marsh where the San Joe River drained, clouds of bugs rose up through a sticky haze, shimmering with heat. Squealing gulls gathered, circling on slender wings, drawn by some rotting treasure. There were no orchards here, no pastures, no rippling fields of grain.” Okay, maybe a five-minute review. Three-and-a-half stars, rounding down because I think it's too gloomy for a re-read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    No spoilers! But this is a better kind of mystery novel. One that's simultaneously post-apocalyptic SF and a hopeful social experiment and a thoughtful quest to *understand* in the middle of an ongoing pastoral murder investigation. Wait! Isn't this what happened in the previous novel? Well, sure, somewhat, but no two murders or struggling communities are the same. The world-building here is pretty cool. So much has been lost, but solar cars and sophisticated birth control is a sign of the kind o No spoilers! But this is a better kind of mystery novel. One that's simultaneously post-apocalyptic SF and a hopeful social experiment and a thoughtful quest to *understand* in the middle of an ongoing pastoral murder investigation. Wait! Isn't this what happened in the previous novel? Well, sure, somewhat, but no two murders or struggling communities are the same. The world-building here is pretty cool. So much has been lost, but solar cars and sophisticated birth control is a sign of the kind of social setup that's left to these frontier settlers. To have a banner is to be allowed to procreate. To have enough to live on is more so much more important than to hoard or amass anything at all. And below that is the fear. The fear that they might herald in another Fall. But it's not all dark. This is some of the most hopeful post-apocalypse novels I've read and the good mashup with deep murder investigations reminds me more of The Name of the Rose than anything else. This particular novel introduces us to the people on the outside of these hopeful Banner communities, and I was particularly fascinated by the interplay and the lies and the reveals on both sides. I think I may have enjoyed this one better than the first, too! :) Well worth checking out!

  3. 3 out of 5

    Gary

    Originally posted at https://1000yearplan.com/2018/07/20/t... The Coast Road is a post-dystopian meritocracy where groups of people form households, and each household must be issued a “banner” in order to have a child. Earning a banner is no easy task: the household must prove itself to be both productive and sustainable in the long term. At the start of The Wild Dead, Investigators Enid and Teeg are at the Estuary – a town far on the outskirts of the Coast Road where few banners are earned – to Originally posted at https://1000yearplan.com/2018/07/20/t... The Coast Road is a post-dystopian meritocracy where groups of people form households, and each household must be issued a “banner” in order to have a child. Earning a banner is no easy task: the household must prove itself to be both productive and sustainable in the long term. At the start of The Wild Dead, Investigators Enid and Teeg are at the Estuary – a town far on the outskirts of the Coast Road where few banners are earned – to mediate a simple civil dispute, when a body washes up on the banks of the river. The young woman’s throat had been cut, making murder the only probable cause. Murder is rare on the Coast Road, though Enid is one of the few Investigators to have solved one. The dead woman did not belong to any of the households in the Estuary, and at first the locals refuse to admit they even know who she is. Eventually, Enid discovers the young woman is from a group of wild folk who live upriver, who sometimes come to the Estuary to trade with Last House. Last House is something of a disgraced household, unable to earn a banner because they took a woman named Neeve under their roof, who was convicted of tampering with her birth control implant as a teenager. It becomes clear to Enid that Last House is hiding something, but does that mean they are responsible for the girl’s murder? The Wild Dead is Vaughn’s standalone sequel to last year’s Bannerless, and like that novel, the murder mystery in The Wild Dead is not its best feature. That’s a strange thing to say about a book I enjoyed as much as this one, but it’s true – the plot works well enough, but its one of those mysteries where the reader keeps figuring out where the clues lead well before the characters in the book catch up. This can be a little frustrating, and for a lot of readers it sours the experience. Vaughn’s strengths as a writer lie in her ability to guide readers through an immersive experience. These are quest novels: In Bannerless, we followed Enid’s transition from impetuous youth to purposeful civil servant, and in The Wild Dead Enid must journey far outside the relative safety of the Coast Road and into the harsh wilds where the outsiders dwell, to learn the truth about Neeve and the dead girl whose murder she can’t even establish a clear motive for. Enid is a true believer in the rule of law but is also deeply concerned with fairness and empathy. Teeg, her newly assigned partner, prefers to stick the blame on the most likely culprit and move on. The Wild Dead offers a more acute illustration of the tenuous social contract that maintains order on the Coast Road. Absent the willingness of people like Enid to look past initial prejudices, and to put her own health and safety at risk to unmask the truth, how stable can the loose governing authority of the Coast Road be? All it takes is one Teeg to administer inequitable rulings or abuse his authority for the sake of convenience or personal gain, for resentments among the citizenry to gather and stir. The Wild Dead gets readers invested in the world it represents: the landscape, the culture, the concerns and struggles of the people who inhabit it. I eagerly anticipate the next volume in the series. Thanks to Edelweiss and John Joseph Adams Books for the opportunity to read this ARC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi dystopian murder mystery eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. While I try to post no spoilers, if ye haven’t read the first book then ye might want to skip this post. If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . . This be the 5th book in me e-Arc Extravaganza Challenge wherein I had to read all 5 books before their July 17th release dates. Challenge complete! Arrr! I previously read and was Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi dystopian murder mystery eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. While I try to post no spoilers, if ye haven’t read the first book then ye might want to skip this post. If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . . This be the 5th book in me e-Arc Extravaganza Challenge wherein I had to read all 5 books before their July 17th release dates. Challenge complete! Arrr! I previously read and was absolutely enthralled by the first book. This one was great too! Both stories are 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, to arbitrating disputes, or in this case, doing a property inspection to see if the town should repair it. Teeg is in charge of his first mission and Enid is there to mentor him. What is a fairly simple assignment becomes much more difficult when a dead body turns up. And it is certainly murder. Can the two investigators find the killer? Or should they just leave it alone? The first story was structured around Enid’s life both past and present with the murder being only part of the story. The murder mystery is at the forefront of book two and the majority of the story takes place in the present. Enid uses many of her experiences from the previous murder investigation to help her outlook in this one. Teeg is her foil in the case. Enid struggles to find her balance in her dual roles of investigator and teacher. As in the first book, the murder mystery was less interesting to me than the settlement set-up in the far reaches of the territory. I loved the marshland setting. I loved getting to see more of the people who live in the Wild. I loved the continuing explorations of the bigger issues of society such as resources, the roles and expectations of various types of outsiders, and the ideas of truth and justice. I loved watching Enid’s investigative techniques. The author manages another book where there is an overall optimistic outlook in the aftermath of a dystopia. I would love to have Enid on me crew. I would also love another book in the series either about Enid or a companion novel about another settlement along the Coast Road. Give me more! Arrrr! So lastly . . . Thank you John Joseph Adams / Mariner Books! Side note: There be another story set in this world! It is called “Where Would You Be Now” and is listed as book 0.5. I must read it. Arrr! Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Danielle N

