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The City We Became: Book summary and reviews of The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

The City We Became

by N. K. Jemisin

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin X
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
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Book Summary

Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city from an ancient evil in the first book of a stunning new novel by Hugo Award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every great city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She's got six.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The novel is a bold calling out of the racial tensions dividing not only New York City, but the U.S. as a whole; it underscores that people of color are an integral part of the city's tapestry even if some white people prefer to treat them as interlopers...Fierce, poetic, uncompromising." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Blending the concept of the multiverse with New York City arcana, this novel works as both a wry adventure and an incisive look at a changing city. Readers will be thrilled." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Some of the most exciting and powerful fantasy writing of today...Jemisin's latest will attract...even those who don't typically read genre fiction." - Booklist (starred review)

"N. K. Jemisin has captured the living, breathing soul of New York City in a way that only a writer of her skill can. The City We Became is a masterpiece that plays by no rules-beautiful, musical, joyfully weird, and as impossibly fantastical as it is deeply true." - Peng Shepherd, author of The Book of M

"The City We Became is a raucous delight, a joyride, a call-to-arms, a revolution with plenty of dancing. Eat your heart out, Lovecraft." - Alix E. Harrow, author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

"Without a doubt, one of the most brilliant books I have ever had the honor of reading. An homage to New York City, packed with all its love and harshness, and so incredibly inventive that I felt my own imagination and the boundaries of what fantasy can be expand." - S. A. Chakraborty, author of City of Brass

"It's a glorious fantasy, set in that most imaginary of cities, New York. It's inclusive in all the best ways, and manages to contain both Borges and Lovecraft in its fabric, but the unique voice and viewpoint are Jemisin's alone." - Neil Gaiman

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Reader Reviews

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Reid B.

Wild and wonderful
Well! Huh! What was that I just read?

Well, it was wonderful, for one thing. It was inventive, original, engaging, humorous, and compelling. The City We Became crackles from first word to last with an energy perhaps unique to N.K. Jemisin, a sort of take-no-prisoners attitude toward the world she is writing which seems to say to the reader, "Keep up! Those left behind will not be rescued!"

Manny is a newcomer to New York City. But Manny was not his name a few minutes before he stepped off the subway in Grand Central. It was something else, but he's not quite sure what. Now, whether he likes it or not, he has been transformed into something entirely other. What that is will become clear quite early in the novel, but I would still rather not reveal what that is.

But he is not alone. New York is a big place, consisting of five boroughs, and all of them are hungering for rebirth into something bigger, something which represents what they are in their essence, worlds apart and yet joined irrevocably in one great whole.

All is not well in New York City, though. There is an Enemy which does not want to see the city thrive, change, grow, and grow strong. That strength is inimical to the Enemy's broader plan. Manny and his cohorts must face this challenge (with the help of a couple of friends who have some prior experience with a similar transformation). If they do not survive, much more than their lives are at stake.

And that is just the beginning. What makes Jemisin so consistently beguiling and compulsively readable is her ability to feel deeply into her characters and bring their fears, dreams, hopes, and existential exhaustion to the fore and into our hearts. It is a magic trick that amazes and gladdens me. May she write forever, or at least long enough to finish this trilogy! I desperately need to know what happens next....

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Author Information

N. K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin is the first author in history to win three consecutive Best Novel Hugo Awards, all for her Broken Earth trilogy. Her work has also won the Nebula, Locus, and Goodreads Choice Awards. She is currently a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, and she has been an instructor for the Clarion and Clarion West writing workshops. In her spare time she is a gamer and gardener, and she is also single-handedly responsible for saving the world from King Ozzymandias, her dangerously intelligent ginger cat, and his phenomenally destructive sidekick Magpie.

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