Null States by Malka Older
What I drank prior: Its Sunday and I was a lazy ass with Parker and watched football all day with tons of beer.
This is the second book in the Centenal Cycle so there may be a few spoilers for book 1, Infomocracy. If you’re interested in that one, see my review here.
While Infomocracy focuses on the elexction cycle for a micro-democracy, this book focuses on governing. A little background, this world has broken down into a micr0-democracy system that districts off 100,000 people into centenals. Each centenal has its own govt including policy driven ones, environment focused ones, and evencorporate ones like Phillip Morris. Elections are held every 10 years through the internet, or Information – an system where literally everything is recorded and information is available for any and all to use at any given time.
This story focuses on a few characters from Infomocracy like Mishima and Ken, plus expands on another supporting character, Roz. Roz is in DarFur helping them integrate into the globalized micro-democracy. On her first day, the fuggin governor is assassinated. Things go grom there.
So, I was concerned with expanding on a story that was intended to be a standalone. But, boy, Null States did not disappoint. I adore this world she has set up.
Characters: They are all so well developed, have unique character arcs and have clear motivations for their actions. LOVE IT.
- Mishima – STILL FUCKING LOVE HER
- Ken – STILL FUCKING LOVE HIM
- Roz – I love how her character developed over time. She did her job, she built relationships, and was able to see past her discomfort with an underdeveloped area and find the beauty. Also, MORE POC YAY!
- Suleyman – BAE
- Mihnze (i don’t think i spelled that right) – I figured something out in the middle that’s spoiler-y and I was RIGHT.
Plot: It’s the same slow burn that Infomocracy had, but this time because the story is going to cover over two books, it was a little slower. I feel like while i couldn’t actually say THIS HAPPENED in this book, a lot happened. Does that make any sense? Idk, beer is getting in the way.
Writing Style: This story is NOT one to read lightly. It is full and comprehensive and written at a super duper high level. With that said, it was still a wonderful writing style.
World Building: This built so much more on the first book. I learned what it was like to see a centenal in transition and ALSO what it could potentially be in a country without Information.
What to pair it with: I had the opportunity to meet Malka at her book launch (she’s wonderful btw), and she suggested pairing this one with a Chadian Whiskey or a Swiss Wine. I would definitely pair this with a full bodied red wine. SOmething that gets better with age, as this did as the story went on.
Rating: 4/5 Shots
COMMENT DOWN BELOW: Have you read either of these? What did you think of micro-democracy? Did it inspire any conversations with others?
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,