    This review can also be found on the Books, Vertigo & Tea. My Thoughts I actually requested The Wild Dead not realizing it was a sequel. This worked in my favor, however, as I immediately picked up and savored the unique post-apocalyptic mystery that is Bannerless(<– start here). My experience with the sequel was one very familiar to its predecessor but somehow even more gratifying. The skinny.. The Wild Dead continues life on the Coast Road with Enid after she has returned home to Haven (I a This review can also be found on the Books, Vertigo & Tea. My Thoughts I actually requested The Wild Dead not realizing it was a sequel. This worked in my favor, however, as I immediately picked up and savored the unique post-apocalyptic mystery that is Bannerless(<– start here). My experience with the sequel was one very familiar to its predecessor but somehow even more gratifying. The skinny.. The Wild Dead continues life on the Coast Road with Enid after she has returned home to Haven (I am omitting a description of the setting as I recommend reading Bannerless first, and if you have then you are familiar). She has recently solved her first murder case and her home is now expecting their first child. When she is called to an investigation with her new partner Teeg to help settle a dispute in a small settlement, another body surfaces. This time it belongs to a young female, an outsider. Teeg is convinced that this is not their case to solve, but Enid sets out to find answers. “They shifted from investigating one structure at one household to investigating the whole community. This was like expecting a drizzle and getting a typhoon.” What I appreciated.. Vaughn continues to deliver readers a solid mystery in what I can best describe as her own signature style. She serves the post-apocalyptic setting distinctively with the absence of grotesque monsters or beasts but still explores humanity and civilization to rewarding depths. The frontier setting strips away many of the familiar comforts and luxuries we have come to know, immersing the reader into a world that has regressed but not without a retained culture and sense of refinement. Coast Road residents have fought to hold onto certain commodities and materials, and Vaughn successfully tackles the implementation of each (i.e. birth control, vaccines) into this new life. Enid’s character growth is a slow and steady process that evolves at an appropriate and viable pace for the plot and setting. We find her as we would expect her, making the same decisions we have come to anticipate. However, there is also a newfound strength and courage that seems to drive her and for that, she is perhaps even more admirable and memorable. Vaughn’s writing remains succinct and effective, creating a fluid pace that while not fast does succeed in an effortless read. “Starting a brand-new house can be an adventure. Even when you’re picking up the pieces of an old one.” Challenges some may encounter.. This is a murder mystery, a true whodunnit it at its heart. If you are expecting a high action dystopian story, you will not find it nor the usual sci-fi elements here. There are small moments of graphic material in terms of the actual victim and the topic of miscarriage if briefly discussed. The Bannerless Saga is a refreshing twist on one of my favorite genres, dystopia. It offers readers something unique in the promise of hope after an economic and environmental collapse. Vaughn dares to explore a positive outcome that shows mankind learning to thrive and live again as a civilization. Enid is a beautiful example of that realization and one that I hope we will see again. *I would like to thank Mariner Books & Edelweiss for this advanced copy. The quotes included above are from the advanced copy and subject to change. This review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion. ☕Enjoy this unique whodunnit dystopian read with your favorite mint green tea.☕

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    I adored "Bannerless" when it came out last July so when this popped up I quickly requested an ARC to read and review. "The Wild Dead" is the second in the exciting Bannerless series, I am not surprised that "Bannerless" won the Philip K. Dick award and predict good things for this sequel. I would say that in order to get the best out of this book you really need to have read the series opener. That way you are privy to the characters development and background which always helps in increasing y I adored "Bannerless" when it came out last July so when this popped up I quickly requested an ARC to read and review. "The Wild Dead" is the second in the exciting Bannerless series, I am not surprised that "Bannerless" won the Philip K. Dick award and predict good things for this sequel. I would say that in order to get the best out of this book you really need to have read the series opener. That way you are privy to the characters development and background which always helps in increasing your enjoyment of a story. That said, I do think that this would work as a standalone too. "The Wild Dead" is well-crafted and plotted to perfection with a pace to it that propels you through to the end in record time. I found this super-difficult to put down as I wanted to know what the conclusion would be. I enjoyed catching up with Enid when she's called to what appears to be a simple property dispute but turns into a murder investigation as the body of a young woman is found. Teeg, Enid's partner, wants to leave well alone but Enid feels she has a duty to investigate and to get to the bottom of the matter. They soon realise that the body belongs to a woman who to them is an outsider and does not belong to their community. Enid is a tenacious and brave main character that I hope to see more of in the next book. Vaughn's post-apocalyptic/dystopian world is unlike anything i've read before from the science fiction genre. This is such a unique tale - a murder mystery that takes place in a dystopian world where there are no real rules making it a challenging environment in which to live. The most important thing is that it actually works and Vaughn pulls it off easily. A thought-provoking read that will stay with me for a long time, I also appreciate that this book deals with some deeper topics such as feminism and morality so it is not just a throwaway story, it has deeper meaning behind it. Definitely an author to add to my favourites. I look forward to the next book and returning to this original world. A worthy five-star read! Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books for an ARC. I was not required to post a review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  7. 3 out of 5

