The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

The City We Became is vastly different from the other books I’ve read by N.K. Jemisin. She manages to put the “urban” in urban fantasy in a way I’ve never seen from another author aside from maybe James Blish’s Cities In Flight (Okie) series. The urban fantasy tale is a huge departure from the straightforward fantasy I’d been accustomed to from Jemisin while adding a nice touch of cosmic horror into the mix.
Take a little bit of L. Frank Baum and a bit of Neil Gaiman and add a whole lot of the worldbuilding and myth creation fans of Jemisin are already familiar with, and you’ll end up with some idea of what The City We Became has in store for you. It’s as much a character study as a sweeping, grand fantasy tale…another thing fans of Jemisin should be expecting.
Jemisin fills this book to the brim with social commentary on a wide variety of topics from gentrification and art criticism to racism (overt and subtle) and mistrust of law enforcement. The six primary characters (representing the five boroughs as well as one individual representing the whole of New York City) take on lives of their own even as they come together and find their place in the synergy of a whole.
I will admit that I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as I’ve enjoyed the Inheritance and Broken Earth trilogies, but it’s only the first book of a series that I certainly still enjoyed enough to read what’s still to come.

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