2022 Book Review Book Reviews Fantasy

The City We Became

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city.

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.


The City We Became was a truly amazing novel. I loved the style of writing, the different pov’s, the vibrant construct of this whole look at cities being alive, and I loved so many of the characters. The rhythm of this story was perfect and went well with the connection to a fast-paced city. The way the N.K. Jemisin described settings and concepts was fabulous. It was easy to envision the tentacle-like beings that were there, but not quite visible and the way she wrote about the two cities was amazing. In the story, there were two worlds/realities and as the reader, you get to see these through the eyes of the New York avatars. One place was the “normal New York” which is the world we see now, but the other world/reality was “weird New York” which was were the avatars actually physically embedded their cities. This was always really interesting to read about and created cool scenes in the novel.


This novel features a realistically diverse set of characters and goes against the white savior trope many fantasy novels (or just novels in general) have. In fact, this novel goes against the stereotypical person in white equals good and has the antagonist as someone who visually dresses in all white. This novel is not only a call against many prejudices but a push towards reality.

My favorite characters would have to be either Bronca (the Bronx) or Veneza. Both of these characters were strong, independent women and I loved reading from Bronca’s pov. I feel like she also had the most interesting story to tell which was why she was someone who had a more interesting pov. When she was looking at photos of graffiti all over New York, she described it in such a way that showed she drew such a deep emotion from it, and this really added another amazing layer to her that made her such a great character. One person that I wish we saw more of in this novel was Bel. He was only in two scenes (honestly it’s really just one scene), but he seemed like a really cool character. I hope he is in the next book and that you get to see him interact with Manny more. I feel like it would also be a really cool to see the avatar of the entire New York city interact with Bel. I feel like they would get along well.


The City We Became was an amazing novel that I won’t forget. It was vibrant, entertaining, and just an overall great read. I really recommend this novel to anyone looking for a vibrant urban fantasy.

Let’s Talk:
  • Have you read The City We Became?
    • If you have, did you enjoy it?
  • Do you enjoy urban fantasy novels?

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