    okaylib

    I think the word that best describes this book is “dece”. It’s a decent story with decent characters following a decent mystery in a decent setting. But compared to a lot of the ARCs I’ve been reviewing recently… damn this was a fucking amazing breath of fresh air. Brilliant fucking story with superb fucking characters following a fucking thrilling as fuck mystery in a fucking cool ass setting. Honestly. I hope that puts my previous struggle in perspective for you. Anyway, back to what you actual I think the word that best describes this book is “dece”. It’s a decent story with decent characters following a decent mystery in a decent setting. But compared to a lot of the ARCs I’ve been reviewing recently… damn this was a fucking amazing breath of fresh air. Brilliant fucking story with superb fucking characters following a fucking thrilling as fuck mystery in a fucking cool ass setting. Honestly. I hope that puts my previous struggle in perspective for you. Anyway, back to what you actually came here for. The Wild Dead takes place in a world trying to build itself back up after, as Goodreads puts it, “environmental and economic collapse”. Civilization is Coast Road, a strip of small towns and villages weaving its way around a part of the US. We follow the investigators (aka police aka detective aka general authority figures), Enid and Teeg (but mostly Enid) as the embark on what is supposed to be an easy mission. Supposed to be. It was a simple matter of telling a stupid man to stop being irrationally attached to a crippled old house and just. let. it. go. bud. But quickly turned into the murder investigation of a young woman named Ella*. *I only mention her name because it’s so beautiful. I’m in love with it. The entire time I was reading The Wild Dead, I honestly had no idea it was the second book in a series. Probably because I’m a fucking idiot. Or because it does work well as a standalone novel. Or both. I think the fact that I didn’t realize this attests to the fact that you don’t need to read the first one (Bannerless) although I’m sure that it might add another layer to the story and Enid’s character. The events—or at least the events that I assume took place in Bannerless—are alluded to a fair amount of times over the course of The Wild Dead but enough context was given that I though Vaughn was just building up backstory rather than reflecting on literally an entire novel that I missed. I hate myself. Review Vaughn builds a simple yet intriguing world, where technology is just beginning to regain its footing and resources are strictly monitored and rationed. She develops it through the major workings of civilization, details of everyday life, and how characters behave and interact with each other. I liked how she created Coast Road as a place that slowly comes to life in the minds eye as you read the novel rather than taking a massive, steaming infodump right at the beginning. The mystery itself is actually good, which, as I’m sure most of you would agree, is a fairly important aspect of a mystery novel. For a lot of the book I had no idea who was the culprit, it could have been every one of them but also didn’t seem like it was any one of them. I felt as though I was in the same shoes as Enid. Particularly when an important piece of information is reveal but not outright said. Enid knows who did it, I know who did it, and I was reading along waiting for Enid to spill the beans to everyone else. A unique and great use of suspense and anticipation. I like the main character, Enid. She has a smart head on her shoulders and is overall well rounded. The dynamic she has with her partner, Teeg, is also well done. They disagree with each other on a lot of the main aspects of the investigation and this becomes an interesting side plot within the main narrative arc. The relationship that’s built between the investigators and the townsfolk is interesting as well. Vaughn plays with themes of authority and power structure in a way that is relevant to the present day but also makes sense in the world she has built. I found that she was able to combine aspects of group think with individual perception in balanced and realistic way. Another relationship that Vaughn built up was that between the townsfolk of Coast Road and the “outsiders”. Each lived isolated from the other and each held their own bias against the other. It was an interesting take on the “us vs them” paradigm. This is where I get critical Vaughn writing style isn’t anything special. She describes what needs to be described and tells what needs to be told. It’s not flowery or distracting and it works. However, in the last half of the novel I noticed a change in the style of syntax. It might have occurred earlier on but I only picked up on it a little after the halfway point. Some sentences were structured to have words missing. For example, instead of saying “She walked to the bar” it would be worded as “Walked to the bar.” In context it still makes sense but it was a little jarring and didn’t flow very well. I’m not quite sure why this happened or how it slipped past the editors, but I found it was not quite to my taste. Because I read an ARC of this it may be (hopefully) fixed when the book is fully released. I found Teeg to be immature and one sided. He’s the typical rookie who is too strong willed and fiery and doesn’t really know what he’s doing. But despite the fact that his character is largely built upon negative traits he still manages to be fairly realistic. Although I do think that he could have been developed further for a more authentic and layered characterization. The Wild Dead is a little bit repetitive. Because we’re following a fairly mundane murder mystery where Enid often keeps asking the same questions just to different people in slightly different contexts, the first half of this book was a little bit drawn out. But despite this fact I was never disinterested which was great. There were a few minor inconsistencies in world building and character motivation. Some things either aren’t addressed at all or weren’t fully fleshed out to the point that they were well developed. However, again, I still felt attached enough to the characters and knew enough about the setting that I could fill in small holes that need to be filled with the #powerofimagination. Overall, I liked it. The Wild Dead was good. Read it if you like murder mysteries with a slight twist (the twist being the post-apocalyptic setting). And maybe read the first one first and don’t be an idiot like myself. I probably am not going to go back and read Bannerless, mostly because I’m a lazy son of a bitch. But maybe one day.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Deborah Ross

    I loved Vaughn’s Philip K. Dick Award-winning novel, Bannerless, and eagerly dove into this, its sequel. Vaughn’s vision of an egalitarian, post-collapse world struck me as a welcome and necessary antidote to the commonly portrayed descent into dog-eat-dog chaos. In her world, people worked cooperatively after “The Fall” to select and preserve technology and to establish social structures that promoted communities living in ecological balance, carefully limiting overconsumption/overproduction an I loved Vaughn’s Philip K. Dick Award-winning novel, Bannerless, and eagerly dove into this, its sequel. Vaughn’s vision of an egalitarian, post-collapse world struck me as a welcome and necessary antidote to the commonly portrayed descent into dog-eat-dog chaos. In her world, people worked cooperatively after “The Fall” to select and preserve technology and to establish social structures that promoted communities living in ecological balance, carefully limiting overconsumption/overproduction and birth rate. In other words, the survivors were intelligent about how they went about rebuilding civilization. That’s just the background, the setting, to the murder mysteries in Bannerless and The Wild Dead. Given lots of knowledge but scarce forensic resources due to a generation-ago picking and choosing, how would you go about solving a murder? You know basic chemistry and anatomy, and you have solar power and well-machined instruments, but have no way to analyze DNA, trace evidence, or microscopic kerf marks. When Enid and her apprentice, Teeg, arrive at the Estuary as investigators, this world’s traveling magistrates, their initial task, the one they’ve been requested to adjudicate, pertains to the fate of an old house that’s one of the few relics of “Before” yet is too badly damaged to be easily repairable. As they examine the issue of the house, a body washes up in the river, a young woman of the wild folk who live outside the communities of Coast Road, and it’s up to Enid and Teeg to solve the murder. Without modern forensics or knowledge of the history and social interactions of the Estuary households, yet with a deep moral sense and compassion for this unknown victim, Enid dives into the case. As with Bannerless, Enid’s own intelligence and intuitive understanding of human nature guide her to the unexpected but perfectly prepared result. I can’t praise Vaughn’s work highly enough. The elegance of her prose rises and falls like harmonic waves, from serviceably transparent to downright poetic, enhancing the emotional beats. Even her secondary characters are beautifully depicted. Most of all, I admire her decision to place her unusual murder mysteries in a world that gives me hope for the survival of sanity and kindness. The usual disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book, but no one bribed me to say anything about it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rana

    Look, who's surprised here? This was a detective story set in a post-apocalypse Pacific Northwest. Of course I love this series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn F.

