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The City in the Middle of the Night

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,497 ratings  ·  378 reviews
"If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams... And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives."

Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endless, frigid darkness and blinding, relentless light, humankind has somehow continued apace -- though the perils outside the built cities are
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Tor Books
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Rita Marie It's billed as adult, but I thought it felt very much like a YA book. Some lead characters are "in school," whatever level of schooling that might be.…moreIt's billed as adult, but I thought it felt very much like a YA book. Some lead characters are "in school," whatever level of schooling that might be. (less)

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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,497 ratings  ·  378 reviews

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Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charlie Jane Anders writes prose that is infused with imagination, compassion, heartache, and a deep exploration of what makes us human. The City in the Middle of the Night is a huge departure from her first novel, All the Birds in the Sky, in almost every way: tone, rhythm, subject matter, milieu; but what the two novels share is Anders’ transporting, invigorating confidence as a storyteller. Anders trusts her audience to follow her as she spins a tale that unfolds with precision, presenting wh ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm caught in gravity's tug. I'm stuck between two massive bodies forever tidally locked. ; ;

You know those books that have that certain something that could make them truly great but then they stumble because of the characters within them?

Yeah. This is one of those novels. I can see and appreciate where the author is trying to go here with the characters so full of themselves, their ideals, or their misunderstandings of one another. It fits so nicely with the greater misunderstandings between t
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not since 2018's Blackfish City by Sam J Miller has a novel captured my imagination and enveloped me in a complete shroud of the other worldly as The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders by virtue of its intricate and epic world building.

Set many years into the future, mankind has taken to the stars in search of a new home. In January, they've found one, but the planet has a dark side; one which bathes half its surface in perpetual darkness while the other endures a never endi
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I received an advanced reading copy of The City in the Middle of the Night through a Goodreads giveaway. I was excited by the premise, and looked forward to reading my first Charlie Jane Anders story. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the experience.

I think The City in the Middle of the Night was aiming a little for a The Left Hand of Darkness feeling. Admittedly, I was primed for this comparison by a promotional quote on the back. However, I think the comparison of two anthropologically different
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
3.5 stars

I was a huge fan of Anders' debut novel, All the Birds in the Sky, and so I was really excited to read her new book. The City in the Middle of the Night is absolutely and completely different in every way. I'll be honest, it did take me awhile to warm up to it, but by the end, I was pretty much sold.

I did for the most part enjoy Anders' writing, and I liked the general idea of the story. However, I found the first half a bit difficult to engage with. I had a bit of trouble with the inc
Dannii Elle
Sci-fi is a hit or miss genre for me and, quite honestly, the term 'space opera' just fills me with absolute dread! However, this is also a genre I'm eager to expand my knowledge of. Charlie Jane Anders most recent standalone sci-fi seemed like a great place in which to start.

The book centres around a world that does not spin on its axis. One portion is subjected to a bitter, endless night and the other a searing desert plagued by never-ceasing sunshine. However, in the slivers of land that rest
Holly (The Grimdragon)
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
"I close my eyes and imagine that when I open them again I will have outgrown all of my feelings. Sometimes I clasp my eyelids until I almost see sparks."

Well.. fuck.

I'm a quick reader, this book isn't that long to begin with.. yet it derailed some of my TBR plans because it was seemingly endless. It just felt like a fucking slog to get through at times!

Unfortunately, this feels like an incredibly ambitious story that just didn't come together fully. It wasn't given enough room to breathe. It's
Daniel Greene
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This book manages to do everything well, without doing anything exceptional. It is like a solid dome. There are no real weak points, but nothing stands out to the reader. I do not regret reading it, but I am left wanting something more.

The most glaring weakness The City in the Middle of the Night suffers from is asking so many questions, without providing many satisfactory answers. The framing of a codependent relationship also became a bit... bothersome to deal with.

