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Summary

Five New Yorkers must band together to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and New York Times best-selling 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 beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

©2020 N. K. Jemisin (P)2020 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"A glorious fantasy, set in that most imaginary of cities, New York." (Neil Gaiman on The City We Became)

"The most celebrated science fiction and fantasy writer of her generation...Jemisin seems able to do just about everything." (New York Times)

"Jemisin is now a pillar of speculative fiction, breathtakingly imaginative and narratively bold." (Entertainment Weekly)

What listeners say about The City We Became

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Atmospheric, original first book about NYC

I just sat and binged the last four chapters of this audiobook. That last chapter was something else; I could visualise the final scene so clearly. Initially I loved the concept (and the narrator, apart from a cheesy British accent) but I wasn't 100% sold on the writing style - at times I was a little confused by what was going on (this could've been the medium). I'm so glad I stuck with it though because I really started to get invested in these characters and I was willing them through the storyline. I also really enjoyed the scene setting in the audiobook - there were some really creepy moments, and I didn't realise there would be so many audio effects, which really brought the story alive. Also doesn't Robin Miles' accent in this just scream New York? That could just be me, I am in no way a New Yorker (and yet that didn't detract from the book). There's a lot more to come, and I'm glad that the first book had a satisfying ending, whilst still leaving questions to answer in the rest of the trilogy. Now, please tell me someone has drawn fanart of these wonderful characters to tide me over until book two? Without spoiling anything, that final epilogue of sorts really deserves a piece of artwork, if someone more talented than me wants to give it a go!

2 people found this helpful

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New Yorkers will love it. Others, not so much.

Unlike any other Jemisin book I've read to date, this one was a struggle. The major twists & reveals are few and far between, and they don't redeem the plot at large. I had very high hopes from this book, and sadly none of those were vindicated at the end if the read. Still, the prose is top notch, Robin Miles is very good, and some of the scenes transcend the general malaise that sinks this novel to just 3 stars. I'm sure many a Jemisin fan will enjoy this one, and many New Yorkers will adore it. But this stab at a "Great American Novel" - reduced to depict perhaps the country's greatest city and taken a not-often-enough weird trip through action, suspense and equal, skimpy measures of sci-fi and horror - robs Jemisin fans of what is perhaps her most distunguished forte: world building at a colossal scale.

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Not for me

Thought I would love this story as heard fabulous things about the author, sadly the start was too slow and I kept losing interest throughout. I persevered and the ending picked things up but still didn’t love it. Will try something else by this author instead. Loved the audio narrator

1 person found this helpful

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Terrible accents

I was getting on ok with this book but then there was a character from London and the narrator did a terrible, terrible accent and I couldn’t stand it and had to return the book.

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Not sure.

I've never really enjoyed any urban fantasy but love N.K. Jemisin so thought I'd give it a whirl. Unfortunately not even the mighty NKJ could persuade me otherwise. I found the characters a little stereotypical but then that was kind of the point so I can't really criticize there. Dunno, I just found the lack of nuance in any of it a bit disatisfying. Mostly a very good range of vocal characterisations but a couple that didn't work for me. Have to say though that Robin Miles managed to make the characters instantly identifyable which most of the female narrators I've listened to find tricky so she gets two thumbs up for that.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rh
  • 08-04-20

Innovative story (confirmation-Starbucks is evil)

I loved the story and I imagine that it would be even better if I knew New York more. While not perfect, Jemisin created an interesting world to discuss race and identity while spinning a great tale. Overall the book is different to her other fantasy novels. I would describe this as closer to magical realism, although there are some fun quest type aspects with a clear adversary. I wouldn't expect the usual fantasy romp, but something more nuanced. Personally, I like it when the Sci-Fi and fantasy genres are used to comment on the human condition, but it may not be for everyone. I enjoyed the narration, and there are some more dramatic aspects to the production that add something extra to the audiobook. I didn't find it distracting as it was infrequent and well used.

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Phf’k yeah!

Wicked. Wicked. Wicked. This ambition and scale of this epic is breathtaking. The muscular flex of imagination was comparable to a Ms Universe contest. Oh, and the performance by Robin Miles is stunning. The germ of this idea features in ‘How Long Til Black History Month’ (as available on Audible) and hearing it I was blown away. I then knew it was to be my first foray into Jemisin’s work. So check that out too. N. K. Jemisin and Robin Miles are like Clark Kent and Superman, and if you understand the mythos you’ll get it. Great job ladies! ☝🏿

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For New Yorkers only

This book is aimed at New Yorkers only for the description of the city from many angle. The story is non sensical. It feels like a long fable of heavy moral, in a manicean setting

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One of my best audiobook experiences yet

It's a great story, but the performance and production are what make this one stand out. Every character's voice is distinct and the reading fits the text perfectly. Occasional audio effects make it even more immersive without overpowering the reading. I listen to a hell of a lot of audiobooks, and only a handful have truly stood out as listening experiences. This is one of the best.

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loved it

I wish all audio books had atmospheric sound. this was such an immersive listen, I loved every moment of it

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-08-20

10 out of 5 stars

Favourite read of 2020 by far! Dynamic and interesting and wonderfully performed! Highly recommend reading!

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  • Jorgo Kapow
  • 16-06-20

Intertextual extravaganza

This is one book out a small handful of others, that made me laugh out in sheer joy more than once. Highly highly recommended.