    A dystopian detective is brought to a community to make a decision on a dispute and is dragged into a murder investigation. A little slow going in the beginning but when the plot finally started moving forward it got really good. Another reviewer said they figured out who did it pretty quickly. Not me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    The Bannerless Saga continues - a year after book one "A household came together, worked hard, proved that the members could take care of one another, manage themselves, not waste resources, and then the regional committee would award them a banner." This soft-spoken post-apocalyptic series continues after book one BANNERLESS. Enid is still an investigator and is sent with her new enforcer partner Teeg to settle a building dispute in the Estuary, a small community that doesn't have a committee tha The Bannerless Saga continues - a year after book one "A household came together, worked hard, proved that the members could take care of one another, manage themselves, not waste resources, and then the regional committee would award them a banner." This soft-spoken post-apocalyptic series continues after book one BANNERLESS. Enid is still an investigator and is sent with her new enforcer partner Teeg to settle a building dispute in the Estuary, a small community that doesn't have a committee that would normally handle such mundane matters. They are there just a short time when the body of a murdered young woman is found and Enid and Teeg find themselves with a much bigger investigation than expected. Enid just wants to be back with her own household, which is expecting a baby very soon. And she also finds that working with a new partner is difficult. I loved the first book in this series and loved this one just as much. No monsters except human ones in this series. There are great fully developed characters, a unique storyline, and enough action and turmoil to keep the book moving along. I heartily recommend this series. I received this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books through Edelweiss in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Bowyer

    The Wild Dead, by Carrie Vaughn, is the second book in the Bannerless series. It’s part of a new wave of popular science fiction that, at its core, is about fertility and parenting. A very different kind of post apocalyptic world is imagined by Vaughn, one where people have figured out how to live together in peace with each other and the earth. I love that The Wild Dead is a different kind of imagined future where society is good and peaceful despite external challenges. They saved knowledge of m The Wild Dead, by Carrie Vaughn, is the second book in the Bannerless series. It’s part of a new wave of popular science fiction that, at its core, is about fertility and parenting. A very different kind of post apocalyptic world is imagined by Vaughn, one where people have figured out how to live together in peace with each other and the earth. I love that The Wild Dead is a different kind of imagined future where society is good and peaceful despite external challenges. They saved knowledge of medicine and renewable energy – there are solar cars and solar hot water – but no weapons. Investigators (essentially the police force) carry a wooden staff and tranquiliser patches for defence instead of guns. Even when the murdered woman turns out to be an outsider, this changes very little. Especially in our current-day international climate, the attitude toward outsiders is so refreshing. Taking an interest in the welfare of others is such a core habit of this integrated community that Enid finds it hard to restrain herself while on a case. My absolute favourite line of the whole book is when Enid is challenged about why she even cares to investigate the murder. Why can’t she just leave it alone?: “Because it’s right to care.” Caring is hard and exhausting and sometimes unpleasant. But it’s also rewarding. And it’s right. How nice would it be if we could come to this realisation without needing to go through an apocalypse first?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marta Cox

    This book catches up with Enid after her first murder investigation and also sadly after the death of her much loved mentor. So here she is teamed up with her new rookie partner Teeg on a routine journey to help with a dispute about a building that’s wasting much needed resources. It should be easy, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to mediate, be the bad guy if that’s what it takes and then home just in time for the birth of a new arrival into Enid’s family. Ok I lied , it’s never going t This book catches up with Enid after her first murder investigation and also sadly after the death of her much loved mentor. So here she is teamed up with her new rookie partner Teeg on a routine journey to help with a dispute about a building that’s wasting much needed resources. It should be easy, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to mediate, be the bad guy if that’s what it takes and then home just in time for the birth of a new arrival into Enid’s family. Ok I lied , it’s never going to be that straight forward and Enid finds herself caught between two very different ideologies with a murder to solve ! I could say this series is post apocalyptic, I could say it’s dystopian but what really matters is that it’s a darn good whodunnit with heart. There’s an odd mixture here of back to basics and even some technology although in this book it does feel far more rustic and it’s clear that basic survival fuels everyone’s actions. Civilisation as we know it has been eradicated and this new world rations everything so that it’s fair for all . Law and order doesn’t really exist but there’s a sense of fear that funnily enough keeps most people working in harmony together. So what do they do if they find a body ? Report it or ignore it and hope that the investigators never find out ? Enid and Teeg just happen to stumble right into this situation but Enid isn’t someone to shirk her responsibilities. No she’s curious, brave and wants to find the truth. Perhaps that’s what we all need even if we don’t realise it ? I found this thought provoking and perhaps a little sad that humans could turn away so easily. There is hope here though as Enid embodies so much that makes life worth living and I cannot wait to see where her journey takes her. This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair

  14. 3 out of 5

    Tracett

    This is second in the Bannerless series, and while you could read this as a stand alone, you will miss the world building set up from the first book, as not much is echoed here. However, this is a mystery first and foremost so maybe that world building will not matter so much in enjoying this post apocalyptic sort of a police procedural. You may spot the who-done-it before the story gets to it, but much of the joy in The Wild Dead is following the ethical lines of thought presented by many of it This is second in the Bannerless series, and while you could read this as a stand alone, you will miss the world building set up from the first book, as not much is echoed here. However, this is a mystery first and foremost so maybe that world building will not matter so much in enjoying this post apocalyptic sort of a police procedural. You may spot the who-done-it before the story gets to it, but much of the joy in The Wild Dead is following the ethical lines of thought presented by many of it's characters so that the anticipated ending comes as a relief, not a let-down.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sascha

