12 December, 2010

Book Review: Nomansland

Title: Nomansland
Author: Lesley Hauge
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company LLC
Genre: Dystopian/Speculative Fiction
Page Count: 243
Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4.5 out of 5. I really like this cover--the horse, girl, and bow/arrow all fit the book.

Inside flap:
Sometime in the future, after wars and fires have devastated the earth, a lonely, windswept island is populated solely by women. The women have survived against all odds by working hard in the fields. Their lives are tough.
   Among these women is a group of teenage Trackers--expert equestrians and archers--who are in training to protect their shores from the enemy. The enemy, they've been told, is men.
   When these girls come upon a partially buried home from the distant past, they are fascinated by the strange objects--high-heeled shoes, teen magazines, makeup--found there. What are they to make of these mysterious things, which introduce a world they have never known? And what does it mean for their strict society where friendship is forbidden and the rules must be obeyed--at all costs?

My expectations: I'm all for strong women and independence with regards to the female gender--so I was intrigued by the blurb, although I wasn't sure what to make of the "high-heeled shoes, teen magazines, makeup" part of it.

I found this an interesting book, meeting my expectations.

About the book: This book is a view of feminism taken to the extremes--with no men in the society at all, and the women are isolated and worked hard to support the community. They all have their different areas--the main character, Keller, is a Tracker trained to protect the borders of Foundland.

It wasn't really a book about women being strong/independent--it was dark and occasionally disturbing, and some the thoughts presented surprised me. For example, Ms. Windsor ***Minor spoilers here, nothing really serious*** believes that the Bible is all about subduing and presenting women as evil and seducing men--and that women were abused and treated badly when they tried to please men by dressing up/using makeup/etc.

To keep the society going, "Committee" members force the girls and women into artificial insemination. The "Seed" is described as being a painful and gruesome experience. The male children are taken away; it never explains what happens to them.

As for the the writing, it was strong. I liked the narrative, and I could picture the bleak world they lived in well.

  • Plot:

I could predict some things that happened, but that doesn't mean it was weak. The plot was very good overall, and there were some surprises. The ending was satisfying enough, and lived up to the rest of the novel.

  • Characters:
I didn't know what to make of Keller. Sometimes she seemed like a determined person, and other times she was dragged along with the rest of the crowd, not really thinking for herself--I did not like her generally, but she was an interesting character to read about.

Laing wasn't sensible. She was desperate for attention, and popularity, and I much preferred Keller over her--however, she was an interesting representation of a kind of person from modern society.

Ms. Windsor was a scary person, and complex. She wasn't evil, precisely, just blinded by her opinions. And her opinions were extreme, going to the farthest end of feminism and women that you can go. I didn't like her, either, but she was a terrifying person to read about.

There are no characters that I really enjoyed--they all have their sides, some ugly, some dark, some noble, some twisted. But despite that I couldn't really like any of them, each has their own personality, which I appreciated.

  • Setting/Elements:

There are aspects to it that are thought-provoking (I know, overused phrase, but it's true) and it brought some interesting ideas on society and women.

The world was intriguing--I wanted to know more about it. It seemed like a rough environment, and I wonder where it was corresponding to current locations/countries; there were remnants of a "Time Before" that was clearly like the modern era.

Other: The descriptions of the "Seed" were disturbing; there's also violence, some language, cruelty, and references. It's not a very light read.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, if you want an interesting read on another perspective of women, and what it might be like in an all-female society.

-----The Golden Eagle


Christie said...

haha I was just about to ask you if you would follow my blog when I saw the the " I SHALL DELET COMMENTS THAT INCLUDE:" thing... WHOOPS!

Old Kitty said...

Gosh - I may look out for this book - sounds ever so intriguing and subversive and my kind of read!! Thank you so much for the info, review and intro!!!

take care

Susan Fields said...

