Great Cities Duology

by N. K. Jemisin

The City We Became

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In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn’t remember who he is, where he’s from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power.

In the Bronx, a Lenape gallery director discovers strange graffiti scattered throughout the city, so beautiful and powerful it’s as if the paint is literally calling to her.

In Brooklyn, a politician and mother finds she can hear the songs of her city, pulsing to the beat of her Louboutin heels.

And they’re not the only ones.

Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York? She’s got six.

The World We Make

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Four-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin crafts a glorious tale of identity, resistance, magic and myth.

All is not well in the city that never sleeps. Even though the avatars of New York City have temporarily managed to stop the Woman in White from invading—and destroying the entire universe in the process—the mysterious capital “E” Enemy has more subtle powers at her disposal. A new candidate for mayor wielding the populist rhetoric of gentrification, xenophobia, and “law and order” may have what it takes to change the very nature of New York itself and take it down from the inside.

In order to defeat him, and the Enemy who holds his purse strings, the avatars will have to join together with the other Great Cities of the world in order to bring her down for good and protect their world from complete destruction.

N.K. Jemisin’s Great Cities Duology, which began with The City We Became and concludes with The World We Make, is a masterpiece of speculative fiction from one of the most important writers of her generation.

My Take

I was thiiiiis close to bailing on The City We Became about 40% of the way in. But I was mid chapter so I decided to give it until the end of the chapter at least. I ended up finishing both books. It’s horrifically close to real life which is part of my problem, I think, but I love the concept of cities as beings and cities having avatars. And Starbucks and other chains being evil. And I don’t even live in a city. They’re not just killing the cities.

Great couple of books, if painful to read.