    4 1/2 So I think Carrie Vaughn’s onto something here. We have mysteries that take place in the past with detectives using limited resources or the steampunk version with little anachronisms tossed in; current mysteries encompassing police procedurals to cozy mysteries. How did Carrie Vaughn know that what we needed was a dystopian mystery series? Last summer I reviewed Bannerless (you can read that review here) and while I loved the world-building, I was less than enamored with the mystery, which 4 1/2 So I think Carrie Vaughn’s onto something here. We have mysteries that take place in the past with detectives using limited resources or the steampunk version with little anachronisms tossed in; current mysteries encompassing police procedurals to cozy mysteries. How did Carrie Vaughn know that what we needed was a dystopian mystery series? Last summer I reviewed Bannerless (you can read that review here) and while I loved the world-building, I was less than enamored with the mystery, which took a back seat. With The Wild Dead, however, it all comes together. In The Wild Dead Vaughn spends a little less time world-building, presuming that we read last year’s Philip K. Dick award-winning Bannerless and understood the environment, and more time creating an atmosphere and mystery. Enid of Haven, whom we met in Bannerless, is a paradoxical combination of an idealistic old soul with an ever-questioning nature. She frequently questions herself and her abilities, misses her mentor Tomas, and believes in truth even at the sake of justice. She is partnered with Teeg and warned that she may need to “rein him in” which becomes evident when he would rather take the easy way, accuse a man without proof, than work to find evidence. While Enid and Teeg have been sent to the Estuary to look into a dispute over whether a house from the before-time should be saved or not, they stumble upon a murdered young woman who turns out to be from the wild area and not their jurisdiction. Enid, believing that it is right and kind to care about the young woman and find her murderer begins her search, which takes her in to the dangerous wild area and back again. I found this novel intriguing on so many novels. Because Enid has very few, if any, forensic tools, she must approach the crime as an old-fashioned detective would. She watches. She puts herself in danger. She asks questions. She pretends. She gets answers. At the same time, I presume, that Enid determined who the murderer was, I did also. And, if I had one complaint about this novel, it would be how that period right before the climax was handled. I felt like there was a hole there, even though I’d figured out “whodoneit.” Maybe it was a pacing issue. Regardless, The Wild Dead is an extremely satisfying novel with good characterization, writing, and a mystery that will keep the reader on their toes. Fans of dystopian novels and mysteries should enjoy this one. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. http://saschadarlington.me/2018/07/13...

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Agranoff

    As the co-host of the recently launched Philip Dick podcast Dickheads I was first clued into this series when the first Coast Road novel Bannerless won the Philip K Dick award for 2017. So a few months back I read and reviewed that novel for the blog, but also interviewed Vaughn for the podcast. (linked below) I was a big fan of the first book. I loved the anarchist and social themes and thought it was excellently woven into a Leguin-like five stars out of five novel. I was excited during the int As the co-host of the recently launched Philip Dick podcast Dickheads I was first clued into this series when the first Coast Road novel Bannerless won the Philip K Dick award for 2017. So a few months back I read and reviewed that novel for the blog, but also interviewed Vaughn for the podcast. (linked below) I was a big fan of the first book. I loved the anarchist and social themes and thought it was excellently woven into a Leguin-like five stars out of five novel. I was excited during the interview that Carrie said the sequel was almost out and that she would send me a copy. I loved the world of the coast road, a post collapse California coast that has turned to a more just society. Enid is an investigator in this mostly utopia she doesn't get alot of work, and in the wake of the the rare murder that she solved in the first novel she has been able to relax a bit. Now she is training Teeg a young investigator, and her family is eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child as they were just given their first banner. Enid and Teeg are called to a far off town on the south edge of the coast road to settle a dispute. It seems like a simple task a man wants to maintain the family house that is about to fall down a cliff. The community considers it a hazard and wants the investigators to tell him to let the house go. It seems like a simple case when the body of a young woman no one can identify washes up on the shore. Now for the second time Enid must solve a murder. Vaughn writes another great mystery, what I really enjoyed about this one was I had no idea how she would ever solve it. There are hundreds of mystery novels put out each year but the thing that makes this one special is the setting. The post-modern world setting and the social dynamics are really interesting. The victim was from the wildlands beyond the coast road where there is no organized society. One excellent element of world building Vaughn pulls off is the people in the wild lands. She does a great job making them feel almost inhuman, like they are a different species. in fact she actually reminds the reader at one point that they are just human, and it struck me because I did need that reminder. Before Enid goes to the wild lands I was not even sure how she would identify the victim. Without spoilers this mystery is really well done. Perfectly weaving the fascinating social and political dynamics of this bizarre post-ecological collapse attempt at utopia. The characters are strong, and the narrative is perfectly structured with surprises and reveals. This is a very worthy sequel to Bannerless. Both novels are masterpieces in my eyes. When this book comes out July 17th Mystery fans, dystopian fans, and political sci-fi fans should have this book ready to go. The Bottomline is this: The Wild Dead is a perfect sequel that ups the ante on all the elements that made Bannerless great. A masterpiece of socially aware world-building and mystery that will entertain as it makes you think. My Dickheads interview about Bannerless is here. We do talk about the Wild Dead give it a listen: https://soundcloud.com/dickheadspodca...

  17. 3 out of 5

    Serena

    If you don't know the Bannerless universe with it's short stories and first book about Enid, you'd think that the title leaves the impression of a zombie novel, but it's not, not really. There's no shambling dead aiming to eat flesh or brains to be found here, but the dead do eat at Enid's memory, her former partner Tomas, Olive's baby that didn't make it and all the hopes and fears Enid has for the about to be born baby she walks away from at her household Serenity to meditate what will happen If you don't know the Bannerless universe with it's short stories and first book about Enid, you'd think that the title leaves the impression of a zombie novel, but it's not, not really. There's no shambling dead aiming to eat flesh or brains to be found here, but the dead do eat at Enid's memory, her former partner Tomas, Olive's baby that didn't make it and all the hopes and fears Enid has for the about to be born baby she walks away from at her household Serenity to meditate what will happen to another old house, a ruin full of memories for the people that live between sea shore, swamp and forest of Estuary. It's not really a surprise to read of a dead girl on the shore, mysteriously "wild" to the Coast Road, yet her story is one Enid is determined to unravel from Estuary, despite her newly trained partner Teeg's stubborn reluctance to seek the truth of what happened to her, to a girl named Ella. I like that Tomas used to call the brown clad truth seeking investigators of Coast Road being about "kindness" for the Greek goddesses of vengeance and justice were called Eumenides, the kindly ones, or the Erinyes. Enid may not want to be known for solving murders, but she is quite good at it, but even as Ella's murder is solved, life proves it will find a way to go on, birth and death, either by accident or choice.

