Fiction - Dystopia
239 Pages
Reviewed on 08/11/2022
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Author Biography

Drawing upon her experiences and the backdrop of life growing up in the Virgin Islands, Nanette L. Avery is an eclectic author who transcends many genres. Acclaimed by Forward Reviews for her impressive tribute to the Southern Gothic in A Curious Host, her latest novel, Blank, pulls the reader into a world of dystopia. Nanette lives outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and orange cat. (And eats ice cream every night before bed.)

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ammaarah Seboa for Readers' Favorite

Blank by Nanette L. Avery is by far one of the most interesting novellas I’ve read. Imagine the world just reset itself, everything goes blank, and mankind can’t remember the past. No one knows how much time has passed since the blank, no one remembers much of the time before it. Set in the far future where the world has resorted to a dystopia, and seeds are used to barter for goods, we meet the sisters Danube and Amazon Rivers along with brothers Alabama and Nebraska Bailiwick. The four youths grew up in the same town and one day they stumbled across the mysterious Alice, who appeared out of nowhere. But unlike the four and their mundane lives, Alice has her own mission and sets forth in her new normal.

Told in the third person while displaying multiple character points of view, Nanette L. Avery’s novella Blank echoes the tale of Alice in Wonderland combined with The Lost City of Atlantis. I say this because the world everyone knew before is gone, and the one they have woken up in operates by a completely different set of rules. To give us some background, the story switches between the present and the past, and there’s even a chapter in which I applaud Nanette’s genius! The story was not rushed but really well-paced. There are quite a few pieces of advice to take away from this book, my favorite being: “The present is stagnant until I make a choice.” I think this quote alone sums up the story and how choice plays an important role in what the main characters go through. A beautiful 5 stars!

Nicholus Schroeder

Blank by Nanette L. Avery is set in a dystopian version of Earth. No one remembers what life was like before “it” happened nor does anyone seem to care. What “was” has passed and what “is” matters more now anyway, or at least that’s what most believe. Young Alice, however, unlike the rest of humanity, knows how the world came to be in its current state. She must be careful though as the powers that be don't want her to upset the new “norm” that they’ve established. She could be branded a heretic and silenced because of what she knows. Alice's existence may very well destroy what humanity has rebuilt, but she must complete the mission she was entrusted with by her parents at any cost.

Blank really piqued my curiosity with its ever-present shroud of mystique. Nanette L. Avery deliberately held back on overly descriptive explanations as to how the world came to be in its new state. Such a decision is a risk but when it pays off the end result is a story that keeps drawing you in. This time around it paid off big time as I refused to take a break until I knew what had happened to the world. That choice also had a role to play in keeping me interested and guessing, as the obscurity behind what exactly happened was unveiled in tidbits. The change of perspective between characters was something else I liked as I got to appreciate the author’s style of writing and world-building skills as a result. When having the entire story presented from one character's perspective, I find that world-building and places of interest are two areas that tend to suffer as all the reader has is a keyhole view or a vignette of the author's world. All in all, this was a stimulating read for me, and I believe readers in search of a new and entirely fresh take on the dystopian genre will enjoy this book.