Zoo City (2020)

Zoo City Zinzi has a Sloth on her back a dirty scam habit and a talent for finding lost things But when a little old lady turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck she s forced to take on
  • Title: Zoo City
  • Author: Lauren Beukes
  • ISBN: 9780857660541
  • Page: 148
  • Format: Paperback
  • Zoo City
    Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit, and a talent for finding lost things But when a little old lady turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, she s forced to take on her least favourite kind of job missing persons.
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      Lauren Beukes

    One Reply to “Zoo City”

    1. As seen on The ReadventurerJust when I think there is no urban fantasy in existence which breaks away from the formulaic and same old same old, I come across this gem, thanks to Guardian book podcast Hurray As with most of inventive and unorthodox genre deviations, describing Zoo City is a pain I m tempted to just call it a Paolo Bacigalupi The Golden Compass mix and leave it at that, but I m afraid I ll scare the readers away.So, Zoo city What is it It s a sort of ghetto area in modern day alt [...]

    2. I hate it when I read a book that s beautifully written, but has a clumsy plot I was seduced by the writing while I was reading it, and it wasn t until after I finished that I started realizing how many problems I had with it In this alternate history SF world, people s guilt over their mistakes or crimes manifests as animals that are emotionally or psychically attached to them, sort of like having an albatross hung around your neck, except living and not so corpsey This was interesting to me, s [...]

    3. One of the things I loved the most about Philip Pullman s His Dark Materials series was his rather brilliant twist on the concept of a witch s familiar that in that world, each person s soul manifests as a companion animal that is their other half It s not only because it s a cool idea it also is an interesting reflection of our ongoing weird relationship with nature the connection we feel to the creatures of the earth, though most of us live far removed from it in cities and suburbs And, you kn [...]

    4. 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 [...]

    5. Wow.Zoo City is one of the original, complicated fantasy books that I ve read this year I m not even sure how to tag it, that s how many elements come into play Urban fantasy Johannesburg is a major city, after all, and the animal angle is clearly unreal Dystopia Almost, but not quite despite the animals, this is a current version of Johannesburg and African politics Mystery noir After all, there s a missing person and an investigator of questionable character Horror A little witchcraft, a litt [...]

    6. Lauren Beukes The Shining Girls fascinated me with her style and imagination, I thought it was a flawed gem but it put me on board for Beukeses The next logical book for me from the Beukes bibliography is 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award winner Zoo City.Set in an alternate reality where some people are suddenly paired with an animal as a consequence of something heinous they have done or perhaps think they have done Basically, if you are bearing some major guilt chances are an animal will suddenly sh [...]

    7. I read this directly after finishing Moxyland and my wild enthusiasm for Lauren Beukes is not abating The setting is present day Johannesburg, but in this alternate reality, a couple of decades ago, something strange started happening Those who were guilty of terrible crimes were suddenly, magically saddled with an animal familiar reminiscent of the burden of the Ancient Mariner s albatross, but, well, alive The animalled are also unable, it seems, to help liking and feeling affection for their [...]

    8. I loved it I was over the moon when Zoo City was chosen to be one of the SciFi and Fantasy Book Club reads for November A book set in a version of my home city with an interesting premise and great reviews Yes please In my excitement I emailed Lauren Beukes and asked if she d do a QA with our group and she said yes As you can imagine I was bouncing off walls It occurred to me mid bounce that this would be an awesome opportunity for Sod you may know him as Murphy to rear his ugly head and twist m [...]

    9. Before I read this, I would have said there was nothing new you could do with the magical companion animals trope I would have been wrong.I enjoyed this for the concept, for the characters, for the setting I was all set to give it four stars And then the ending happened view spoiler And it s not that it s a tragedy that bothers me I actually appreciate the author s chutzpah in having the twins die, in having the bad guys escape I less appreciate the bad guys over the top characterization as psyc [...]

    10. 3.5 stars sheesh, here we go again with sucking up my reviewsice Gonna keep this short I was very impressed with my first encounter with Lauren Beukes imaginative stylings not unlike those of China Mi ville.Zoo City, impossible to pigeon hole is it science fiction dystopia thriller social commentary good old fashioned magical murder mystery kinda yes to all is a bizarre, alternate universe d, present day reimagining of Johannesburg, South Africa, one where criminals are required to have animal f [...]

