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  1. #1
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
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    Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

    I was surprised that there isn't already a thread on this book. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes was pretty much nominated or won every major award last year. It didn't quite live up to my expections, but it certainly has a lot going for it. Who else has read - I'm sure a lot of you have. Excerpt from my review:

    The brilliance of Zoo City is in the setting and what Beukes does with it. Africa is typically underrepresented in SFF, especially urban fantasy, so that alone makes it a breath of fresh air. But the atmosphere Beukes captures makes it great – we see the suffering of an African ghetto, but its hope and family life too. We get a hint of the truly terrible past of refuges. We see behind that spam email and see the person forced into writing it, and the pimp doing the forcing. We see the cost that is inflicted on the person who takes the life of another – some are the thugs we all envision, some regret their past, some are simply lost and scared. Beukes subtly opens our eyes to a world that most never see – intentionally and unintentionally.

    Now, don’t get worried that Zoo City is some heavy-handed social commentary. It’s not, or it’s not just that and I certainly wouldn’t use the term heavy-handed. At its core is a standard hard-boiled missing person case, with a far from standard ‘private eye’ doing the digging. It’s an introduction to Johannesburg and life in South Africa, it has a truly unique magical ‘plague’ and it is populated by complex characters.

    The book is relatively short and moves along at a generally fast pace, though I had trouble with some of the uneven pacing towards the middle. These pacing issues, in combination with the a dive deep into a rather confusing occult plot kept me from being as fully engaged in the book as I expected to be, which I find unfortunate.

  2. #2
    What have we learned? Skynjay's Avatar
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    I liked 'Zoo City' well enough, it certainly had some very original ideas. But 'Moxieland' was the author's better book. A bit of cyberpunk based around the power of advertisements, hard to explain but very cool.

  3. #3
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
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    I keep hearing good things about Moxieland. I'll have to get a copy of it.

  4. #4
    Registered User Luke_B's Avatar
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    Moxyland was good, but very much a first novel. The pacing was bumpy and some of the characters better developed than others. I loved Zoo City though. One of the best urban fantasies I've read; a perfect blend of the fantastic and a gritty urban environment. It had an authentic streak of noir, unlike a lot of other urban fantasy that claims to be written in that tradition.
    Last edited by Luke_B; December 30th, 2012 at 01:46 AM.

  5. #5
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Reviving this thread because I recently read Zoo City and reviewed it.

    I liked it, but what's strange is that I don't have a hankering to read more of her stuff. I see that Ms. Beukes has a few other, more recent, titles out. Has anyone tried those?

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