  18. 3 out of 5

    thefourthvine

    Once again, the “about this book” text describe this as a “feminist dystopia.” I don’t know if that’s because they think it will sell the book, or if it’s because there’s not really a genre term for hopeful post-apocalyptic fiction. Either way, reading this after the relentlessly grim, truly dystopic 84k just emphasized what I already knew: this isn’t dystopia. It’s a different way of living. Once again, Enid is involved in a murder investigation, and while this story is intended as a mystery, t Once again, the “about this book” text describe this as a “feminist dystopia.” I don’t know if that’s because they think it will sell the book, or if it’s because there’s not really a genre term for hopeful post-apocalyptic fiction. Either way, reading this after the relentlessly grim, truly dystopic 84k just emphasized what I already knew: this isn’t dystopia. It’s a different way of living. Once again, Enid is involved in a murder investigation, and while this story is intended as a mystery, that isn’t a huge part of the appeal for me. (For one thing, the mystery is pretty easily solved, and for another, there’s a plot hole that never gets fixed or explained.) The real draws for me here are the worldbuilding and the characters, and those continue to be extremely worth my time. Highlights here include Teeg, Enid’s new partner, who wants to be a cop, not an investigator, and the strange, somewhat claustrophic settlement Enid and Teeg are investigating. I enjoyed this book. Especially after 84k, this felt like a breath of fresh air. People can try to do good things! People can try to fix situations! Sometimes people can build something good! It’s all true, and it was a relief to read a book that acknowledged that.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    I liked this better than the first book in the series. I like Enid and her passion for justice, figuring things out the old fashioned way. I enjoyed the world building once again. I still think it is pretty optimistic, after the collapse of civilization I think more society would more resemble that of the Wild but I found this society interesting. A little rigid maybe but one based on caring where a woman’s contribution is as valuable as a man’s. One where a woman doesn’t wear herself out having I liked this better than the first book in the series. I like Enid and her passion for justice, figuring things out the old fashioned way. I enjoyed the world building once again. I still think it is pretty optimistic, after the collapse of civilization I think more society would more resemble that of the Wild but I found this society interesting. A little rigid maybe but one based on caring where a woman’s contribution is as valuable as a man’s. One where a woman doesn’t wear herself out having baby after baby until childbirth kills her. I kind of like that

  20. 3 out of 5

    Kathleen (QueenKatieMae)

    I read Bannerless, the first of this series, last year and liked it because of it’s different take on worldwide dystopia and the main character, Enid. Soft-spoken, intelligent and patient, Enid is an investigator, a law enforcer, along the Coast Road of what is left of California. In Bannerless, we learn that the world changed drastically after humans had overused and depleted all its natural resources. To survive the economic collapse, the government divided communities into multiple households I read Bannerless, the first of this series, last year and liked it because of it’s different take on worldwide dystopia and the main character, Enid. Soft-spoken, intelligent and patient, Enid is an investigator, a law enforcer, along the Coast Road of what is left of California. In Bannerless, we learn that the world changed drastically after humans had overused and depleted all its natural resources. To survive the economic collapse, the government divided communities into multiple households with four adults, related or not, that must live and work together, using only what resources are needed to sustain their home. Their reward for not overusing: a banner; a coveted banner that allows them to have one child. After what is known as the Fall, investigators are something the houses both fear and respect. They enforce mandatory birth control implants in women, mediate disputes, oversee the use of resources, and adjudicate the distribution of banners. And they pass harsh judgment on those houses that break these laws. In The Wild Dead, Enid is traveling to Semperfi with her new partner, Teeg. Still mourning the loss of Tomas, her mentor and partner, Enid is also looking forward to the birth of a bannered child in her own house. Enid and Teeg are sent to mediate a dispute between households concerning an ancient building that should be left to rot without using precious and rare resources to save it. The two find a small community of estranged households. They also find a dead woman, her throat slashed, that is not from any of the houses. No one recognizes her but Enid can tell she came from the outside camps collectively known as the wild; the woman has no implant, nor has she ever. While Teeg regards the dead woman as an outsider and not a problem for the investigators, Enid cannot walk away. She desperately wants to return home in time for the birth of her household’s new child but her responsibility to the law, and the fact the unknown woman must have family that miss her, prevents her. The story moves slowly, but steadily, as Enid and Teeg interview the residents of the village households to solve the mystery. There is much backstory and drama and some twists, but The Wild Dead is not a pulse-pounding thriller. It is insightful and well written and the weight of the story sits squarely on Enid’s capable shoulders. Teeg’s character, however, is not well developed and all he seems to do is complain and he made me miss her partner Tomas almost as much as she does. This is a different dystopic narrative as there is solar power and medicine, but it still has that wild west feel that makes the story that much more interesting. Hopefully there will be more books in this series because I would love to read more about Enid.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Louisa

