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The Cityborn

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Two young individuals must uncover the dark secrets of their stratified city in this suspenseful sci-fi standalone

The metal City towers at the center of the mountain-ringed Heartland, standing astride the deep chasm of the Canyon like a malevolent giant, ruled with an iron fist by the First Officer and his Provosts in the name of the semi-mythical Captain. Within its corro
Hardcover, 405 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Daw Books
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  103 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Nick Borrelli
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Here is my full review for Fresh Fiction:

If you liked Wool by Hugh Howey, you may dig this one as well.
Katelyn (Lost as Alice, Mad as the Hatter)
"The Cityborn can save us, but there are so many things that could go wrong."

Actual Rating: 3.5

The Cityborn is actually (dare I say it) somewhat unique for me in the science fiction meets dystopia book world. There is a city located in a huge floating structure. Within this structure's walls, there are 13 levels. And, each level represents a thinly veiled caste system. The 1 level is were the least amount of resources and jobs are allocated. Its problems range from poverty to drug trade.
Timothy Gwyn
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't buy a lot of hardcover books, but I have been determined to read The Cityborn ever since I heard the author read one of the opening sections; a riveting scene where a garbage scavenger strives to beat a dangerous gang to a valuable windfall. He gets way more than he bargained for.

This book is about a cruel and corrupted city, and about two young people who seem fated to change it. The worldbuilding is fascinating, and there is lots of well-written action. Vague spoiler alert: if you beli
Ale Esquer
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my goals this summer was to fix my sleeping schedule and actually go to sleep at a regular hour for once in my life. Unfortunately, a week into that plan, I won an ARC of the Cityborn (in exchange for an honest review). As soon as it arrived, my well-intentioned plans went out the window, and I’m now starting this review at an ungodly hour just after finishing it.

I really enjoyed this book, which surprised me after reading the first couple of chapters. The premise is incredibly stereotyp
Austine (NovelKnight)
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've finally read a dystopian that I've enjoyed. Well, I suppose it's technically sci-fi but it FELT like a dystopian with the whole world-ending, have to overthrow the government vibes.

The Cityborn is told from the alternating perspectives of Alania, raised on the highest tier of the city, and Danyl, raised quite literally in the trash well below the floating metal monstrosity. It took a number of chapters to really get into the story as the author begins when both are mere infants and takes a
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.

THE CITYBORN is fueled by its dystopian society. In a place only known as ‘The City’, there are clear lines between the rich and the poor. There can be so much intrigue to a class-ruled dystopia. It’s always fun learn about how these strange societies are built, and it’s even better to watch them fall. Unfortunately, the City was a cipher for too much of the book. If you want the reader to root for the demolition of society, you need the nitty-gritty d
Jessica Bronder
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The City is a large structure that is thirteen levels tall which has created a caste system. On levels one and two have those that are scrapping by to survive with the poor to drug addicts. Each level progressively gets better until level ten which is the prison. Those that go to the prison are never seen again. Level twelve houses the Officers and level thirteen is where you can find the First Officer, the one that rules everything with his power hungry methods and insanity.

Alania lives on lev
Alexander Sedge
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
TL;DR: Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. This story has a cool idea but far, far too much should have been left on the cutting room floor.

I picked this up because the excerpt on the back was *perfect.* It suggests things, implies a vast plot, tempting the reader without drowning them in info. And then, at the end... a hook. Goddamn!

The real story, unfortunately, overexplains like a grade schooler trying to get out of a pun
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Al i have to say is that i love it and i’m sad it’s over.
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-sf
Variation on the classic SF theme of spaceship lost on a planet, and inhabitants don't know what it really is. Brings to mind Michael P. Kube-McDowell's "Exile", or Heinlein's "Orphans of the Sky".
Hayden Trenholm
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
A great adventure that poses interesting questions about duty, freedom and destiny.
Sarai Henderson
This book really intrigued me with its cast kind of vibe. It reminded me of Garth Nix's Seventh Tower series that I read as a kid and loved. The story moved along quickly, but kind of got bogged down in the middle. It picked right back up again though, with awesome action scenes and suspense that will leave your mind blown. Four stars for The Cityborn.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, sf
In a world with limited resources, the Free Citizens are rebelling. The Officers have ruled with callous disregard for those on the lower levels, living in luxury and security while others must scramble to survive. And then there are Alania and Danyl, never quite fitting in and always wondering where they came from, and why the City is failing.

Can one sacrifice be worth the greater good? Where do you draw the line?

