The City We Became

The City We Became

Book - 2020 | First edition
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"Five New Yorkers must come together in order to save their city from destruction in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin. 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. When a young man crosses the bridge into New York City, something changes. He doesn't remember who he is, where he's from, or even his own name. But he can feel the pulse of the city, can see its history, can access its magic. And he's not the only one. All across the boroughs, strange things are happening. Something is threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Orbit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, 2020
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780316509848
Call Number: SF JEMISIN 2020
Characteristics: 437 pages : illustration, map ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Can the newly sentient boroughs of New York City come together to defeat a tentacled horror?

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.

multcolib_alisonk Apr 21, 2020

In a story that feels oddly prescient of Corona virus time, New York City is under attack by a many-tentacled invader that spreads like a virus. Fighting for the home team are 5 not-so-super heroes, each of them the embodiment of one the boroughs. Can Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, and S... Read More »

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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.

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.

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.

JessicaGma Aug 18, 2020

I'll freely admit to being completely over stories about New York, but I did like this one which was SO NY. I am sure there were jokes and observations that completely escaped this poor Canuck. But this is definitely one of the most unusual books I have read in a long time where people become the avatars of cities when the city passes a certain point of growth - lots to think about there. And it's the start to a trilogy so I am here for more about this whole universe

IndyPL_SteveB Aug 03, 2020

Wow. Jemisin continues to write stories that are different from anyone else’s. This urban fantasy love-letter to the City of New York opens up new ground again. It’s the first of a trilogy, and I’m hooked.

When cities become large enough, with a distinctive culture and attitude, they become *alive*, with a soul of sorts that becomes linked to a human “avatar.” But it seems that some Lovecraftian power from another universe also battles against the formation of Earth cities, trying to destroy their avatars before the city can become whole. Since New York is five cities in one (the five Boroughs), five new avatars are created. They don’t just become representatives of their cities – they literally become *the personification of the city*.

By itself, the plot and characters would make this an enjoyable novel. But Jemisin has many things to say about what creates a culture, what makes a city worth living in, parenthood, art, sexuality, race, and survival. She is an intense, creative user of language. And she sure loves New York. If you like fantasy, this will make your brain cells dance.

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