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The City We Became

(Great Cities #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She's got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs
Hardcover, 437 pages
Expected publication: March 24th 2020 by Orbit
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Chaima ✨ شيماء
There's still a lot to live for like N.K. Jemisin's new fantasy series about 5 New Yorkers coming together to defend the city from an ancient evil. I JUST KNOW IT'S GONNA BE A GOOD ONE!
S.A. Chakraborty
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt, one of the most brilliant books I have ever had the honor of reading. A brilliant homage to New York City, packed with all its love and harshness, and so incredibly inventive that I felt my own imagination and the boundaries of what fantasy can be expand.
Sep 05, 2018 marked it as 2020-priority-tbr
2/15/20 so close to the release date now! Can't wait!!!!
10/16/19 why is the release date still so far away :'(
9/8/19 Cover has been revealed! Am I in love with it? Nah. Will I still read the fuck out of this? Yup

(Side note: I have been posting updates about this for an entire year. If you can't tell, Jemisin is my fave ).
7/13/19 The release date has been pushed back to 2020
Rebecca Roanhorse
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully inventive love letter to New York City that spans the multiverse. A big middle finger to Lovercraft with a lot of heart, creativity, smarts and humor. A timely and audacious allegorical tale for our times. This book is all these things and more.

The story started a bit slow as our team assembles, but once our heroes are together (or as together as they're gonna be), it was a blast - sharp and insightful but also just fun. There are definitely some creepy and disturbing moments, and
Elise (TheBookishActress)
| releases: 26 Mar 2020 |
okay so. I love creepy city aesthetics, and this book is about a city with an actual living soul. which sounds so so amazing. I'm here for this!!!!
Alix Harrow
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want you to understand that you're not ready for this book. Even if you've read Jemisin's other work, even if you've read The City Born Great, which is the starting place for this book (

You're not ready for the fun and pop of it, the rhythm and beat. You're not ready for the wit and weight of it, the subversions that are both subtext and said out-loud. You're not ready for the cleanness and cleverness of the prose, the daring of it, the way the whole
Liz Barnsley
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Broken Earth trilogy turned into one of my favourite series ever so it was with a little trepidation that I entered New York City here to see what this author had come up with next…

I thought I was somewhat prepared given that I’d read the short story The City Born Great (which I would recommend doing, you can find it in the, “How Long til Black Future Month” collection and you’ll get a plethora of other wonderful tales to boot) but it turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg and The
Jan 02, 2020 marked it as to-read
One of the authors of the Forward Short Story collection I look forward to reading more from. Excited! ...more
Sierra Elmore
WAIT I believe this is based on her short story about cities? If so, I'm even more ready to read this book!
Leah Rachel von Essen
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-releases
The City We Became is N.K. Jemisin’s newest fantasy, coming out in March 2020. Based on a short story called “The City Born Great,” previously published in her incredible How Long ‘til Black Future Month?, the novel features the moment that New York City comes alive—but disrupted by a mysterious threat, is split into its five boroughs personified, avatars of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island, who must unite if they want to save the city—and, indeed, the world—from the ...more
Jonathan Strahan
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2020
A city that becomes itself. A story that's a dash of Do the Right Thing and splash of Yarrow or Mulengro or All the Birds in the Sky. A love story to a city that's also a team up, a call to arms, and a statement of joy. There's a dash -- maybe a dash too much (I'm not sure yet) -- of Providence, Rhode Island, but it doesn't overwhelm. A solid book and one that left me interested in seeing what happens in Paris and wondering if Los Angeles is next. 3.5 stars.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(view spoiler)
Dec 11, 2019 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts
Not only is this set in and about New York City, it's also got that Into the Spider-Verse aesthetic down, AMAZING
Mar 19, 2019 marked it as to-read
I'm pretty sure the short story, "The City Born Great," which was published on Tor and in her short story collection, How Long 'til Black Future Month? , is a prequel, or at least a taste, of what this book will be about, which would be amazing. I loved, loved, loved the short story! It is such an amazing concept. Only N.K. Jemisin could write a story about the true soul of a city while also speaking to social justice issues. I am SUPER excited for this book, but am so sad it got pushed back ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
FACE-MELTINGLY GOOD. Jemisin has a gift for writing concepts and plot points that leave you full of slack-jawed disbelief that you (or anybody else) didn’t think of them first - not in a competitive way, but in a brilliant-in-their-simplicity way. The City We Became, first in a new trilogy, is urban fantasy with a Lovecraftian twist, but neither of those genre labels are sufficient to capture what a big-hearted, assertive, energetic story this is - and frankly, it might be the greatest New York ...more
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an astonishing and brilliant book! I'm fascinated by cities, by what makes a city, embodies it, how we use them as machines for living en masse.
The City we Became is set in one of the greatest cities on earth - New York - as it stumbles into sentience as a person, an avatar of the city.
But not everyone in the multi verse welcomes this difficult process - there are entities that wish to stifle the city in its birth throes...
Imagine Neverwhere meets Lovecraft set in NY but with a sharper,
The Artisan Geek
Nov 29, 2019 marked it as to-read
I have yet to read Jemisin's work, so I'm putting this on my shelf, because I plan to read The Broken Earth trilogy next year! :)