I love your review - very informative! This book sounds like it has a fascinating premise and would be an interesting read. I'd prefer likable characters, though, I think that's what makes a book really hard for me to put down.

Milli said...

Wow, it sounds really interesting (with a hint of creepiness)..O'll be on the look out for this one!

Clarissa Draper said...

What a concept. I'm not sure I really agree with it but I think it could be neat to see how a world works with just women. I think it's kinda funny how magazines and makeup could last so long but...

Great review.

Donna Hole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Hole said...

I like Keller's take on the bible :)

I've never been big on utopian female societies. Maybe because I'm short and rather dumpy and could never envision myself as an amazon type :)

Still, the characters soud intriguing.


Mason Canyon said...

Interesting review. Sounds like a unique book. New to me, thanks for the review.

Thoughts in Progress

Misha said...

Hey, just dropped by to let you know that you won an award on my blog.


Samantha Vérant said...

Hmmm. An island populated only by women? A PMS nightmare waiting to happen! The premise feels a bit stale to me and questionable, but I'm not feeling well today so...

laughingwolf said...

left-handed archers are rare, methinks... thx for the review

Jennifer Hoffine said...

I requested this through my library. It does sound intriguing. Thanks for the review.

Jai Joshi said...

Sounds like an intriguing book! Thanks for the review.


Patricia Stoltey said...

This sounds like a good read, and I do love good reads. Thanks for the synopsis and comments. It has a very nice cover (and, yes, I've been known to choose books by their covers).

The Golden Eagle said...

Christie: I just prefer if the comments involve the post, rather than advertising.

Old Kitty: Well, if you decide to read it, I hope you enjoy the book.

You're welcome! :)

Susan: Thanks, Susan!

I don't mind it when the characters are completely "likable" since other factors play large (and sometimes bigger) roles in my opinion of a book. Good characters are a plus, though.

Milli: It is a bit creepy in places, and disturbing.

Clarissa: I don't really agree with the story, either, but it's an interesting idea.

I wondered that, too. And they started wearing the makeup, like it wasn't hundreds--I'm not really sure of the time, it just says "in the future"--of years old.


Donna: Ms. Windsor's, actually. She's very opinionated about it.

I just don't see how it could actually work in reality--for one thing, where are they getting the Seed? For another thing, it seems like the girls on the island would have discovered a way out after a while, no matter what happened.

I'm short, too. :P

They are intriguing--just not really someone you'd want to bond with.

Thanks for coming by and commenting!

Mason: You're welcome!

I enjoy spreading the word about books. :)

Misha: Thank you, Misha! :D

I'm posting tomorrow, and I'll be sure to mention it!

Samantha: They do mention that kind of issue--when the girls start having their periods with more than three at a time, they use the Seed.

It isn't as stereotyped as some stories are--the premise has been used before, but the story has a different perspective than others, IMO.

Hope you feel better. :)

Laughingwolf: I guess they are; and based on the way the society is described I don't think they'd tolerate much left-handedness . . . but the rest of the cover matches the book.

You're welcome for it!

The Golden Eagle said...

Jennifer: It's a good book--I hope you find it's worth the read!

You're welcome!

Jai: The ideas in it are interesting.

Anytime. :)

Patricia: Me, too. They're the best! :D

You're welcome!

I've chosen books based on their covers, too; some of them have returned on it, some have not. It can be hard to tell.

Hannah Kincade said...

This one has been on my to be read list for a long time. Thanks for the review. I think I'll move it a little higher!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

I'm with you on this cover; I have cover love with it! I'm one of those women who don't think society would be much different if we ran it (gasp!) .. there's still the power-hungry, envious, jealous, competitive, "I'll step on you if it gets me to where I'm going" mindset in both genders. This book DOES sound interesting; loved the review!

The Golden Eagle said...

Hannah: You're welcome!

Hope you enjoy the read!

Julie: I agree--both genders have many similar traits; it's just a part of human nature.

Glad you liked the review!