Book Reviews

Review: Null States by Malka Ann Older

Null States is a gripping continuation of the Centenal Cycle Series that maintains the original characters we have come to love, furthers the storyline of the world within, and introduces us to a whole new bunch of characters we will come to love.

Summary

The last election left the world in chaos – not only with criminal repercussions, but also global instability. It is now Information’s job to try to stabilize the system, to prevent another bout of disorder. As the Supermajority at power struggles to settle into its roles and further its ideals, Information races against the clock, and against forces behind the scenes, to prevent panic. In one of these null states – the newest centenals where information is scarce – DarFur, their tenuous government, descends into pandemonium after its structures explode killing its governor. In Asia there are turf wars that not only threaten the entire system, but affect people’s home and safety. And finally, what may be most unexpected, is a threat from one superpower that could just be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Book Review Null States by Malka Ann OlderReview

Reading Null States was like settling back into a comfortable chair with a good favorite. Cracking the virtual spine left me jumping headfirst back into the same high paced world of adventure from Infomocracy. Older excels at creating masterful plot arcs that stretch far above us and with more ramifications than we can even guess. When you’re reading one of her books, it is sure to be known that something more has to be at work behind the scenes of the story scaffolds.

And she doesn’t disappoint. For Null States takes that same non-stop action and merely expands on the foundations drawn in Infomocracy. It exploits the questions we had about the system before, and pours water into them, illustrating how vulnerable they are, once an unexpected chill races through. That has got to be one of my favorite parts of this book – how Older explores the very definition of democracy, and the wisdom in the microdemocracy model (that was brought up before) discussed in the light of day.

Additionally, in Null States we got to see a side of the Centenal world, that I especially enjoyed – the newer Centenals. By setting us in DarFur, we see the tension between microdemocracy and privacy, between progress and tradition. This setting places us in a middle ground between where we are now, and the advanced technology of Infomocracy, answering question we had all along. Such as: how does a Centenal become set up? What is the opposition to the microdemocracy system? How does one transition?

Characters

I loved that Null States was written, or focused mainly, on Roz’s perspective, as she was one of my favorite side characters from the first novel. But if you’re true to your love of Ken and Mishima, then don’t worry, because they make plenty of appearances and many surprises. The multiple perspectives can be confusing in the beginning, but as the plot begins to come together, it becomes easier to follow.

Overall

Null States reminds me of a mix of West Wing and James Bourne. There’s just enough talk of politics to make it feel educating, with just the right combination of action and subterfuge to carry us along. If you loved the clever plot of Infomocracy or if you enjoy both of those pop culture references, you will be sure to enjoy Null States.

You can pick up Null States on Amazon(US), your local indie, or add it to Goodreads. It releases September 19th, 2017.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.

Discussion

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