Cécile C.'s Reviews > Zoo City

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
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's review
Aug 26, 12

bookshelves: fantasy, science-fiction
Read in August, 2012

Original urban fantasy (or SF... or something in between), that follows the codes of the genre (badass heroin with a sharp tongue, a tumultuous sentimental life and at least a foot in the shadow-world/underworld, magical creatures and the occasional gangster), with its own original voice.

The plot is rather complicated, but its one of those cases when you're not supposed to follow everything that's going on, I suspect, and for a good reason: the heroin herself does not always follow what happens to her, but rather seems to try to hang on as best she can. Zinzi, the heroin, is a compelling character, refreshingly strong (and by that, I don't mean "strong" on the paper but actually full of weaknesses and vulnerabilities and who eventually screws up badly and gets rescued by a man; she really is strong, period). She's a very good guide through the intricate world of the novel. The mixture of harshness and desperation embodied by the animal familiars (who represent the various characters' guilt) takes an extra layer of depth through her eyes: instead of seeing merely tough badass gangsters, we see broken lives, changed forever by the materialisation of the crimes the characters committed at their side.

As for the plot itself, I saw it more as a pretext to take the reader on a tour through a complex world. The core story (a vanishing teen star) is complicated, and wouldn't be quite as interesting in a different setting. But that doesn't matter: the characters, their pasts, their animal familiars and their city are fascinating enough.

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