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The Wild Dead (The Bannerless Saga #2)
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Group Read - The Wild Dead > Group Read - The Wild Dead chap 15-21 End spoilers welcome

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message 1: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments This topic is for chapters 15-22 (to the end) of our group read book, Carrie Vaughn's The Wild Dead. Spoilers are welcome on this thread.
If the first to post, please briefly summarize the segment to drive the discussion. What did you think of the book?


message 2: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Chapter fifteen The Last Bit of Path
Enid reminisces about the awarding of her household's banner and her friend Olive's baby they will raise.
Enid sets off into the Wild. She's done this before and feels anticipation, not fear. She's determined to get the answers for Ella's sake and yet has a life back home to live for. She nears ruins and is attacked, first two men, then more. She is captured, bound and hooded.

Chapter sixteen Darkness
Forced marching for hours, tired but still determined, Enid talks her way out of the hood. More walking then a rough camp. She is healthier and better dressed, asks her questions and finally is ignored by the leader, El Juez. Hawk is there, no one will talk to her.

Chapter seventeen A Way In
Enid, ignored walks around and volunteers to help in the tannery. Creek shows her how and does answer some questions about Ella and Neeve. Neeve also visited their camp. They don't trust any outsiders. Enid waits out El Juez. The second day he approaches and reveals Ella was his daughter. He has the knife Ella left it with him. Then he reveals Neeve was Ella's mother.

Chapter eighteen Bannerless Child
Shocked Enid realizes that few people know this news, perhaps it's what has Kellan so distressed. A twenty-year old secret, the pieces start to fall into line. El Jurez doesn't know why Neeve wouldn't stay in the Wild with him. Enid's authority is questioned, an investigator is not feared here. Even though she was blindfolded on the way in, Enid is left on her own to walk back to the Coast Road.
Hawk attacks her viciously on the way back and she barely manages to tranquilize him and escape.
Hours later she is generally in the right direction, thirsty, hot and exhausted and suffering heat stroke.

Chapter nineteen Mother
Olive at first had a miscarriage (flashback) Enid has passed out, luckily near Bonavista. She's in bad shape and realizes Teeg left without waiting or looking for her, taking Kellen in due to his "confession" under duress. Tom is sent after Teeg. Teeg returns with a grateful Kellan. Teeg is surprised to see her alive and surly. Enid won't reveal the murderer to him, she'll present it to the group.

Chapter twenty Last Threads
As they gather for her update she realizes Juni is missing. She's walking out into the waves, determined to die. Enid hauls her back.
Interestingly Enid continues to ask questions rather than lecture. Why didn't Kellan want Ella there? How did Juni know Ella was Neeve's daughter? Shocked, the others hadn't known; but Juni, face to face with Ella taken by surprise in the woods snapped. She didn't belong there.
Neeve explains she didn't fit in with the wild; they don't want to improve. She had wanted Ella to come live with Last House.
Enid decrees that Juni must be banished, they'll take her out tomorrow.

Chapter twenty-two Beginning
As they are leaving, the Semperfi ruined house finally crashes down the cliff into the water. In the rubble a hand sticks out, Hawk. (Dead)
Erik seems relieved. The journey back stops at Everlast for hearings with the Investigators leadership. Juni's sentence is confirmed.
Teeg gives up the uniform and Enid goes home, hearing their baby's cry.


message 3: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Satisfied with the answers and hopeful, I think both Enid and I have similar feelings as the case closes. It was sad about Juni's banishment but I think that punishment was in line with her crime. She could have made a new life in the new place. Of course some people are adventurers at heart and some are not. Her second and successful suicide attempt may have given Juni peace but I wonder if there will be blow-back on Enid in a future book (which I hope we'll get!)


message 4: by OMalleycat (last edited Jul 25, 2018 11:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

OMalleycat | 1448 comments Ann wrote: "She could have made a new life in the new place. Of course some people are adventurers at heart and some are not. Her second and successful suicide attempt may have given Juni peace but I wonder if there will be blow-back on Enid in a future book."

Until June's death I had it all set in my mind that something would happen in Desolata that would take Enid there and she and Juni would end up venturing in the desert.

It just occurred to me that one thing that makes me crazy about post-apocalyptic books is that nagging feeling that if only the characters would venture a little farther, they might find cities that are still intact, people who have managed to keep the infrastructure alive.

But I guess that's what makes me a non-apocalyptoid. There wouldn't be much point to a story like that, would there? Maybe the lack of wide access to current information and communication bothers me more than anything else in this genre. I read both of these books wondering what was in The Wild, or just over that next hill, or at the end of a couple days more hike.

I thought that the city Enid and Dak ended up in in Bannerless was San Francisco. I kept waiting for a reference to a big, collapsed golden bridge or a tumbled-down pyramid looking building. But the map in this book makes it appear that they were in former San Jose. So what would they have found in San Francisco? Vaughn chose wisely when she made California the setting. Such a variety of environments in CA.


message 5: by OMalleycat (last edited Jul 25, 2018 11:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

OMalleycat | 1448 comments Ann wrote: "She could have made a new life in the new place. Of course some people are adventurers at heart and some are not. Her second and successful suicide attempt may have given Juni peace but I wonder if there will be blow-back on Enid in a future boo"

Got off-track in my last post, so I'm starting a new one. That way there might be less of an appearance that I'm running off at the mouth. :)

Ann, you mentioned blowback in the next book. I don't think that's likely because it seems that The Investigators have complete discretion. As another poster said, they're police, mediators, jury, and judge.

