Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $30.38

After 2 months, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

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 listeners say about The City We Became

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    63
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    6
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    84
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    50
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    7

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

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

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.

3 people found this helpful

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

Captivating performance

Let's get this out the way first. Robin Miles narration (apart from a mildly dodgy English accent) is phenomenal. Its a captivating performance that makes this Audible the equivalent of a can't put down read through the night page turner.

The story itself is whimsical, a love letter to New York and a good rollicking roller-coaster of a ride. Its not perfect - Aislyn is a shemozzle of a character - inconsistent and slightly clumsy. Bel is more a stereotype (in his britishness)... And his turn of phrase is awkward and inauthentuc.

Is there a theme? Gentrification, homogeneity, the evil of white western culture? If so, its sits mainly in the background raising its hand every now and then while for the most part the quite frankly bat shit crazy metaphysical multi dimensional universe acts the class clown demanding your attention.

I guess its no coincidence that the all the white characters are evil. Racist, The Enemy, basically just wrong. And while its engaging, thought provoking and entertaining to be immersed in diversity the viewpoint is at times grating and occasionally tiresome.

But overall. Its a thumping good listen. Im a big fan.

2 people found this helpful

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

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

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

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

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

New York, New York

Another great SF book by Jameson and another great narration by Robin Miles. You will never think of cities in quite the same way ever again - they live and it is us who make them live

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

5 stars

N.K. Jemisin went for the throat. This was so good! Wonderfully executed, with distinctive characters and relationships.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

No dip

Action packed and grips from start to finish. Good representation of PoC and queer community.

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

Interesting story. Great narration

The book stands alone by itself but looking forward to seeing where it goes in the sequel. Robin Miles is amazing as always. Not broken earth, but that is a very very very high bar to pass.

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

Loved it!

It was such a fascinating tale in super heroes. But more importantly, an insight into what makes cities unique and remarkable and what makes them generic.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves urban geography.

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

Strong start but my interest wained

I listened to this because I enjoyed The Broken Earth Series. Cool idea, and the city is written well, but the momentum didn't build for me. I finished it, but I wasn't hanging for more.

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 Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-05-2021

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
  • 13-08-2020

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
  • 16-06-2020

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.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for aidan
  • 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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mim
  • 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!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr. O. Tamir
  • 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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Scarlet Wilson
  • Scarlet Wilson
  • 23-08-2020

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
Profile Image for DaelRa
  • 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.

1 person found this helpful

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

1 person found this helpful

  • 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
  • 10-04-2021

The Best Way To Do Urban Fantasy

I'm absolutely amazed by both this novel and performance. The narration, voice modulation and audio effects made this whole experience extra dramatic and full of action. And the story is fantastic, just a pure eldritch horror but upgrated to modern standard. I also now very little about New York but I found I still enjoyed immensely.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lizzie Biscuits
  • Lizzie Biscuits
  • 06-04-2021

Enjoyable and evocative. Superlative narration

I really enjoyed this book. So incredibly evocative of New York it made me want to book a holiday immediately. I imagine if you're a love of the place you would adore the book. It made me pine for one about my favourite city (Paris). The characters are well rounded, interesting (and pleasingly diverse). The story rattles along like a subway train, I suspect this is one I'll want to revisit in a few years too. Special mention for the OUTSTANDING narration, easily one of the best read audiobooks I've ever listened to.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-03-2021

Brilliant.

Here N.K. Jemisin has wrapped up Neverwhere, Xenogenesis and American Gods into a narrative of becoming and elevates the under appreciated struggle of birthing. Robin Miles' narration brings New York and its avatars to life with warmth, meaningful expression and compassion. Through this masterful audio-literary work, I'm grateful to have been on this journey between worlds.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pongo Narrates
  • Pongo Narrates
  • 16-03-2021

Gaiman-esque with outstanding narration

Fantastic book, remeniscent of Gaiman at times. I found this to have a similar feel to American God's or Neverwhere. As others have said it's is not the easiest book to follow, but I came to this having already listened to the Broken Earth series and would recommend to anyone already familiar with Jemesin. I disagree with other reviews that this is a book for New Yorkers - Jemesin manages fantastically to give an insight into a city I've never been to.

Robin Miles is utterly brilliant as narrator and the characters are brought to life by her, even better than in Fifth Season. She performs Jemesins characters in a way that feels like something off the west end. This book is worth listening to for Miles on her own.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.