    11. Lots of innovation in this melding of noir detective, cyberpunk, and urban fantasy genres She doesn t go overboard with any one of this triad It was a fun ride mixed with a lot of disturbing elements Having a likeable female hero helped me accommodate the widespread despair in the contemporary Johannesburg setting But I am led to render a 3.5 star rating because of personal displeasure with the shocking and implausible d nouement to the tale But then maybe horror is the 4th genre in the blend, w [...]

    12. This is not your average urban fantasy It s set in Johannesburg, South Africa, in a world where murderers and other criminals acquire magical animals that are mystically bonded to them Zoos are discriminated against, but with their animal also comes a magical talent, unique to each Zoo.Zinzi December is an addict whose drug habit got her brother killed, and thus burdened her with her Sloth companion and a magical talent for finding lost things She s a very flawed protagonist, but very believable [...]

    13. I wasn t sure to expect when I started reading this as I had no idea what it was about and bought it simply because the cover caught my eye I m really pleased I bought it because I thoroughly enjoyed this book It was such a fresh, original concept and quite unlike anything I ve ever read before I really loved the whole concept of the animals and Zoo City, it completely drew me in right from the beginning I also really enjoyed that there was some magic mixed in but that it also had aspects of mod [...]

    14. While I m not usually a big fan of urban fantasy, I really enjoy the writing style of Lauren Beukes, and loved her other novel Moxyland Her female characters are strong, flawed and cynical, but above all realistic and relatable On top of that, the protagonist in this one has a sloth Yep A sloth.Zoo City has one hell of an original premise that people who commit a grave crime such as murder, find themselves bonded to a magical animal familiar, and should that animal die, a dark force called The U [...]

    15. So, I was reading 419, which was all about 419 scams, and was very unimpressed It wasn t perceptive, it didn t grab me, and the characters all seemed flat Move your gaze a week or so, and I start reading this urban fantasy set in Johannesburg, and although 419 scams are only a very small part of what this book is about, the small space they occupied in this book was far interesting and trenchant than the entire other book on the matter.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the [...]

    16. This book takes the reader into the nitty gritty of Johannesburg, the slums, the underworld, and at the same time it introduces a touch of magic in a very unique way.Zinzi has committed a crime, and for that has been saddled with a connection with an Animal, a sloth, which she takes with her everywhere she goes Due to her Animal connection, she has also developed the ability to find the lost things of other people She lives in Zoo City in the Joburg CBD, where other people with Animals live, who [...]

    17. Identity is a very fragile and ephemeral concept, and the philosophy surrounding identity fascinates me If, in the immortal words of Ke ha, we R who we R , then who we are differs depending upon whether we are alone or with people, with friends or with enemies or, if you are Ke ha, with frenemies We perform identity, wearing it like a costume But it s not something we entirely control Identity is not so much a costume as it is a negotation between two entities, for part of my identity is not jus [...]

    18. Zinzi ile tan n S rt nda karde ini ld rd g n bir par as haline gelmi Tembelhayvan yla bir Hayvanl lar ehri sakini Ba ka bir deyi le, kendisi gibi hayvan sahibi olanlarla t k ld ehrin bir par as Ayn zamanda t m kitab a z ndan dinledi imiz, kesinlikle e lenceli ve bu karanl k d nyada, insan n y re inin dayanmad olaylarda bunlar katlan l r k lan u ar , lg n ve kesinlikle a z bozuk bir kad n.Tembelhayvan n Zinzi yi hi b rakmad gibi biz de onun e lenceli tav rlar yla kitab elimizden b rakam yoruz Zin [...]

    19. I don t normally read urban fantasy or urban science fiction, not entirely sure what genre this is , not because the books of that genre have let me down, but because I don t particularly like urban settings They make me sad, and for some reason all urban books are always pointing out the miserable conditions of our existence As I owned this book, I thought I might as well read it People have been giving it good reviews and the premise is pretty interesting As someone who s head over heels for P [...]

    20. I always struggle with the first sentence of my reviews, so I m just going to dive right in and tell you all about this stunningly magnificent book that surprised the hell out of me.Zoo City is really hard to describe Why Because I m afraid I might not be able to adequately explain why this is a once in a lifetime MUST read If you re not from South Africa, the setting and colloquial narrative might at first feel a little strange and disconcerting Yet, well into the story, you ll soon enough find [...]