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Jemisin is one of my all time favorite authors, so the fact that her next book comes out during my birthday month? Orbit said we're giving you everything you've ever wanted this birthday month.
Sep 01, 2019 marked it as to-read
I am super excited for this!!! This is based off one of my favorite short stories from How Long 'til Black Future Month?.

I am a little bit confused as to why there are already rating to this books though lmao. it hasn't even been released yet. did u guys travel to the future??? lmao
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is incredible. I rarely write reviews here or give five star ratings. I was completely immersed and entertained by this book. It’s so good.
K.A Plummer
Got an ARC of this book through work and let me tell you what, it’s so good. Honestly just add this to Jemisin’s already sensational catalogue. It was fun, funny, unique action and if you’re from New York, there’s a special level of pissed off you’ll get at the villain and what she puts out protagonists through. This story is so well written and well researched that there is no one that won’t feel a part of it. It has a little something extra for New Yorkers though, a thoughtful examination of ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully complex, radiant, and original book (that contains multitudes). Highly recommended!

Appeal: Richly detailed, atmospheric, strong sense of place

I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss for an honest review.
Doug Chase
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love N.K. Jemisin's books, I love New York City, and I love this book about the soul and personification of New York. The City We Became might just be my favorite book to be published in 2020. Tension, humor, great characters, with a guest appearance near and dear to me from Jersey City. I also got a little Wrinkle in Time vibe. This book is apparently the beginning of a trilogy, but it is completely satisfying as a stand alone novel. Read it and be happy.

Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic, my first N.K. Jemisin and I can't wait for more!
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Jemisin's work since reading an ARC of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms way back at what feels like the dawn of time. Some of her stories and worlds work better for me than others, but that's true of all writers. Until about 3/4 of the way through this book, I thought this was a solid, well-written urban fantasy/Lovecraftian horror that uses New York and its boroughs as a skillfully-wielded allegory about race and privilege and that it was good, but maybe not great and maybe ...more
Megan Bell
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
The newest from three-time Hugo Award winner N. K. Jemisin is an epic tribute to New York City that runs on pure adrenaline with a Lovecraftian back story and a hip hop backbeat. Five New Yorkers, some born to the city and others only recently arrived, find themselves the sudden manifestations of the soul of the Big Apple and the only ones standing between the city and its total destruction at the tendrils and tentacles of an eldritch city-eating horror. A big departure from The Broken Earth ...more
Miesha Headen
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read an advance review copy of The City We Became in 48 hours because the novel was that good. For longtime fans, Jemisin delivers what we love: mix and mash mythology, the cosmic birth of demigods, skin-tingling scenes of heroism, and artful prose in fantasy fiction. She adds a new element of humor and irony expertly applied. Rather than place this story in a make believe world, she places it in a new location with a old history, New York City. With the contemporary setting, comes more ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Electronic ARC provided by Edelweiss.

I had no idea what to expect from this book. I went into it trusting with no expectations, but trusting in N.K. Jemisin to make it amazing, and I was definitely not disappointed. While it does take a little while to establish the world and build momentum, "The City We Become" is a fantastic work of both creative storytelling and social commentary.

Based on Jemisin's previous short story "The City Born Great" (which can be read in its entirety here:
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jemisin is the best sci-fi/fantasy writer today. She is an incredible novelist that possesses an amazing imagination, and does not shy away from talking about the world we live in today. Which always leaves me in awe. Masterful. Visionary. Make it into a tv show stat.

This book is excellent. I was blown away by her use of people-are-cities battling an inter-dimensional invasion as an allegory for white supremacy in America today. A certain group of sci-fi/fantasy readers might not like this
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N. K. Jemisin lives and works in New York City.