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The City We Became

(Great Cities #1)

by
4.02  ·  Rating details ·  20,873 ratings  ·  4,107 reviews
Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city from an ancient evil in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every great 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 six.


But every city also has a dark side. A
...more
Hardcover, 437 pages
Published March 24th 2020 by Orbit
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  20,873 ratings  ·  4,107 reviews


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Regan
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
literally amazing
Victoria Schwab
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy shit, this book was so weird, and so good.
chai ♡
find this review & others on my blog

New York might be born in the world only to be shown right out of it.

Early in The City We Became, New Yorks human avatar, a young queer Black man living in the streets, tries to salvage the City, to hold the breaking jar, keep his fingers over the cracks, but a battle with the Enemywho sent forth the police as its harbingershad worn him to little more than edges. He is weak and unsteady as moonlight on water, and the City was a candle that might burn
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Nataliya
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
I have hated this city. I have loved this city. I will fight for this city until it wont have me anymore. This is my homage to the city. Hope I got it right.
~ N.K. Jemisin

I always start a new book by a favorite writer with a bit of trepidation: Please be good, please stand up to the earlier ones, please deliver that satisfaction that you tend to feel after reading something that is solidly strong writing. With her Broken Earth books N.K. Jemisin touched something in my soul that has never been
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Nilufer Ozmekik
Oh no! I think this review will earn me so much glances, hater looks, curses and a unique place in the minority because when you get one of your favorite authors book into your hands, you get excited, hardly slow down your heart rate and want to devour it at few bites! You truly expect more and deserve more because you know what the author is capable of and how unique talent she is. So this is first for me giving three stars to one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Stop booing me or ...more
S.A. Chakraborty
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.
carol.
Surprisingly underwhelming for me. Admittedly, I'm not a huge new-adult fan, and this has 'coming-of-age' plot line all over. I was also surprised that there was a strong Lovecraftian vibe going on here--add this to the growing body of work subverting Lovecraft's (white) universe. So perhaps there were a couple flavors that were not intriguing to my reading preferences. On the other side, I like N.K. Jemisin, and one of her books is in my top twenty list. I'm also fond of NYC in its many ...more
Alix Harrow
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 (https://www.tor.com/2016/09/28/the-ci...).

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
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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Nope. On to the next. Dont ask me! Sometimes I love her books and sometimes I dont 🤔🤨



Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
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Rebecca Roanhorse
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
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Claudia ✨
"I sing the city."

When I first read The Fifth Season, it was like taking a cold shower - almost like waking up, since I had no idea that you could actually write like that. But N.K. Jemisin doesn't play by the rules; instead she creates her own, stomping all over both genres and everything binary to create something amazing that is purely hers. I love it, and I love her. That's why it broke my heart when I didn't find myself in love with The City We Became.

All remarkable cities have souls, and
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Anne Bogel
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easily one of my favorite books of the year, and I'm grateful this is the first installment of a planned trilogy. How soon till I can read book 2?

Every city has a soul, and the great cities of civilizationlike Rome, Athens, São Paolofinally reach a point when they come to life. Now its New Yorks time to be born, but the city itself is too weakened by a gruesome attack to complete the process. If New York is to live, five peopleor, more precisely,
five avatars, one for each of the citys boroughs
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Tatiana
Tragically, not one thing about this novel is holding my attention. You also have to be very open to social justice issues (the issues I whole heartedly support in real life) being bluntly jack hammered into the narrative, something that was never present in Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, where the authors political and social commentary was woven into a tremendously interesting fantasy story with nuance and measure. Jemisins ability to show rather than tell disappeared somewhere in the process ...more
Bradley
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coming back to Jemisin, my expectations are extraordinarily high. After reading the short fiction that this novel was based on, it made me wonder and scheme and imagine where it would go.

I mean, hey! This is all about human avatars being created out of a City, FOR the City's own protection and soul! It's like crossing American Gods with a NY monster movie with the SOUL of xenophobia (or any other kind of prejudice).

Coming into this, however, I should recommend that you manage your expectations.
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Anthony
This is a wild ride, and reading it I felt the exhilaration of watching the incredibly talented N.K. Jemisin riff on many tropes of popular speculative entertainment in increasingly fun ways. Tropes surrounding the superhero origin story, the diverse fellowship of strangers joining together to defeat an Enemy story, the mythology of H.P. Lovecraft, and stereotypes of what New Yorkers are like; Jemisin filters them all through her abundantly humane, fiercely progressive, and joyfully propulsive ...more
Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter
3/27/20 I am reading 3 other books right now and I tried desperately to finish at least one before starting this, BUT FUCK IT. I am starting this tonight! :)
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3/24/20 did I say I didn't like this cover?? Because now that I have it in my hands, I fucking love it! It's giving me all the 90's vibes! Ah I can't wait to start! I can't believe release day is finally here!
_________________________
2/15/20 so close to the release date now! Can't wait!!!!
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Robin Brown
The positives:-

Says some interesting things about race and inclusivity both in general life and within the Sci-Fi genre. There is a fair amount of intertextuality with the work of H.P Lovecraft, as well as repeated criticisms of his world view. Lovecraft is a pillar of the genre, despite his now widely publicised racism, anti-semitism and homophobia. He remains hugely popular so its good to see a big name name in contemporary sci-fi confront him like this.