The characters are thoughtfully drawn, never falling into stereotyped roles. Alani
Nicole Luiken
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Strong pacing made this a fast read. Alania and Danyl are on the run from pretty much the instant they meet. They are also pawns that both the the rebels and the officers want to control, who don't fully seize their own destiny until the end. It was nice to read a dystopia/rebellion book that doesn't take three volumes to do accomplish everything.

Quibble: I saw one of the plot twists coming a mile away.
Maria Beltrami
In una strana città d'acciaio che lentamente si disfa, crescono due ragazzi. Lei ai piani alti, in un ambiente privilegiato, lui nei bassifondi. L'educazione di entrambi è curata in modo particolare dai rispettivi mentori, rendendoli quindi diversi dai loro pari, senza però che nessuno dei due ne capisca il motivo. A un certo punto però le cose iniziano a precipitare e i due ragazzi devono lasciare i luoghi che conoscono e, dopo essersi incontrati, partire per una "cerca" che li porterà a scopri ...more
Brian Palmer
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, science-fiction
This was the surprising read of the month. (Well, so far). I wasn't expecting that much from the synopsis: in an inhospitable wasteland, surrounded by mountains, the City dwells over a canyon, explicitly layered with a society that punishes dissent, even while the technological foundations are beginning to crumble. Only the Officers, those who dwell on the city's paradisial 12th layer, and the mythic city Captain, rumored to live alone on the 13th level, are above these petty problems. Alania, t ...more
Deborah Ross
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One thing I adore about good YA is the agency of the young people. That is, they make judgments, set their own goals, and demonstrate both persistence and resourcefulness. That describes the two central characters in this dystopic-sf novel. Having landed on a distant planet, a spaceship gradually transforms into a city, and then decays. While the officers clone themselves and then use nanobots to pass on their memories and skills to the next generation, the Captain has for various reasons not pa ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
While you are only left a little in the dimmness (believe me, events and possible events are never really left in the dark) at the beginning, the plot and action soon get going. Alania and Danyl are thrust into their destiny (rather stinkily; it's the trash dump aka The Middens so the smell is real; be grateful you never learn what's in the water) and from there are they have to determine if they want to follow the path others have chosen for them on or choose their own. They have to deal with g ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
It is another addition to the genre of impossible spaces (see my book on the subject :)): a novel taking place in some sort of confined or distorted space where the protagonists have to puzzle out the topology and find a way out. Christopher Priest’s “Inverted World” is a masterpiece of this genre; and of course, “Annihilation” (Vandermeer’s brilliant novel, though, sadly, not so much the movie). This novel does not measure up to its predecessors, even though the carceral City is well described ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Henry Lazarus
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Edward Willett tells of a city shaped like a spaceship out of fifties sf. Its five hundred years old and under it is a trash heap of the Middens. Two of the The Cityborn (hard from Daw)are a bit special Danyl was kidnaped from a special ward and another like him murdered. He was raised in the Middens as part of a plan to free the city from its captain and first officer. Alania, raised in luxury was out of the nursery when Danyl was taken and is being moved to the first officer’s quarters on her ...more
Clifford Quattlander
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
It could have been much worse, but it could have been much better, too. Too much information in one section, and too little in others. Part of the problem is trying to figure out what exactly The Cityborn is. It features a dystopian future, two main characters who may not act their age, a city with stratified levels, and a power-hungry tyrant. Aside from a few cases of profanity, it could be suitable for young adults. It may have been written for that audience. There are some interesting parts t ...more
Braden Koop
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, other-sci-fi
While the ideas in this book have great promise, nothing ever comes of them. Cityborn is also tonally all over the place. It can never decide if it wants to be a YA novel or a graphic depiction of a dystopian sci-fi disaster with brutal deaths and political intrigue.
Many of the characters aren't fully fleshed out save the main two and even then i didn't feel totally engaged with their endeavor.
All in all, a middling experience, but one that offers up a few good ideas along the way.
Ashley Clark
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Really enjoyed the overall concept, but felt the ending brought it down a star. 350+ pages for an ending that felt rushed and took about 2 paragraphs.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not sure why I wasn't more invested in this one but scanned through the second half just to see how it wrapped up.
Donna Farley
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
breakneck pacing, likeable young adult characters, fascinating setting.
Kali D Alston
rated it it was amazing
Nov 02, 2017
rated it liked it
Mar 31, 2019
Shayne Raven
rated it it was amazing
Jan 30, 2019
Jessica Velasquez
rated it liked it
Jan 14, 2019
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Edward Willett is an award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction for both children and adults.

Born in Silver City, New Mexico, Willett lived in Bayard, New Mexico and Lubbock and Tulia, Texas, before moving to Weyburn, Saskatchewan with his family when he was eight years old.

He studied journalism at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, then returned to Weyburn as a reporter

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