The strongest point of the
Nicky Drayden
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Geeky. Weird. Awesome. Ticked all my boxes.
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Nov 28, 2018 marked it as releases-2019
release date: 12 February 2019

me when i was like 12 is shrieking. i love planetary dynamics let me live
Wow. This book. All the stars. This is a science fiction novel steeped in the politics and prose of relationships. Humanity has arrived on a cold, tidally-locked planet, January, with searing sun rays on one side and constructed societies of survival in different pockets on the dark side of the planet with different rules and regulations. Trade has suffered and many ethnic communities perished on the generation ship on the way to January; the remaining society's class structure is still based on ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Many centuries in the future a portion of humanity has colonized the tidally-locked planet of January. The colonists live on the thin band of the terminator in perpetual twilight between the searing day and the freezing night. But after centuries the climate is becoming unstable, the space between the two main human cities is becoming more hostile and the native intelligent alien species have their own agenda.

In Xiosphant, a time-regimented city of brutal oppression, Sophie's infatuation with he
Susan Kennedy
This one really took me some time to get through. I really wanted to like it and there were parts that I did enjoy. Overall, it was a bit of a struggle to get through.

The characters were okay. Sophie and Mouth were the better characters while the others were just okay. None of them really stuck with me. I found Bianca to be quite annoying. It was almost as if she had several personalities and it drove me a bit crazy. Other than that most of the characters I found to be forgettable.

The story was
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A bit messier than her first (the smash-bang amazing ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY) but in ways that pay great homage to Ursula K Le Guin while pushing hard SF ever further into the future. A tidally locked planet, humanity on the edge of a breakdown, strange creatures and stranger stories.... there’s a lot in here and even when the going gets tough, it’s still well worth the going. Andrew Sean Greer’s blurb on the front is right: CJA is our generation’s Le Guin.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's tough to review this one without spoilers and still convey the essentials, because the worldbuilding is so unique, so let me give a one-liner first and you can choose to move one: An unqualified recommendation! This is a brilliant story with great characters and plot. AND, yeah, the world Anders creates is hostile, alien, and is written so you are immersed at once.

I'll still try to avoid spoilers, but if I fail, all apologies...

Great character-driven story set on a tidally locked planet, Ja
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Cities, Colonies, Past, Present
January 14, 2019

We dream of colonizing the stars. Or being colonized. Or simply contacting other sentient beings. We look up on a clear night and reject the ancient notion that we are all alone. We understand too much to accept that.

But some of us still insist on it and that insistence could constrain our ability to recognize realities.

Charlie Jane Anders has chosen to pursue that particular human blindness as the basis for the situation in her new novel, The City
This book was sent to me by the publishing house for an honest review.

This book was so intriguing and interesting! It reminded me of Brave New World, which is one book I adored. I couldn’t give this one more than 3 stars though, because I didn’t connect with any of the characters. However it was super easy to read and follow, and I believe if you love adult sci-fi you’ll love this one. Also it has two f/f relationships, but they aren’t explicit, which I thought was sad — we need this kind of rep
DNF at 50% Perhaps I’ll try again another day as I understand the second half is better.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear. The pace is slow, the prose lovely - I do like the way CJA writes - but I was never won over by the protagonists (or their terrible toxic relationships) and so it felt awfully long. There was so much along the way that intrigued me, except the characters, and this is more of a character study and coming of age than a save the world from political insanity and climate apocalypse story. So much world to explore, with a considered history of two races, but this is set in a time when most o ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
It takes longer than you'd expect to figure out what kind of book exactly you're reading when you read THE CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. It doesn't follow the rhythms and patterns you might expect, every so often the whole plot gets thrown on its head, and sometimes it seems that the only constant is the small group of characters at its center. But eventually, when the book is done, you can look back on it and see the tapestry it's been weaving all along the way. It's a story of friendship an ...more
Apr 02, 2018 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts
COVERRRR. The answer to when I will get tired of covers featuring cityscapes is never


'If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams...And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives.'