    This book was a fantastic sequel! Loved seeing Enid again, and meeting these new characters, and this investigation! Such a great book, and I really hope we get more!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    The Wild Dead is a sequel to last year's Bannerless, which I loved. (Check out my review of Bannerless, here.) In Bannerless, author Carrie Vaughn does an amazing job of creating a post-apocalyptic world in which the focus is not on the disaster itself (known here as the Fall), but on life 100 years later. Humanity has survived, and in the Coast Road community (California), life revolves around households -- groups of adults who build a home together, a communal dwelling where all are invested i The Wild Dead is a sequel to last year's Bannerless, which I loved. (Check out my review of Bannerless, here.) In Bannerless, author Carrie Vaughn does an amazing job of creating a post-apocalyptic world in which the focus is not on the disaster itself (known here as the Fall), but on life 100 years later. Humanity has survived, and in the Coast Road community (California), life revolves around households -- groups of adults who build a home together, a communal dwelling where all are invested in the success of the whole. Communities are groups of households with a central committee and a commitment to the greater good. It's a mostly agrarian society, where everyone contributes according to their abilities, and all are provided for... provided, that is, that some basic rules are followed. The guiding principle in this world is producing enough, but not more. Quotas govern all farming, so that no one destroys the scarce natural resources by using up too much, too quickly. Households that demonstrate that they can support themselves may be granted banners, the most coveted reward of all. A Banner is a license to have a baby. A household may earn a banner through hard work and dedication -- but a household that tries to skirt the rules may be denied a banner forever. Enid of Haven is an investigator -- the closest thing this society has to law enforcement. In this post-technology world, Enid can't rely on firearms or fingerprint dusting or forensic science; she has to use her brain and her people skills to ask questions, dig deep, and find the truth of a community's secrets. Enid is good at her job, but as The Wild Dead opens, she's mostly annoyed about being called away from her home in Haven to carry out a seemingly pointless investigation right as her household is expecting its first baby. The investigation is set in the community of Estuary, a marshy, unpleasant location where the people live in uneasy proximity to one another. There's no true closeness or cooperation in Estuary -- the people seem argumentative and suspicious. And while Enid's case is simply about determining whether an old house should be preserved, the situation becomes complicated by the discovery of a body belonging to an outsider. As the investigation shifts from mediation to a murder case, Enig and her partner Teeg try to find a way to get the people of Estuary to share their secrets. The Bannerless world is opened up further in this second book in the series. In the first book, the author did an amazing feat of world-building, showing us the Coast Road society, the nature of this post-tech world and how the people live. At the same time, she gives us a glimpse into the history of the Fall and how civilization re-formed in the century since then. In The Wild Dead, we explore further, and learn for the first time about the people who live outside the society of the Coast Road, choosing to live wild and with fewer resources rather than be restricted by the rules that dictate so many basic elements of life, including child-bearing. The puzzle of the dead body is intriguing, and I enjoyed seeing Enid use her wits and intuition to read the situation in Estuary and finally arrive at the truth. The mystery aspects of the story are quite good, and held my attention from beginning to end. But truly, what I really love about these books is the detailed description of this unique world and how it works, and getting to understand the psychology of a society which has survived what could have been the end and has created a new version of the future. (In some ways, I'm reminded of The Walking Dead -- minus the zombies, of course -- particularly the newest season, when the communities have rediscovered non-industrial era technology such as plows and windmills as a way of surviving and building after a disaster. But I digress...) Enid is a terrific main character -- smart, strong, fair, and devoted to her people and to doing what's right. She's not perfect, and she struggles with herself quite a bit, but in the end, she's committed to the essence of being an investigator: helping others, and being kind. I highly recommend both Bannerless and The Wild Dead. I'm really hoping this will be an ongoing series. I can't see myself ever getting tired of Enid or her world.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Holloway

    This is the first mystery I have come across where the world has collapsed and the story takes place in a new civilization, so that in itself intrigued me- a who-dun-it with a twist. This was the second book in the series, but the author did a good job showing what the world was like right from the beginning of the book. I do still want to go back and read the first one, but more for that story rather than because I think I missed something. The way the author set up the world with different com This is the first mystery I have come across where the world has collapsed and the story takes place in a new civilization, so that in itself intrigued me- a who-dun-it with a twist. This was the second book in the series, but the author did a good job showing what the world was like right from the beginning of the book. I do still want to go back and read the first one, but more for that story rather than because I think I missed something. The way the author set up the world with different communities living in different ways, but having some groups united and others "wild" gave the characters and reader much to think about- moral issues, ethics, how to solve problems, how to get along, how to communicate amongst each other, respecting each others way of life, etc. It also gave another level to the mystery itself. I enjoyed the characters. They were developed and interesting, but I didn't feel like I knew them personally. Enid, the protagonist, definitely grows throughout the novel, but from looking at the reviews of the first book, Bannerless, it looks as if this is where the reader would really get to know Enid and her background. The mystery was a good one. Although there were not many people with motives, there were many people that could have committed the murder. At the beginning the reader is at a loss to why this woman was murdered, but it is clear toward the end who the murderer is, so the reveal is not a big one. The writing style was a bit odd. Every once in a while there would be a phrase written as a sentence. Sometimes I understood what the author meant by these phrases and sometimes I'd have to read the phrase again. For the most part the author wrote in a clear way. The author was also able to establish atmosphere, so that I felt like I was in this world. This was a quick read for me. All in all this was a good book and I recommend it to anyone liking mystery and / or dystopian-type novels. https://abookandacupofteablog.blogspo...

  24. 3 out of 5

    Samantha (AK)

    The Bannerless Saga holds the distinction of being a uniquely optimistic post-apocalypse setting. (It’s marketed as a dystopia, but I still don’t agree with that classification.) Having rebuilt some form of civilization after the Fall, the Coast Road communities operate under strict meritocracy and resource management, with disputes settled preferentially by the local committee. In the event that a dispute is too much for a town to resolve, Investigators (think law enforcement) can be dispatched The Bannerless Saga holds the distinction of being a uniquely optimistic post-apocalypse setting. (It’s marketed as a dystopia, but I still don’t agree with that classification.) Having rebuilt some form of civilization after the Fall, the Coast Road communities operate under strict meritocracy and resource management, with disputes settled preferentially by the local committee. In the event that a dispute is too much for a town to resolve, Investigators (think law enforcement) can be dispatched to make a decision. Enid of Haven and her new partner Teeg are sent to the Estuary to investigate a failing house, only to stumble into a murder investigation. The victim appears to be from outside the Coast Road communities, raising questions of responsibility and jurisdiction. Like the last book, this one is a pastoral murder mystery, but this time Enid is the experienced one on the team. Enid straddles the line between hoping for the best of human nature while being prepared for them to disappoint her. Her rookie partner Teeg, on the other hand, is inexperienced and impulsive (dangerous combo). Teeg drove me up the wall. He’s pretty much there to be a counter-argument for Enid, and along the way he makes a lot of stupid (and dangerous) decisions. He pushes for the easy solutions: either the murder victim isn’t their problem, or the first person to behave oddly must be the murderer. (Vaughn has things to say about irresponsible law enforcement.) Enid’s not thrilled about the delay in getting home--where her household is expecting their first child--but her sense of duty and justice overrules her desire to just get things over with. It’s slow, but not overly so; the build-up and pacing are fairly suitable for a book of this length. The themes can be a little-heavy handed at times, and--like the last installment--the ‘whodunnit’ plot doesn’t quite manage to surprise the reader, but it’s a short and enjoyable read nonetheless.

