The City We Became

The City We Became

Book - 2020
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Three-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin crafts her most incredible novel yet, a "glorious" story of culture, identity, magic, and myths in contemporary New York City.

In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn't remember who he is, where he's from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power.

In the Bronx, a Lenape gallery director discovers strange graffiti scattered throughout the city, so beautiful and powerful it's as if the paint is literally calling to her.

In Brooklyn, a politician and mother finds she can hear the songs of her city, pulsing to the beat of her Louboutin heels.

And they're not the only ones.

Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York? She's got six.
For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out:

The Inheritance Trilogy
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Broken Kingdoms
The Kingdom of Gods

The Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition)
Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction)
The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella)

Dreamblood Duology
The Killing Moon
The Shadowed Sun

The Dreamblood Duology (omnibus)

The Broken Earth
The Fifth Season
The Obelisk Gate
The Stone Sky

How Long 'til Black Future Month? (short story collection)

"A glorious fantasy." --Neil Gaiman

One of TIME Magazine 's 100 Best Fantasy Books of all time
One of TIME Magazine 's 100 Must-Read Books of 2020
One of Vanity Fair 's 15 Best Books of 2020
One of Amazon's Best Books of 2020
Publisher: New York, NY : Orbit, [2020]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780316509848
0316509841
Branch Call Number: URBAN FANTASY JEMISIN
Characteristics: 437 pages : illustration ; 24 cm

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LPL_LeahN Apr 13, 2021

A gritty, funky, sometimes creepy ode to the Big Apple, this book made me want to visit NYC. N.K. Jemisin has an apparently common love/hate relationship with the city and was able to make it shine in the realest way. The characters are layered, the premise totally original, and the ending leaves... Read More »

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LPL_LeahN Apr 13, 2021

A gritty, funky, sometimes creepy ode to the Big Apple, this book made me want to visit NYC. N.K. Jemisin has an apparently common love/hate relationship with the city and was able to make it shine in the realest way. The characters are layered, the premise totally original, and the ending leaves you sufficiently gobsmacked and primed for whatever is next in the Great Cities series.

b
BeauCoquelicot
Jan 25, 2021

Get ready for a wild magical realism rollercoaster. This book is a work of art and genius! Reads like the HBO version of 'Lovecraft Country,' which came after this book (so maybe (likely) the show was influenced by this book).

ArapahoeJohanna Jan 15, 2021

This was my first N.K. Jemisin novel, and it's easy to see why she's so popular. The world-building was deftly woven into the plot, creating an intricate mythology that feels natural and obvious despite its novelty. The characters are all deeply complicated and flawed, but so deeply human that they're easy to connect with and care about. The plot is non-stop- The City We Became hits the ground running, and the action doesn't let up.

I won't say it was an easy read- there's a lot of reality mixed in with the fantasy, and some of it's so relevant to the current moment that the book stops feeling like escapism. I'm sure there are other Jemisin novels to turn to if you're feeling overwhelmed by the current political and social turmoil in the US, but this novel doesn't shy away from real-world racism, homophobia, sexism, and xenophobia. The New York in this book is just as conflicted and complicated as the real one. It's an incredible novel and I can't wait for the next one, but I'm glad to have a break so I can recuperate before launching myself back into this world!

LoganLib_Sheridan Jan 11, 2021

It took me a little while to get into this story and then it had me thinking what my city would be like if it was a person. I can't comment on the accuracy of the depictions in this story though I'm getting the vibes that maybe the author doesn't love Statton Island.

The issue of race and racism is definitely a big one throughout the book. The bad 'guy' is literally a white amorphous thing that travels through racist white people amplifying their racism. Jemisin is not pulling punches.

I like that the book doesn't just explore the personality of each borough but the relationship between not just them but international cities and I look forward to seeing this more as the series progresses.

The whole multidimensional war thing is a bit weird but I can see it going in a wonderful direction with cities banding together in a wonderful "we must work together as a global community" message that I look forward to seeing.

d
DianeSeiler
Dec 29, 2020

I love all of N.K. Jemisin's writing. This one was different from her other fantasies, but so much fun! The book has a sort of graphic novel vibe that suits the subject matter and characters. I listened to the CD audio book, and although the reader didn't inflect the same way I heard the words in my head, which took some getting used to, she did such a fabulous job with the various accents and personalities that I wound up enjoying her performance thoroughly. (Oh, and if you listen to the CD audio book, be sure to listen all the way through the credits at the end - best credits ever!)

Hillsboro_RobP Dec 09, 2020

A powerful and weird tale of alternate universes, epic villains and unassailable New York personalities. Jemisin is an exceptional writer with both the talent and the ideas to take on our world within the bizarre confines of her own.

k
KatG1983
Sep 21, 2020

The City We Became is original, imaginative and contains some really beautiful moments of prose. I will admit it took me about 100 pages to fully immerse within the story and feel like I understood what was going on, but I did get sucked in after that. I do think the book is a little over-stuffed, and could have benefitted from a heavier editing hand - there's *a lot* of descriptive paragraphs that don't necessarily push the plot forward. However, overall the book is quite delightful, and the different personalities of NYC struck me as incredibly accurate.

multcolib_rachaels Sep 19, 2020

Very different from the other books by Jemisin I have read - the setting is contemporary, and it's replete with cultural references. While it is a response to Lovecraft, it is not *at all* like Lovecraft - it's lively and the characters are rich. A great read.

OPL_DavidD Sep 12, 2020

I love science fiction and fantasy stories about the nature of modern cities. Jemisin is one of the best writers working today, so its cool to her lyrical and thought-provoking take on that subgenre. The large and diverse cast of characters come together to face racism and gentrification head on, which felt very satisfying to read this year.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Aug 24, 2020

Jemisin. She is just that good. While this is entirely its own thing, it will appeal to fans of fantasy with a strong attachment to place: Gaiman's American Gods and Aaronovitch's Rivers of London.

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