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 taleā€¦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.

The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

I’m copying over some reviews of titles I’d written up in 2018 and earlier, just in case these titles are new for other people.

The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin was one of the most interesting and original fantasy series I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and I’ve read a great many fantasy series over the years. These books have more in common with Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology than with anything written by Tolkien.
This author manages to do something that few others succeed in doing, weaving philosophy and political theory into the narrative without it ever feeling heavy-handed or taking away from the story.
Each of the three novels and the additional novella included in this anthology are very different tales, fully developing entirely different central characters with perspectives that never feel like they run together, while gradually fleshing out secondary characters that appear and reappear through all four pieces until the cast of characters all feel more like three dimensional beings than simply set pieces or plot devices.
The theology incorporated into the universe created by Jemisin is similar to one I had tossed around as a background for a book of my own, and I don’t think I could do it better.