The negatives:-

The writing is patchy;
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Zitong Ren
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The City We Became is N.K Jemisins newest book and it is the first novel in the Great Cities series and overall, its a pretty solid start. I had a good time reading it, and while I didnt love it, its pretty solid fantasy, with an almost creepy and mysterious vibe to that was cool. There are a lot of primary characters and for a book thats four hundred pages(which is not very for fantasy), it tried to accomplish a lot all while introducing the reader to a pretty interesting concept.

All of these
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Dima
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I want to start by saying that I've read all of Jemisin's novels to date, and have enjoyed all of them thoroughly! They are vibrant, dynamic, fascinating and fresh. This applies to The Killing Moon duology, as much as it does to The Broken Earth Trilogy: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky. I've been a huge fan for years, and I think the author is truly one of the most innovative voices in the new generation of fantasy fiction.
Unfortunately, I can't say much of this applies to this
...more
Mara
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-owned
Whew, can we just appreciate the talent that is NK Jemisin? The writing in this is so specific to her style & is honestly the star of the show here. I think the metaphors, while incredibly apt, where *slightly* too spelled out on the page for my tastes, but other than that... yeah. This is just a super solid piece of speculative fiction that is shockingly relevant for everything that has been going on this year. Don't over think this one-- if the description appeals to you & you like a ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I read this because it was included in the Tournament of Books' Camp ToB 2020 (you can see the final discussion on their website.) I like N.K. Jemisin but I don't always read past the first book of her series, and I think a closer examination of my feelings of this book help explain why.

In the book, people are transformed into different boroughs of New York City (one person per borough,) because the city is under attack. Some stereotypes are at play in those sections but it's fun as each person
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Silvana
Not quite as masterpiece like the Broken Earth trilogy. It might also be the wokest novel I ever read. It is even woker than The Future of Another Timeline since it does not only touch the gender issues, but also race and identities. Considering the political climate nowadays in the US, readers will have no problem to immerse themselves inside the world.

Speaking of the world building, at first I wish I had been to New York before I read this book. Sure, it is probably the most famous city in
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Thomas
May 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Such a fun and light read! In The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin writes about a fantasy world in which when a city reaches a certain population or status, it receives a soul as embodied in a human form. Thus, we follow five humans who each personify a borough of New York City: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island. We learn early on that they face a dangerous enemy bent on destroying their city both each individual borough and all of their respective inhabitants. While it ...more
Allison Hurd
Don't read if you are preparing to read for SFFBC and want to go in without outside opinions!

(view spoiler)
...more
Noria
Words! I don't know her! I can't describe her! All I know is that my hands are still shaking even though it's been almost two weeks since I finished this book. My body still feels jittery. My skin still feels tingly. This book reached out from within its bindings and dipped into my soul, clutching its fists around my heart. It hasn't let go since. I am in awe. I am amazed. I am shaken! How on earth is this the first N.K. Jemisin book I'm reading?!!! What on earth happened to me that I went this ...more
Elle (ellexamines)
| 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!!!!
Candie
Jul 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. Don't hate me; I'm totally in the minority here.

I just could not seem to get into this book. I thought the concept was really great. This book was very creative and original but I'm just not sure it was for me.

I usually love fantasy and science fiction but I think it may have been a bit too out there for me. There was a lot of info and descriptions of the world, the magic system, the concept of what was happening and the personalities that it was a bit confusing and I found it hard
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April
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The right time to read this book.
Manisha
May 05, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of New York City.
People who say change is impossible are usually pretty happy with things just as they are.

The City We Became is the first book in the newest book series by N. K. Jemisin and I was disappointed.


OH MANHATTAN, MY MANHATTAN

This book is a love letter to New York. It says over and over again how amazing New York is, how diverse and exciting New York is, how the people are so nice because gosh darn it New York is the best city in the world.

Although I have been to New York and I loved it there, I
...more
Brenda Waworga
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just like The Fifth season it took quite a long time to feel attached to the story but after the first 200 pages I really love the story

This book is a love letter and also hate letter to New York City

Jemisin never shy away from voicing racism issue on her book, tho it sounds pretty strong but I also love to learn about it, esp during the BlackLivesMatter movement around the globe now, its a representation of what POC esp Black people live their life and how they being treated at NYC

I really love
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Sirens Conference: The City We Became 1 10 Oct 16, 2020 10:58AM  
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N. K. Jemisin lives and works in New York City.

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