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The City We Became

Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 16 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Publisher's 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 members say
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Exceptional

An exceptionally good audiobook. The novel itself was brilliant - compelling, well written, and a thoughtful insight into New York culture. The production quality of the audiobook was the best I have heard, with sound effects and music that were well-timed without being excessive. I cannot praise this audiobook highly enough.

1 person found this helpful

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a masterpiece (in a good way)

don't really have the words to state how good this is. just makes me smile so much! Jemisin's best work so far. and the performance & sound design are so beautiful, this is the way an audiobook should be done.

1 person found this helpful

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Not for me

I found the narration painful. The female narrator was so over the top that it really detracted from the story. Most have said it’s genius but I couldn’t listen anymore and had to turn it off a return it. Even though it is fiction I struggled with the first person lead characters obvious racism towards white people. Harder to stomach considering the current climate. Racial vilification being wrong goes for everyone. I can appreciate that a lot of work has gone into it by the writer and narrator but it’s not for me. Take a listen to the sample never know it may be your cup of tea.

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Just. So. Good

A truly new idea so wonderfully expressed. The best audio-book experience I've ever had (and there's some great ones in my library). The narration and sound design is brilliant.

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A gripping and intelligent must read.

I enjoyed the solid characters, amazing voice acting, and well-played tension in this relevant story.

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absolutely fantastic

Incredibly wrought, Robin Miles takes Jemsin's story and drags you into the should and spirit of New York. The twist is breathtaking - I cannot wait for what comes next.

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Love note to NY. Great narration. Okay story.

Was a pretty fun book. Kind of felt like American Gods but with cities instead of gods of old. Reckon you’d appreciate it more if you were from New York. Definitely has her vibe to the writing but lacks the originality of Jemisin’s other books. Maybe the sum of parts will make me like this more.

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Fantastic!

What an absolutely brilliant story - NKJ is definitely one of the greatest SFF writers ever. And Robin Miles’ narration is completely amazing!

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  • Jorgo Kapow
  • 16-06-2020

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.

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  • Mim
  • 24-04-2020

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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  • Mr. O. Tamir
  • 01-04-2020

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Glenda Baptiste
  • 25-06-2020

Thoroughly entertaining...

Such a creative, compelling story... one that I enjoyed, even without being a New Yorker (or an American). Robin Miles' narration is absolutely fantastic here... spectacular!

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  • Sensible Chic
  • 24-06-2020

Crazy apocalyptic rollercoaster

Absolutely stuck with it due to the great narration but found it hard going at times . Maybe if it was about my home city I would have enjoyed the trip more. But a imaginative concept well written .PS listen to credits at end . Never have the copyright details been so entertaining !

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  • Milena Popova
  • 25-05-2020

Jemisin does not pull any punches

As usual, Jemisin pulls no punches in this stunning social commentary/urban fantasy hybrid. Performance and production of the audiobook are also fantastic.

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  • aidan
  • 12-05-2020

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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  • DaelRa
  • 19-04-2020

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.

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  • Rh
  • 08-04-2020

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.