More practically I wouldn't expect repercussions in the next book because there was so little carryover from first book to second, so I predict the same from second to third.

Enid started The Wild Dead with a new partner and will start the next book with yet another (hopefully better). Maybe, with the birth of Rose, she'll want to stick closer to home and will have an investigation in Haven. Nah, who am I kidding? Restlessness and wandering are an essential part of her nature.

In a way Enid is an isolate. Yes, she has a close household, but she leaves them while she takes long journeys. She knew from Tomas since childhood that the uniform created a gulf between Investigators and others, yet she chose to become an Investigator. Her own self-chosen separateness gives her an acceptance of the loners and cast-outs that she comes across in her investigations.


OMalleycat | 1448 comments OMalleycat wrote: "(of Enid) Her own self-chosen separateness gives her an acceptance of the loners and cast-outs that she comes across in her investigations."

Quoting myself, that's how far I've sunk. I was thinking about Enid and her tolerance for all types of people and it got me thinking about Neeve. She's a type I think we can all recognize. Unhappy in the settlement in young adulthood, she takes off for The Wild. She gets involved enough there to remove her implant, but she's still physically vacillating--back and forth from settlement to Wild. Didn't she say she had the baby in hopes El Juez would come back to the settlement with her? Twenty years later she wants Ella to come live with her. Neeve is never satisfied in either place and is always trying to rearrange things in an effort to find satisfaction. Think of how demoralizing that feeling of never fitting in would be in this interdependent world!

In a side note I want to say that this is an interesting contrast to her twin, Juni, who seems like a post-apocalyptic domestic goddess, always bustling around. In this twinship one seems to have gotten all the restlessness, the other all the attachment to home.

Anyway, what I was really going to do is contrast Enid and Neeve. They both have the same restlessness. But however driven Enid is, she's still pretty content with her life. She has loving relationships with her housemates and her mother and always is eager to return home after an investigation. By becoming an Investigator Enid has found an outlet for her curiosity and drive to explore. Neeve doesn't have such an outlet and would probably feel uncomfortable regardless. Why is one character able to manage her Inner agitation while the other isn't?


Geri The resolutions to the mystery is always so simple. A confrontation and then confession. But I love Enid and her determination and deductive skills. This world is so interesting too, with the new rules for a new kind of world.

Junie did not really show any remorse. Felt that Ella wasn’t a real person. Terrible. She was a kind of secret sociopath. Her punishment to be exiled to Desolada worked since she chose to die in the desert. There was a lot of simmering rage in Junie that she obviously hid. I have to say, I did not suspect her.

Glad Teeg decided not to become an investigator. I know Enid felt like she failed him. But I don’t think he would have made a good investigator.

It was interesting going into the Wild with Enid. They were wary of Enid. But ultimately treated her just fine. El Juarez was intriguing. I hope we get to see more of the Wild in upcoming books.


Geri OMalleycat wrote: "OMalleycat wrote: "(of Enid) Her own self-chosen separateness gives her an acceptance of the loners and cast-outs that she comes across in her investigations."

Quoting myself, that's how far I've..."


Definitely Enid’s home life helps keep her stable and at peace while her job satisfies her other needs like adventure. It’s great her household has no problem with her wandering. They seem to understand her.

Neev did not have this. So she was always unhappy with her life. I am still confused why she didn’t stay in the Wild. I thought that would have been a better place for her. She chose to live with people who made her an outcast, rather than raise her own child. Which she broke the law to have.

Juni appeared to fit in. But boy, how much rage do you need to have to kill someone like that? Then show no remorse. I did not feel badly for Juni’s banishment at all. She chose to kill herself rather than make a life for herself. I actually think Juni deserved more than banishment. But there are no prisons in this new world.


message 9: by OMalleycat (last edited Jul 26, 2018 03:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

OMalleycat | 1448 comments Geri wrote: "I am still confused why she (Neeve) didn’t stay in the Wild. I thought that would have been a better place for her. "

I think that for whatever reason Neeve is the kind of person who doesn't feel comfortable anywhere. What I'm confused about is the contrast between Neeve and her twin, Juni. Maybe Juni had the same feelings, but contained them by becoming emphatically attached to her home and household. If Juni's feeling of belonging is entirely dependent on her household, that could work also to explain her apparent rage at her original household being broken up as a result of Neeve's implant self-removal.

I do wish Vaughn had given us more of an explanation for Neeve's past actions, but it would have been so out of character for her to reveal anything to Enid.


OMalleycat | 1448 comments Geri wrote: " Junie did not really show any remorse. Felt that Ella wasn’t a real person. ."

Geri, I found it really jolting when Juni said this. To think of having such adherence to a social order that it blinds you to the humanity of a person just because she was born to another 'tribe' and outside the mandates of of childbirth.

