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Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn
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it was amazing

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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Reading Progress

May 26, 2017 – Started Reading
May 26, 2017 – Shelved
May 26, 2017 – Finished Reading

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