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City of Words

(City of Words #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  34 reviews
One word changes everything.

The all-powerful ruling authority, the Common, implants sensors into its citizens, sensors into the eyes and into the ears. They can see what you see and hear what you hear, and everything is monitored and recorded. One wrong word, or action, and you can lose your citizenship, which means death.

This is the world that Alpha has survived in for t
Paperback, 316 pages
Published August 2015 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  64 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Just won this on goodreads giveaway!!!! Super excited!!! Just gave 4.5 stars!!! LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scify, dystopian, ya
"City of Words" a chillingly exciting new novel by Steven J. Carroll begins in the oppressive world of the Common where implants monitor the senses and memories are recorded. Alpha (aka 7-40-3) a thirteen year old shipped to the School from the infantarium at six has only known life under the dictatorship of the Common. Ranked as an instructor, the highest level at the School and having stayed under the radar of those in-charge for years, Alpha's loyalty is suddenly tested because of a dream tha ...more
Nov 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
Full disclosure: I received this book for free as part of the Goodreads First Reads program.

Dystopia wins hearts, and at least few are going to be won over by City of Words, the first book in a series about an oppressive government that micromanages the daily lives and opinions of its citizens. The plot is soundly structured yet very raw, feeling more like a potentially promising concept in its early stages than a fully finished product. Frenzied fans of dystopian literature may not mind the l
Gwendolyn Kensinger
Oct 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-ve-won
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

In today's society, individuals have freedom of speech whether it is in public or in the privacy of their own home. In Steven J. Carroll's novel, City of Words, there is no privacy. Set in the future, what you say can literally kill you. By placing implants into people's eyes and ears, the ruling class can monitor what everyone sees and hears. They can also invade your mind and show you false images and sounds. Alpha is a thirteen year old boy in
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopia
*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

First Impression: Brilliant cover, and a dystopian/post-apocalyptic society? Yes please.

Characters: The children of the future have no parents. They are bred to serve a purpose, and are just as disposable. Alpha and Theta have a charming friendship with a hint at the possibility of blooming love.

World Building: Step into the future in a world that is immersive without being overly so. Sometimes it's nice to know enough about th
D. Field
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won this book through a goodreads giveaway. My review is my own opinion of the book, not swayed by outside factors.

I enjoyed City of Words Steven J. Carroll did a good job creating characters and a story line that were interesting. I also thought that even though there are loose ends he did bring some resolution to the story which I like because sometimes in a series authors will leave huge cliffhangers which tends to annoy me. I look forward to reading the next book in this series so that I c
Aug 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway and I want to thank the author for taking the time to write a personal message inside as well.

The book begins with Alpha a young student who lives in a school ruled by the Common. Each citizen is implanted with an optical and audial sensors so that the Common can keep watch over them. Alpha is in the highest ranking but after a strange dream he begins to question things and is encouraged to escape the confines of the school. He soon realizes that the
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantastic start to a new dystopian series! (3.75/5 Stars)

City of Words features a dystopian society where citizens are implanted with sensors behind both their eyes and ears. These sensors allow the government, the Common, see and hear everything that the citizens hear and they are also able to control what they can see and hear. If someone uses a word that is banned or commits some action that is against the rules, they lose their citizenship which means death.

I was pleasantly surprised by this
Jenee Rager
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopian, 1st-reads, ya
I was intrigued by the premise of this book, just based on the blurb posted on goodreads. When I won a copy from goodreads and had a chance to read the story itself, I was pleasantly surprised. This is one of those rare books that the cover, and book blurb may actually turn people away from reading, what is a very good dystopian novel.

Alpha is raised in the Common, a futuristic society where the leaders have the ability to control your vision, and your hearing. Life is based on a system of demer
Zoe's Human
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a fairly solid piece of young adult dystopian fiction. It is clean in terms of language and sex. There is some violence, but it is neither graphic nor continuous. The dystopic society is one which many young readers will relate to well. While there are some moral lessons in it, they are gently and discreetly presented.

The most fascinating aspect of City of Words deals with sensory input. The concept of implants which both record and provide aural and visual information is not particularl
Lisa P
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway. This reminded me of a combination of books, including The Giver- the structure of society, censorship on things... The society that Alpha and Theta are part of is rather frightening, considering what's exposed as the story progresses. I liked the author's descriptions of things from a blindfolded perspective and figuring out what the objects were. Determining the geographic locations based on the descriptions was a nice touch, although I'm not too sure ...more
Burma Turner
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! It was very well written, very fast-paced. I love dystopian fiction, this is one of the best that I have read in a while. I found myself rooting for Alpha and Theta all the way. I can't wait for more from this author! Highly recommend for anyone who likes science fiction and dystopian! ...more
Steve Bender
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good YA dystopian novel. Interestingly, it pushes non-mortal ways to fight back against a tyrranical oppressor. It is a grim story and the first book in a series with mostly young protagonists. Good plot.
Jesse Broman
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Absolutely loved this book! If you like Dystopian YA Lit this is the book for you.
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
I received this book from a giveaway. Dystopian futures aren't a new idea and writers will always need to explore them because just like 1984 and Brave New World, writers need to warn people of what could happen, but also create haunting worlds for readers to enjoy. That being said, City of Words doesn't live up to that challenge. The ideas presented are unique, but the execution is poor. This book needed a developmental editor and copy editor tame poorly constructed world building, descriptions ...more
Donna Townsend
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
City of Words is the first in a Dystopian series which I found thoroughly entertaining. This book, like most of these series, is aimed at the YA/Teen market, but quite frankly this retired English teacher thoroughly enjoyed it.
Alpha is a 13-year-old living in a highly regimented world where his every minute is scripted. All the students are forced to witness a Retraction ceremony where a somewhat familiar man is executed, speaking the word “Revolution” as he is put to death. Within hours, Alpha
Dec 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book, but the ending did leave a bit to be desired, I assume due to a sequel. Will read the sequel
Ashley Kvasnicka
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Dystopian/Sci-Fi Fans
Before I get to my review, I would like to start off by saying that I received this book for free as a giveaway winner via (sponsored by the author/publisher/other individual or entity) and by no means does this impact my review. Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest. And with that, I thank you!

