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The City We Became

(The City #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  40 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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 ·  93 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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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.
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
Sep 05, 2018 marked it as 2020-priority-tbr
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
2/18/19 WE HAVE TITLE! . I have a feeling she might explore genius loci agian.
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
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
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
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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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.
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.

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
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:
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
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
Paula Pergament
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair review.

N.K. Jemison creates a world in which New York City come alive, and five people, each representing a different borough, must save it from being replaced by a duplicate New York City existing in a different multiverse. Each borough's avatar features aspects of that specific borough's history and uniqueness. Ms. Jemison infuses the duplicate New York with the worst aspects of human behavior, highlighting the growing lack of civility and
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
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
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Battle royale for New York City! Can the avatars of NYC's burroughs face off and win against the the Enemy of Cities? Gentrification, racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and all the xenophobia of haters everywhere will do its level best to stop the heart of NYC with its feathery, menacing white light. Can Manhattan pay it off? Can Brooklyn talk it down? Can the Bronx stomp it out? Can Queens create the community to defeat it? Will Staten Island even try to fight? NYC's ...more
Dec 29, 2019 added it
Shelves: arc, own
DNF at 37%. I really wanted to like this. I've liked the other books by this author that I've read. And the story was interesting here. But this book mostly reads like a live letter to NYC. And since my familiarity with the city only extends to the one trip, I was just lost there. This book felt like Neil Gaiman came up with the idea, but Stephen King wrote it. And we know how King meanders in his story telling. So, DNF.
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not my favorite - I’m not a fan of New York so I guess I was pretty much destined to dislike it from the beginning. Not to say it isn’t good, because it’s NK Jemisin, so of course it is good writing. And the plot is creative, unique, adventurous, and takes a deep look into how the American government took over the land New York City sits on. There are racial, class, and other themes surrounding the plight of the city. It’s definitely a Jemisin novel. Just not for me.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
i wanted to like this because the concept was exciting and i am always here to hate on staten island, but this is just not a well written book. the prose was downright painful at times, and the actual plot of the story did not justify the length.
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mind. Blown.
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N. K. Jemisin lives and works in New York City.