  25. 3 out of 5

    Theresa

    The Wild Dead (The Bannerless Saga #2) by Carrie Vaughn Since I read Bannerless, I wanted to see more of this story, Carrie Vaughn fulfilled the promise of the first book in this sequel. The Wild Dead can stand on its own as a young adult mystery story, but the whole series is amazing. This post apocalyptic world looks at the value we place on others. In a world were survivors had to choose between medicine and forensics, between lives and photography people and society has closed down. Small co The Wild Dead (The Bannerless Saga #2) by Carrie Vaughn Since I read Bannerless, I wanted to see more of this story, Carrie Vaughn fulfilled the promise of the first book in this sequel. The Wild Dead can stand on its own as a young adult mystery story, but the whole series is amazing. This post apocalyptic world looks at the value we place on others. In a world were survivors had to choose between medicine and forensics, between lives and photography people and society has closed down. Small communities of people who work together for the benefit of each other is the only way to survive in this holocaust world. We have pushed the environment beyond sustainability, and we have been trumped by our own behaviors and consequences of them. The survivors have to prove that they can sustain not only their lives but have to prove they can take care of each child. The world can not support large groups of people, it’s either survival or starvation. Enid is an investigator in a time when life is held on a precarious balance, and the simple choices can cost the most. She has been called down to look at the Estuary and resolve one of their problems. Semperfi household has a big problem, their original structure is disintegrating before their eyes, falling into the eroding banks of the river. They want the community to help them, the community sees it a different way. This is not the only mystery in the pages of Wild Dead, but this first question brings up the idea of what is human, what is sustainable, and how do we treat each other. This is a great story that shows the value in life, and the ability to choose freely has its own cost. These are valuable lessons for our kids today, and something most schools and teachers avoid talking about. Carrie Vaughn brings up these ideas without judgement on the part of the reader, but on the whole of societies, and individuals outlooks. A great book for discussion with middle school, and high school children.

  26. 3 out of 5

    annapi

    This is a mystery series set in a dystopian future after an event simply called "The Fall". Technology is sparse, there is no good communication or transportation so it's back to simple living. Our protagonist is Enid, an investigator whose main job is to make sure the communities within her jurisdiction are following the laws. In book 1, Bannerless, she is a junior investigator helping her partner on a murder for the first time, and in this sequel to what I hope will be a long-running series, s This is a mystery series set in a dystopian future after an event simply called "The Fall". Technology is sparse, there is no good communication or transportation so it's back to simple living. Our protagonist is Enid, an investigator whose main job is to make sure the communities within her jurisdiction are following the laws. In book 1, Bannerless, she is a junior investigator helping her partner on a murder for the first time, and in this sequel to what I hope will be a long-running series, she is on a routine job mentoring a new partner when they run into another murder. Enid is finally growing on me in this second book. Her character is developing further, and she is coming into her own as her reputation for being good at solving murders grows. She shows patience, compassion and kindness even as she seeks the truth and does her best to mete out justice. The world-building is great as the author little by little shows us how our world has changed and how humanity is coping. I'm looking forward to the next book!

  27. 5 out of 5

    lauren

    I didn't know I needed a dystopian murder mystery in my life up until now. I quite enjoyed it. The storytelling was light and straightforward, making this an easy and quick read. It started off right in the core of the story, which I appreciated. Though I would have loved a bit more of a backstory on the world and its politics. The world-building could have benefited from a bit more development but what I did get, was very vivid and enticing. I loved reading about the Fall, settlements, banners I didn't know I needed a dystopian murder mystery in my life up until now. I quite enjoyed it. The storytelling was light and straightforward, making this an easy and quick read. It started off right in the core of the story, which I appreciated. Though I would have loved a bit more of a backstory on the world and its politics. The world-building could have benefited from a bit more development but what I did get, was very vivid and enticing. I loved reading about the Fall, settlements, banners and the family dynamics. I liked the characters, especially Enid.. she seemed like a bad ass! The murder mystery itself was good. I didn't find it predictable at all, didn't know the culprit up until the end of the story. Going into this I had hoped that the post-apocalyptic setting would have had more of an influence on the murder mystery, but it was pretty mundane and ordinary. But I'm not mad about it, it was still enjoyable.

  28. 3 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Enid is back, with, of course, another tough case. It starts out simply, but gets impressively complicated very soon. With so many secrets and evasions, she has to go quite far to find the truth. But she's determined to do so, regardless. I find Enid quite admirable, and this book supported that. She's incredibly stubborn, not always good with her words, and has an awkward kindness to her. Truth, to her, is kindness. Lies and secrets fester, and she's seen the results in her work. This post-apoca Enid is back, with, of course, another tough case. It starts out simply, but gets impressively complicated very soon. With so many secrets and evasions, she has to go quite far to find the truth. But she's determined to do so, regardless. I find Enid quite admirable, and this book supported that. She's incredibly stubborn, not always good with her words, and has an awkward kindness to her. Truth, to her, is kindness. Lies and secrets fester, and she's seen the results in her work. This post-apocalyptic society had to decide what to save, and they saved with a focus on preserving the resources remaining, and on everyone doing their share. Thefts--of any sort--hurt the community as a whole. It's a different sort of world than is common in post-apocalyptic stories. A lot of rules, ruins, and some deprivation... but still room for freedom, and celebrations, and beauty, and love.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Howard Brazee

    Second novel in a near-future world after climate-change storms destroy most of civilization. Survivors have some technology and knowledge. This region of California implants women with birth control, that families must show that they can support a child before they get a banner to go along with removing the implant to have a child. As with the first novel, there is a murder involved, and the protagonist needs to resolve it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Wendi Lee

    *4.5 stars* I really enjoyed this book, a continuation of Enid’s role as investigator, another murder stumbled upon. This is an understated novel, a detective mystery in a post apocalyptic world that isn’t showy or excessively violent, just all too human. I do feel that you need to read the first book, Bannerless, in order to truly immerse yourself in this one.

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