Oleksandr Zholud
This is the SF novel by Charlie Jane Anders, who won Nebula and Locus and was nominated for Hugo for All the Birds in the Sky.

The planet January is tidally locked, which means that one side is scorched with immense heat, while the other is frozen and the life exists only on a thin line between these extremes. There are Earth’s colonists (over 20 generations), living on the line. We start is the oldest city, Xiosphant that has rigid rules, totalitarian commune-like (fixed professions, ten kinds
Paula Lyle
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
This is definitely an interesting premise, but it just doesn't go anywhere. The same people keep being horrible in the same way and the other people always believe they are going to change.

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me 147 times and it's just boring."

This feels like the beginning of a series, but I won't be back.
Leah Rachel von Essen
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The City in the Middle of the Night is the gorgeous new science fiction novel from Charlie Jane Anders. The novel, which is reminiscent of The Left Hand of Darkness, has exquisite world-building: on one side of the city lies night, dark and frigid, on the other side, day, bright and fiery. Humans have eked out an existence in these tough conditions, but it can be an oppressive one. In a city where even sleep is regulated, Sophie and Bianca have always been a rebellious pair; Mouth is the last su ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well I really loved this measured thoughtful look at how colonists have turned their world into a horrible dystopia

Full review
Dianne Trautmann
Mar 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
If someone handed me this story and said this is a draft for a book, I would have said that with some polishing and editing and maybe even some rearranging (the end should have been in the middle of the book) I would have said that there was potential for a decent sci-fi story. I feel that several of the named creatures have 'place-holder names' that don't really match up with their brief descriptions.

World building is hard work.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
COVER ART !!! ❤❤❤ love love the cover art on this book. The cover art also symbolizes the plot of the book.. Two cities and the people, partially in darkness and light, and the gray in between.

The story is told from alternating points of view: Sophie and Mouth. The setting is in the future on another planet. Have you ever had a friend that you loved more than anything? For whom you would sell your soul? That you love maybe more than as a friend? Meet Sophie, a young student living in a city tha
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I'm incredibly conflicted on how to rate this book. It's 5 stars for the overall concepts and themes--it's incredible--but the characters? I didn't care for almost all of them and the dialogue/character stories were almost on the annoying side.

Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

It's been a hard time trying to collect my thoughts around this book. On the one hand, it's a really fascinating look at a new planet and what it means to be human and a majority female cast, but on th
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: eagerly-awaited, 2019
This is a dazzling example of overambitious reaching, a novel with a lot of potential that just couldn’t seem to commit to doing anything right. After slugging my way through this exhaustingly off-paced, agonizingly confusing sci-fi novel lets just say I’ve sworn off reading anything else Charlie Jane Anders writes.

For a little extra kick in the gut I had this shelved as “eagerly awaited”, but now I can’t believe how soon into 2019 I’ve found my most disappointing let down of the year.

City in
Holy fuck monkeys, you guys. This book is AMAZING.

I am generally enthusiastic about books that I read; for the large part I don't pick things up if I don't think I'll like them. But this. Oh reader. I was a shivery mass of human when I finished this, excited and just so suffused with happiness.

It's not perfect. There are criticizable things, as with all books. But it left me so sated and yet wanting so very much more of this world and of Anders' wide, wise thinking. There are plenty of people o
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong edition type 3 17 Feb 16, 2019 03:48PM  
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I'm the author of All the Birds in the Sky, and the forthcoming The City in the Middle of the Night. Plus a short story collection called Six Months, Three Days, Five Others, and a novella called Rock Manning Goes For Broke.

I’m probably the only person to have become a fictional character in a Star Trek novel and in one of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books.

I used to write for a site calle
“The only thing that makes life tolerable is that people forget most of the stupid things I say as soon as I finish saying them.” 2 likes
“Hernan always says that a perfect moment of beauty can last forever. But maybe some moments are so ugly that they never end, either. All you can do is be patient with yourself.” 2 likes
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