    21. Zinzi December hat ein Faultier Ein putziges Ding, ab und an schnauft es ver chtlich, wenn Zinzi etwas tut, das es nicht guthei t Ansonsten h ngt es meist nur so herum und tut, was Faultiere eben so tun Und wenn Zinzi die Wohnung verl sst, h ngt sich das Faultier wie ein Rucksack auf ihren R cken und begleitet sie Dieses Faultier geht berall mit hin Es ist immer dabei Immer F r immer Denn Zinzi hat ihren Bruder erschossen und geh rt seitdem zu den Getierten.Die Welt, in der Zinzi December lebt u [...]

    22. rantingdragon zoo cityZoo City is a standalone novel set in a fictional Johannesburg, South Africa In Zoo City, if you commit a felonious sin, the Undertow comes for you and marks you with first an animal companion that serves as a manifestation of your sin, and second a supernatural talent Both the animal and the talent are called mashavi The sinners are called aposymbiots, and are relegated to living in a slum known as Zoo City.Zinzi December is an aposymbiot her animal is a sloth named Sloth, [...]

    23. Oh, Zinzi I wanted to like you, I really did.The book picked me up and carried me along until three quarters of the way through, when it promptly dropped me and went off to lose its way.I found myself discombobulated at the start of chapters, because everything was in medias res and Zinzi had to backtrack to cover where she was and what was happening It felt like an overly awkward way to tell the whole story fine for chapters in which it was necessary, but that certainly wasn t the case everywhe [...]

    24. I like ZOO CITY for the concept than actual story that is until the darker side of key players comes to light Beukes creates a world teaming with real world comparisons separated by unique twists of the fantastical The plot, once established, is pretty straight forward and conforms to the typical PI case format comprising a series of interviews, background digging, violent encounters etc as the protagonist, Zinzi December, and her sloth source the target Having previously used her talents on tr [...]

    25. 4.5 stars This book drew me in from the very first page Zinzi has such a clear voice, and every detail of the scene was so detailed and vivid, while still being effortless to read, that it made me feel like I disappeared into the story Some books are just a bit smarter, with ideas that are creative and clever, than others When you add a great deal of interesting real world issues to give the story a lot of depth, it makes a book very special From the unique magical elements of the animals to th [...]

    26. In my review of Lauren Beukes s earlier book, Moxyland, I pointed out that so much is going on that even the characters don t know where they are In Zoo City, I feel like Beukes has gone a little too far in the opposite direction the setting is interesting a simultaneous alternate South Africa where perps get animalled and end up with special skills but the plot is weak something about a pop star and a hidden wife, but then it doesn t seem very important I m not sure I think she has as unique of [...]

    27. 3.5 5Well I won t deny the fact that I didn t expect to love it It may be that the recent trend of reading classics has left me suspicious of anything modern Unfair, I know But my reasons for this particular rating are sound enough for me The writing was pretty typical caustic wit, descriptive passages, hints at the unknown until they are dragged into the light You know view spoiler But it didn t help that I had the overwhelming urge to reread The Golden Compass during the first half of the book [...]

    28. Zinzi December grew up rich and privileged, but her drug addiction led to the death of her brother and jail time Now she lives in Zoo City, the ghetto for the animalled people who are guilty of something so bad that an inexplicable force gave them an animal, which they are connected to for life They cannot be separated from their animal without great pain Animals are a source of shame and social stigma, and with a sloth in tow, Zinzi is forced out of journalism and into working odd jobs With her [...]

    29. Whoa This was one thrilling ride Lauren Buekes writing comes off so effortlessly The story, the pacing, the setting and characterization all comes off beautifully It s a high energy noir that leaves your nerves bristling with excitement and the ferocity of her phantasmagoric original ideas leaves you totally awed by her talent This was one fantastic read, AfroSF at its best.

    30. Do you know the best thing about this book It is ACTUAL urban fantasy it s not paranormal or supernatural harlequinn romance masquerading under the banner so they can sell books to unknowing fantasy fans, it truly is the genre it claims to be Now, having said that, the book was mediocre The ideas were great, big time, and the setting in Africa and the African female protagonist were somewhat believable, however Beukes did not strike me as a great storyteller at all Which for me is much importa [...]

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