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Zoo City

by Lauren Beukes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,3349910,401 (3.75)3 / 255
Zinzi has a talent for finding lost things. Being hired by famously reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum of the criminal underclass. Set in a wildly re-imagined Johannesburg, it mixes refugees, crime, the music industry, African magic and the nature of sin.… (more)
  1. 60
    The City & The City by China Miéville (Jannes)
    Jannes: Two noir-ish thrillers with (vaguely) supernatural themes. Centered around sort-of-contemporary, yet fantastical urban landscapes. Both are very unique, and feels alike even if there's not many superficial similarities. More to the point, they're both damn good reading.… (more)
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» See also 255 mentions

English (94)  German (2)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Loved the world building in this book! it had such an interesting concept and a lot could be done with it. Zinzi is such a great character with her attitude and her street smarts. She's definitely got some flaws but they go great with her character.

The plot itself is really good and interesting, but it has its' shortcomings. You got a murder mystery to solve with Zinzi which is all good and interesting. Yet all of a sudden she's pulled into a missing persons case (she has a talent for finding lost items)

So there's two things to solve. It's a bit choppy in places, and not as smooth of a pace and plot as I like it to be. You're pulled back and forth in between these two cases and when you acquire a vested interest on one of the cases, it sucks you back to remind you of the other one. It sort of interrupts the pacing of the plot, and not the best way to loop these two things together.

Great concept for an urban fantasy world, but the plot needed more work in terms of pacing and fluidity. Still a good read, wish there was more after this one! ( )
  sensitivemuse | Apr 14, 2021 |
Zinzi December finds lost things. That’s her shavi, the gift she received, along with her Sloth, for her crime. No one really knows where the animals come from, or what the Undertow is, but everyone knows that is what is waiting for the animalled. It will swallow you up and drag you down.

Zinzi has been living in Zoo City for quite some time, a recovering addict, she is still paying off her drug debts. And she will take any job she can. But when a client is murdered she gets pulled into a missing persons case. She doesn’t usually do those. No stolen goods, no missing persons, those are her rules.

This is the perfect antidote to [b:Gabriel's Gate|12976819|Gabriel's Gate|Tom Galvin|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41eKPOm7HrL._SL75_.jpg|18111224], in many ways it is the opposite of that book, whereas Gabriel’s Gate is all about the surface, Zoo City is about what is underneath. Beukes gives her readers enough credit to figure out what is going on in her book. She launches straight into the story and doesn’t bother with overlong descriptions of how things work. Sometimes that can really just fall flat and leave the reader confused and annoyed. In this case Beukes gives us just enough information to keep up.

And then of course there are all the things that this book talks about, racism, prejudice, all that important society stuff. Zinzi is on the outskirts of society, the animalled are the lowest of the low. Their crimes are made visible for all to see and to judge.

There is so much to enjoy about this book. It has great pacing, you certainly won’t be bored while reading it. And I certainly would be delighted to read more in this world. Actually, that is my one complaint, it ended, and I want to know more! ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
Better than The Shining Girls. ( )
  CatherineMachineGun | Jul 31, 2020 |
Great urban fantasy in a vivid world I want to see more of. It’s exciting, funny, and suspenseful in pretty much equal measure, and gritty without being so grimy I’m turned off. I loved the combination of South Africa and magic and real-world troubles, and the mystery, which could’ve been a pretty standard missing-persons case, ended up being very fresh and different. I also really liked that Beukes drops in-world media between some of the chapters, to really flesh the world out. Zinzi herself is wonderful—smart, snarky, stubborn, and about everything you could want in a protagonist. I wish there was a sequel.

7/10 ( )
  NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
This is a particularly smooth genre-meshing urban fantasy noir SF horror, and if you don't like my description, then go read it and figure out your best fit. :) If you do, however, find that perfect descriptor, be sure to add all the little animas, the familiars that bad people get after murdering someone, and if you let your anima die, you get dragged to hell. Or is the novel firmly set in modern day Johannesburg filled with scams, missing persons, and mystery? Oh, wait, how about all the mutilations and the sense of upwelling horror? No? Then why the hell do I get this sense that things have just gone near-future high-tech?

Well that's because the book refuses to sit still and be neatly defined. Isn't that wonderful?

Our main character is a real spitfire, that's for certain, and I love reading about good scams as much as anyone, but that's just her favorite hobby and way to make money. For everything else and when times get rough, she falls back on a bit of the missing persons racket, and she really knows how to talk a good game. She's an excellent social hacker.

As for the Urban Fantasy angle, I'll tell you this: it's interesting and odd and magical and it works perhaps a bit too strangely for me. I like a bit of well-defined rules, if only to see those rules get broken or find a way to slip the leash of hell, you know? But, alas, it isn't that kind of story.

It is, fundamentally, full of elemental horror, which is great because I love horror and I think Ms. Beukes does it extremely well. This is the third novel that I've read of hers and all of them are quite a bit different in style, subjects, characters, and plots, save for the interesting parallels of con-games and horror. But rest assured, all the horror sequences are very, very different from one another, so you will all have a nice treat in store for you for each novel. :)

I'm very impressed, in general, but I have to admit that I like this one the least between it and Broken Monsters or Moxyland. Suffice to say, I've grown to be a very steadfast fanboy of the author and I'm going to be snatching up each of her novels as I can find them, with much pleasure.

Thanks goes to Netgalley and the publisher! ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
It's a style that can be challenging, and the thriller plot – involving a reclusive, ghastly music producer (like a dreadfully gone-to-seed South African Simon Cowell) and an unfortunate pair of X-Factor-ish teen-pop twins – isn't much help. In the proud tradition of Chandler and Hammett, possibly Beukes herself isn't sure who did what to whom, in what order and why, on the way to a supremely messy and disgusting climax. But like Gibson, she brings a secret tenderness and humanity to her off-kilter portrait of the here and now. What her many fans will remember, and value, is deadbeat Zinzi's personal journey, towards a frail but determined integrity.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lauren Beukesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Picacio, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Zinzi has a talent for finding lost things. Being hired by famously reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum of the criminal underclass. Set in a wildly re-imagined Johannesburg, it mixes refugees, crime, the music industry, African magic and the nature of sin.

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Angry Robot

3 editions of this book were published by Angry Robot.

Editions: 0857660551, 0857660543, 085766056X

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