The City We Became
By: N.K. Jemisin
New York is born in the form of 5 avatars to protect it and an other worldly villain appears in order to try and stop it…
And I try to sort out some mixed feelings in order to try to write a review about it.
First of all I did enjoy the idea. The premise is crazy weird but I was feeling it. Jemisin’s love for New York shines through every page.
I just wish that I loved New York or even knew the area like she did. I think I would have connected more if that was the case. Yeah I spent a lot of this book a bit disengaged and wondering more oh, that reads cool how’s it going to look in cinematically? (Because all of her books have recently been optioned.)
Also Starbucks coming alive attacking people is cool and all but are they really going to go for that just for product placement?
So I’m mixed a bit on this one and I think it comes down to the characters as well. Of the 5 avatars only 2 were really interesting (and I feel bad about saying that in one case) 2 were kind of just there and the supporting character of San Paolo wound up being more interesting than the underwritten Queens.
Of the two really interesting characters there’s Bronca the oldest who gets all the knowledge and Aislyn, Staten Island. Aislyn is the character whose racist and unhelpful so I felt kind of bad for enjoying her chapters but the thing is like Bronca, she just reads as better written and fully fleshed out. We see her background, we see the issues she’s dealing with in terms of her mental health.
And I think this is really important but the bad guy gets better play in both Aislyn and Bronca’s chapters, in different ways perhaps, (she outright manipulates Aislyn and pulling her strings whereas Bronca she takes a more underhanded and realistic way to get to her) but it makes her a better villain as the others just kind of shove her off with a flick and sometimes no real idea what their doing or why.
So yeah I’m a little torn on this one but I’m glad I read it in the end and I do think this is a good place to start with Jemisin. It’s the start of a new series and despite the bumpiness I’m intrigued to see where it goes.