So considering what happened when I read the novel preceding last year’s Aurora Winner, maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that I didn’t read the book that comes before this one in the series, but I didn’t actually plan it that way, or even think about it. While it’s obvious within a few pages that this is a sequel, you probably don’t need the first book to enjoy this one. It may help with a few little things, but A Daughter of No Nation is fairly self-contained.
There’s an alternate/parallel/future world that may or may not be Earth. People live there. It’s 90% or so ocean. They call it Stormwrack. Sophie’s real parents are from there. She got to travel there and hang out with her half-sister and aunt for a while, having a few adventures. This is easy to figure out from the narrative, and early.
But there’s political and legal fallout from her first visit, actually, from her very existence. Mix this with a mystery and then a conspiracy and a little bit of exploring the world, and you’re holding A Daughter of No Nation.
Sophie tends to be a little on the melodramatic side as well as feeling, by virtue of coming from a technological world, that she knows better than the savages around her. This belief seems to persist no matter how many times, in how many ways, she’s smacked in the face of it.
Enjoyment of the book comes less from Sophie than from the characters around her and the worldbuilding that’s clearly gone into Stormwrack. There’s a whole society here, a collection of societies, and we get tiny pieces of a number of them, personified in other characters. Stormwrack is a big world and this story only just starts to scratch the surface. There are a still a lot of unanswered questions about a lot of things. In fact, most of the questions about the world and its people we started the book with remain unanswered, almost everything beyond the immediate mysteries and conspiracy, plus a few more raised in the course of the story.
Whether fully intended, this has been set up to be a potentially long series.
Overall rating: 2.5 stars, which I’ll probably round up to 3. A lot of things can make a book live or die, but if I don’t enjoy my time with the primary protagonist, I’m probably not going to read further, so I’m fairly unlikely to read the first book in this series or the next.by