The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin (The Great Cities, #1)
The City We Became fits a lot of sff into a place big enough to handle it. I loved the boroughs as people and the conclusion left me wanting more. It makes NYC feel ordinary and epic at the same time; a glimpse of how much someone loves this place I've never seen.
I don't have great sense of place or home but this book made me feel how much someone can care for a space, for a city. I loved that experience, this book felt really good to read. The characters are vibrant and distinct from one another, and I was really engaged with the story once it got going. As I neared the end, though, I kept checking to see if there were really that few pages left. This is book one of a trilogy, and some really cool things happen in the resolution of this part of the story, but my main complaint is that book two isn't here already.
As for pacing, it starts out kind of slow; there's a lot of characters to introduce and so when the large cast was combined with an air of mystery (for some of them) it took me a little bit to get into it. I connected with one of them right away and then used that to slowly get the whole picture. At least part of that feeling is I've never been to New York, and so when some of the initial characterization is built on how much different characters embody parts of the city it meant I was learning the boroughs and the people instead of just learning new characters. That being said, I read the last 60% of the book in an afternoon, once I got into it I didn't want to put it down. Books don't have to create that urgency in order to be good, but I like how this one pulled me in.
I feel very invested in this world and I definitely want to know what happens next. This is a story that needs to be continued, so it's very good that it's the start of a trilogy.
CW for discussion of large-scale disasters, racism, xenophobia, death.