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The Wild Dead
July 9, 2018
The Wild Dead by Carrie Vaughn Houghton Mifflin Harcourt John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books
Sci Fi & Fantasy Pub Date 17 Jul 2018
I went into The Wild Dead without expectations. What I discovered was a world where little remained of the past, where most lived relatively primitive lives in households along the Coast Road. Quotas are carefully maintained and resources managed. Women are implanted with birth control that is only removed when a household proves it can support a child and receives a banner. Enid and Teeg are investigators, called to resolve a dispute between households. The issue is a simple one, but the discovery of a body changes everything. It quickly becomes clear that the young woman is one of the Wild Folk, who live a nomadic life beyond the Coast Road and rarely interact with the settlements. Enid wants to find the truth, while Teeg, young and zealous wants the easy out. The town folk are keeping secrets, and old grudges live long lives.
Enid’s investigation is hampered by lack of technology and the reliance on her ability to connect with others. It is a strange world where motherhood is the ultimate reward and being childless is the ultimate punishment. I found the world both fascinating and disturbing. It makes a unique environment for a murder mystery.
4 / 5
I received a copy of The Wild Dead from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
A Mariner Original A John Joseph Adams Book
“The Wild Dead is a tightly plotted mind-thrill . . . This is the feminist dystopian mystery series you didn’t know you needed.” — Meg Elison, Philip K. Dick Award–winning author of The Road to Nowhere series
eMysteries 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