Not that in present times we don't have plenty of killings of people who seem 'other' to the killer.

Speaking of bannerless births, I was interested to see that Vaughn depicted The Wild as having unlimited births and only marginally making it in terms of resources and survival. She's cleaving to an anti-overpopulation belief, even while showing the conflicts brought by the government imposing limitations on childbirth.


message 11: by Ann (last edited Jul 27, 2018 09:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Jan O'TalkingToHerself Cat
Funny! Enid does accept others much more readily perhaps from her own sense of not quite fitting in but also from so much curiosity! OMalleycat wrote: "OMalleycat wrote: "(of Enid) Her own self-chosen separateness gives her an acceptance of the loners and cast-outs that she comes across in her investigations."
Quoting myself, that's how far I've I've sunk.


Neeve, yes, looking at Neeve in contrast with Enid and Juni is quite interesting. I got the impression the nomadic life in the Wild didn't suit her, she told Enid that they didn't want improve anything. As for fitting in in the settlement, I think she might have if not for the shaming and punishment for breaking the implant rule. She was certainly stoic in the initial questioning of who knew the victim. Washing the body belied that distance.

I was thinking about Enid and her tolerance for all types of people and it got me thinking about Neeve. She's a type I think we can all recognize. Unhappy in the settlement in young adulthood, she takes off for The Wild. She gets involved enough there to remove her implant, but she's still physically vacillating--back and forth from settlement to Wild. Didn't she say she had the baby in hopes El Juez would come back to the settlement with her? Twenty years later she wants Ella to come live with her. Neeve is never satisfied in either place and is always trying to rearrange things in an effort to find satisfaction. Think of how demoralizing that feeling of never fitting in would be in this interdependent world!

..."



OMalleycat | 1448 comments Ann wrote (on another thread) " I didn't have the same impression of the disposition of the century-old Semperfi house. Back in chapter 5 Judgement Enid told Erik that there could be no resources expended to save it. I saw that as "pulling off the bandaid" and any further gnashing of teeth was Erik not being happy. "."

I'm continuing this discussion on this topic since I'm delving into spoilers-to-the-end territory.

You're right, Ann. I remember now that Enid told Erik almost immediately that the house wouldn't be saved. The Investigators went on at that point to focus on the murder investigation instead of calling together the community and making some kind of pronouncement on the house. My feeling of unresolvedness came from villagers continuing to ask Enid about the house, plus Enid continuing to think about it and mention every time she saw it.

I guess Vaughn wanted to keep the house whole and in readers' minds so that it could serve a last purpose: collapsing and killing Hawk. Setting up Hawk's end in the house also explains the early finding that a squatter has been in the house, a discovery which is then completely dropped from investigation or discussion.

There needed to be an definite end to Hawk so he wouldn't continue to be a threat to Enid or to the community.

I'll bet the people in The Wild will isolate themselves more after losing both Ella and Hawk to their contact with the community.


message 13: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Geri: It is probably safe to say that people die easily in this world and I wondered perhaps if murders and other crimes might be swept under the rug whenever investigators aren't present. Juni's anger was a flashpoint though. Yikes.
Geri wrote: "
Juni appeared to fit in. But boy, how much rage do you need to have to kill someone like that? Then show no remorse. I did not feel badly for Juni’s banishment at all. She chose to kill herself rather than make a life for herself. I actually think Juni deserved more than banishment. But there are no prisons in this new world.

."



Bruce Perrin | 127 comments OMalleycat wrote: "To think of having such adherence to a social order that it blinds you to the humanity of a person just because she was born to another 'tribe' ..."

But isn’t the whole in-group vs. outcasts (your house vs. theirs or Road vs. Wild), if not the main theme, one of them? It seemed like thinking of someone outside your group as less than human permeated the story.

My admiration of Enid grew considerably in this final section. While she was still torn between home and doing what she felt was right, she did the latter with determination. She handled the situation in the wild quite well, playing the ‘I just want to know’ card well. And other than her first attempt to flee, she did so consistently, winning El Juez’ trust. Nice.

Teeg completed his downward spiral, taking Kellan into custody. Up until that point, I didn’t think he would ruin someone’s life based on a hunch – I was wrong. As several others have said, it just seems like he doesn’t have the right temperament for the job, and in the end, he saw that too.

The pace in the last third was better, IMO. But somehow, Vaughn seems like a bit of a plodder to me. Everything seems so drawn out, especially as this is a short book. The ending was clever, but not terribly surprising. The flashforward to Juni’s suicide and then the flashback to Enid returning home to find Rose seemed quite awkward. I suspect Vaughn wanted to end with the homecoming and this was the only way she could, but it felt strained.


message 15: by Ann (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14417 comments Bruce: Yes, the "otherness" of anyone not in your immediate circle was definitely permeating (even just another household at the end of the road) that otherness and fear and distrust. sad really; I liked Enid so much more for her rejection of those feelings.

Bruce wrote: "But isn’t the whole in-group vs. outcasts (your house vs. theirs or Road vs. Wild), if not the main theme, one of them? It seemed like thinking of someone outside your group as less than human permeated the story."


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