Zoo City

Zoo City

Book - 2011 | Special trade ed
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Zinzi has a talent for finding lost things. Being hired by famously reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum of the criminal underclass. Set in a wildly re-imagined Johannesburg, it mixes refugees, crime, the music industry, African magic and the nature of sin.
Publisher: Nottingham, UK : Angry Robot ; New York : Distributed in the United States by Random House, Inc., 2011
Edition: Special trade ed
ISBN: 9780857662163
Call Number: SF BEUKES 2011
Characteristics: 383 pages ; 22 cm


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Jan 30, 2017

Both the setting - South Africa - and the premise - people who have caused someone's death are cursed/blessed with a spirit animal that gives the extra powers - make this an exciting and unusual urban fantasy novel.

Sep 11, 2016

I read this book more than a year ago, and it's really stayed with me. What a creative, odd, memorable piece of writing.

Feb 08, 2015

Very good but definitely gritty. Being an outcast in a future Johannesburg is not easy or pretty. Very good writing and gives a great "feel" of the city and the complex people who live there.

KateHillier Dec 08, 2014

Very interesting novel. It's a noir for sure but it's set in Johannesburg and it's sci-fi bent is that certain people have animal familiars. At first I thought it was some "His Dark Materials" knock off but it really isn't. Only certain people have them but it's to do with a crime and the animals that they are paired with sort of depends on the level of guilt/the offence. The protagonist, Zinzi December, has a Sloth and she is essentially responsible for the death of her brother. She's living in a slum known as Zoo City and gets by writing 419 scam emails and using the psychic ability that comes along with being 'animalled'. It's different for everyone but hers is finding lost things. She prefers to find objects but she ends up taking a missing persons case out of desperation to pay off her former drug dealer.

It's the world that gets you invested more than the story does but it's still great fun.

May 20, 2014

Superb! Riffing on Phillip Pullman, pop music, and about a million other juicy themes, well written and original. Award-winning, and deservedly so.

May 22, 2012

sci fi club read - very good

Clsomers Jan 05, 2012

This book drew me in from the very first page. Zinzi has such a clear voice, and every detail of the scene was so detailed and vivid, while still being effortless to read, that it made me feel like I disappeared into the story. Some books are just a bit smarter, with ideas that are more creative and clever, than others. When you add a great deal of interesting real-world issues to give the story a lot of depth, it makes a book very special. From the unique magical elements of the animals to the real world issues of poverty, war, drugs and much more, this book cover the gamut of ideas but it all worked really well together with a perfect balance of adventure, seriousness, humor, excitement, thoughtfulness and mystery.

This book is a serious novel that happens to be urban fantasy. Although it has some magical elements, but I think that a lot of people who don't normally read fantasy would really enjoy it. I'd even gamble that it would appeal to the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo crowd. For one thing, the South African setting is very interesting to those of us who are not from that country. And the book is could even be categorized as a noir style mystery. The fantasy elements, primarily the animals, are a tool used to tell the story, and it's really interesting, but unlike some urban fantasy books, it isn't all that's going in here. It isn't like with a book about vampires where if you aren't normally interested in vampires then clearly you'd be out of luck. The heart of the story is Zinzi and what she's going through, about life in South Africa for a woman who needs a second chance, and about her trying to unravel these mysteries. Zinzi certainly isn't your everyday hero, she's made and continues to make a lot of mistakes, But there's something likable about her too, something very relatable. Something very, "but for the grace of God..." Anyway, consider giving the book a try, even if urban fantasy isn't your normal cup of tea.

Jun 21, 2011



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