This is a political science fiction thriller set in a future world where countries are replaced by units of 100,000 people called centenals. This is referred to as microdemocracy. Each of these centenals is able to vote on their own form of government, and the government with the most centenals (known as the supermajority) acts as the intergovernmental peacekeeper.
Ken is working on the campaign for Policy1st, who believe that you should vote for them based on policy, and is unique from other governments in that policy rules, not a singular particular person.
Mishima works for Information. Information has replaced TV, radio, and internet. It’s built into handhelds and visual chips. You use it to pay for things, see the history of various objects around you, read news feeds, watch advids. Basically, Information is working to give the people all the information they could ever want. I saw them as truth keepers.
Ken and Mishima are brought together by the circumstances of their pre-election work, and kept together by a twisting turning election conspiracy.
This was a world hopping adventure. We get to visit Tokyo, Lima, Paris, the Adapted Maldives. The settings were kept interesting and worked well with the plot given that country borders aren’t really a thing anymore. I also enjoyed the world building, the tech and gadgetry were cool, but it’s most definitely the societal and political structures that stole the show.
The characters were fun and fairly diverse (more diverse than most books for sure). I adored Mishima right from the start. She’s a no nonsense, don’t take no crap from nobody, kind of character that I couldn’t help but respect. Ken took longer to grow on me I think because he’s sort of just a go with the flow kind of guy. It was hard to know where he really stood on anything.
The plot definitely kept me guessing. It takes right to the end to see how everything fits together, but the ending is the part that I had the most issues with. It felt very rushed, and it sucks because we’d been treated to such a high level of detail prior to that. It was almost like her publisher gave her a word count she couldn’t exceed and as she neared it she just cut chunks out of the ending instead of trimming earlier parts of the novel and balancing it all. Those last two chapters just didn’t fit with the rest of the book.
I still have some burning questions about other details too. A lot of it has to do with the tech. Mishima uses some different tools for her work that are given some misleading names (e.g. crowd cutter?) and I couldn’t piece together what they were or how they worked.
But I mostly enjoyed it and never found it difficult to pick back up or wanting to put it off, so 4 stars for me. I will definitely pick up Null States.