Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £19.99

Buy Now for £19.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Winner of Best Fantasy at the Audie Awards.

Winner of the BSFA Award for Best Novel.

Shortlisted for the Hugo Awards.

Nominated for the Nebula Awards.

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

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    114
  • 4 Stars
    54
  • 3 Stars
    43
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    6
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    159
  • 4 Stars
    35
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    101
  • 4 Stars
    52
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    8

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

I first read the book and then listened to Robin Miles' narration. I love the wonderful mix of accents, the vocal variety and mix of tempo and pace. It's a fantastic exploration of the rich source text.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

just excellent

I need more cities and their personhoods 🥺🥺🥺
it was just so incredibly good in every way

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing story, can't wait for the next one!

Best N. K. Jemisin yet, what a ride, makes me want to go back to NYC, despite the interdemetional threats in this book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unusual and compelling

It took a little while for me to get into this audiobook though once I did it proved a wild ride. It’s Lovecraft inspired horror with a touch of wry humour.

Definitely recommended

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael Flattery
  • Michael Flattery
  • 10-06-21

Brilliant, engaging and fun!

Eldritch horrors, interdimensional rap battles and a serious examination of manifestations of systemic opression both personal and abstract? What's not to love!

This book might seem terrifyingly prescient but it really is just a sign of how skilled Jemisin is at bringing worlds to life. This New York felt almost too real despite the surrealism and abstraction that overlays everything. Not a sappy love letter but something raw, honest and true from someone who nevertheless clearly loves the city a great deal.

The story fairly clips along. Despite having so much ground to cover it never feels like it's dragging. If anything it feels like it can be a little abrupt and could have used a little bit more room to breathe - particularly with one character (P.P.) - but as the first in the series it's not something that bothered me at all. There was maybe a little bit too much exposition but to paraphrase from the book "there's a lot of weird ****" and a sizable cast of POV characters with different perspectives, so it didn't grate.

Speaking of, the characters are great. For manifestations of archetypes they are very human with hopes and flaws and their own peculiarities. Some of the most fun superheroes I've ever had the pleasure to spend time with. Even when you want to give them a stern talking to. The prevalence of queer characters without their queerness being ancillary or all-consuming is wonderful to see as always.

And the performance by Robin Miles was amazing - as per usual. Though this audiobook does have some production elements (music, sound effects, voice manipulation) that are used sparingly but prominently. To me, it felt a little like listening to a really good one-woman radio play, but if that's not your jam then here's your warning. Should still read the book though, it's amazing.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-05-21

AMAZING

The narration, the writing, the characters the plot everything came to life (ha see what I did there?) I loved it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • 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!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jorgo Kapow
  • 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.