Reminiscent of The Giver but with a feminist twist, Nomansland is a powerful, shocking story that will challenge young readers’ perspectives and provoke much discussion over the timely and controversial issues presented.
Nomansland is a love it or hate kind of book. You're either going to love the symbolism and thought provoking nature of it, or you're going to hate the lack of action and dialogue-driven writing.
Personally, I loved it. Based on the synopsis, I was expecting more action. I mean, it's about teenaged equestrian archers fighting off men, right? Yes and no.
The story is a first person account of Keller, a young Novice Tracker, who discovers that the world she knew isn't what it seems. The writing was without flourish, but then, so was Keller and the world she lived in. The landscape was as harsh and grey as the society she was raised in; iron skies to match the iron fists.
What really makes this book stand out to me is the thought provoking views of femininity and the question: What does it mean to be a woman? To some members of the austere Foundland society, it means sneaking into the nursery where the girl children live to sing them to sleep; to others it means pinching your cheeks till their quite red in a forbidden attempt to look beautiful; but to most of the women, it is a mystery.
Keller was raised thinking that anything "feminine" was evil; they call these evils Pitfalls. There are seven Pitfalls: reflection, decoration, coquetry, triviality, vivacity, compliance, and sensuality. It is these seven rules that give the women their identity and keep them from dwelling on such trivial things as vanity and friendship, yet at the same time they cause their lives to be trivial and empty in a different way. The Pitfalls are seen as the very root of the weakness from the Time Before that Keller's society tries so hard to forget. Their women are one, they are unified, they are strong. Yet they are lonely. And they have no idea of the true power of women because they are raised in fear of their true selves, of every womanly inclination.