Actual Rating: 3.5/5

This book was good. Not great, but good. It had it's moments where I was comp
Jan 06, 2016 rated it liked it
I received this book from the author as part of a Goodreads giveaway. This hasn't influenced my opinion about the book.

City of Words was unique and frightening and really interesting. It's crazy to imagine a society that has total and complete control over your eyes and your ears making you see and hear what they want and them seeing and hearing everything you do. Alpha is young - younger than I keep expecting him to be. He has grown up in this society his whole life and it's all he has known.
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
The Common is all powerful; they can see and hear everything.
Life is how they dictate it to be until one word appears to the masses...Revolution.

I won this book as a Goodreads giveaway.

Alpha is a student of the School, where all children of the Common are forced to "study" and earn rankings. Theta is his friend and with a system of coded language, they begin to decipher what this revolution they witnessed could possibly mean to their way of life, with the help of a few allies.

I couldn't put this
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I got this book in a Goodreads giveaway

I enjoyed the basic concepts of this book such as the Common and the idea of audial and vision sensors. Alpha's connection with each of their other characters are so pure and genuine, especially as he tries to learn new words and concepts. This book is a dystopian novel and had some aspects of other dystopian novels. Alpha ran away from the school similar to the end of The Giver as well as fighting against the central "power" force, which happens in other n
Sarah Bee
Nov 04, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
I received this book through a giveaway the author had. But that does not affect the honesty of this review. I thought overall that this book was okay. The beginning was fairly confusing and jumbled. However, the middle of book did help clear up some of the confusion I had in the beginning of the story. The titles everything had and the vocabulary this society used was the most confusing part for me. I didn't really get into the story until the last few chapters. The characters were too
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Alpha is a 13-year-old who lives in a dystopian world where sensors are implanted by the government to monitor what you see and hear. One day he sees something he shouldn’t and his world changes. As he questions his world and things around him, his friendships become more important.
Steven has great characters and he has excellently described his world and political atmosphere.
However, there was a small portion of the novel that dragged a bit for me.
I don’t want to give too much of the story awa
Joseph Carano
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
I won a copy of this book on a Goodreads giveaway. I thought it was a very average book. The plot was pretty good and it was east reading, but the characters just did not interest or grab my attention.What really killed the book for me and dropped it to a couple stars, was the non-ending which was-end of book one. In other words, this is a series. What is it with all these series ? Can't a writer just write one story, end it, and then write a new story with new characters ? I for one am not awa ...more
Lee Parker
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this for free through Goodreads First Reads

I flat out do not like dystopian novels, and I keep reading new ones in the hope that I will find one that I like. It finally happened! The commons is terrifying, Alpha is heartbreaking, and all the other characters are just rounded out enough to make you care about them too. There are a few rough edges in the book, but in my opinion that made it more believable. Very much looking forward to more from Alpha and Theta.
Sally Hannoush
Feb 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This book had great ideas for the story but some parts dragged out too long for me and some parts seemed like they didn't fit at all. I enjoyed the simple thing such as needing to be taught "English" because the Common left their citizens without words. Having no control over you own eyes or ears and forbidden to speak some things out loud is no way to live but how can one know better unless he takes the change. There is a tragic twist ending that makes me wonder what will happen next. ...more
Bridgett Brown
Feb 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book and with a few changes it could be wonderful. It had great ideas for the story but some parts just dragged out. This is a fast paced dystopian. The characters were great. Steven J.Carroll creates such strong characters but I think it needs to be cut just a little bit.
Overall it's a good story, one I would like to see what happens.
Mary Nee
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
A suspenseful story about a world when one wrong word or action could cost you your life. A teacher who has been good for 13 years, is being tested. They even bring in the love of his life and it could cost her her life. What should he do?
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Hi, I'm Steven J. Carroll, a writer of fiction for young adults and pre-teens. I've also been an indie songwriter for many years, which was what honed my interests for writing.

My newest release is book two in a Young Adult, Sci-fi/Dystopian series called CITY OF WORDS. This novel follows the action-packed, suspense-filled journey of Alpha, as he tries to find a way to survive under th

Other books in the series

City of Words (2 books)
  • Mountain of Shadows

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