The City in the Middle of the Night

The City in the Middle of the Night

Book - 2019
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""If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams . . . And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives." The bestselling author of All the Birds in the Sky returns with a strange, haunting, and deeply human tale. Sophie serves coffee at an underground cafe. She stays in the shadows and listens to the troubles of the parlor guests, but does not draw attention to herself for one simple reason: Sophie is supposed to be dead. When a nationalistic revolution forces Sophie from her safe haven, she must make a dangerous journey to a new city, one that revels in hedonism and chaos. After joining up with a band of smugglers, she finds herself on a long and treacherous path that will lead her far closer to the truth of her entire world---and to the dangers that lurk even in the light of day" --
Publisher: New York :, Tor,, [2019]
Edition: First edition
Description: 366 pages ; 25 cm
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780765379962
Branch Call Number: Ande

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l
lemov
Aug 16, 2019

It's hard to recommend this book (this from a sci-fi lover). It has several problems that get in the way of what should have been a good read, given the story's interesting setting. One problem is the slow character development of the two central pairs: too drawn out and superficial, and book-long to apparently resolve. Another problem is the "pace" of the story's development: sometimes brisk but often prolonged. Because of these two problems, I felt that there were many instances where pages could be read quickly or superficially with no loss (except the reader's time). But the biggest problem is that the book ends suddenly, without resolution or a valid reason to leave the resolution left speculative with the reader. It just seems the author is setting us up for the sequel with little interim plot satisfaction. In this sense, it's one of the most in-artful fiction endings I've experienced in a long time. The book has gotten almost uniformly good professional reviews, which I think is explained by the intriguing setting and the author's prior (tho' limited) success. But an excellent work needs much more, and this one doesn't have it. An exacting editor could have done wonders. Not a terrible book, but decidedly mediocre.

I could not get into this story. The characters were annoying and so much rambling made for a boring read.

JessicaGma May 27, 2019

This was very High Sci-Fi for me, so although I finished it, I didn't really care about the characters deeply. Bianca needed a slap, Sophie and Mouth were interesting, but I vastly preferred her first book.

JCLJoshN Apr 26, 2019

Charlie Jane does an amazing job of making the alien feel familiar and the familiar feel alien. Reviews have compared this to Ursula K. Le Guin, and that's spot on, but it also reminded me of Samuel R. Delany's New Wave explorations of relationships in strange societies on strange worlds. This is speculative fiction at its best, wrapping up planetology, biology, and sociology in a web of heartfelt but complicated emotions, spiked with sharp-witted dialogue.

a
athena14
Apr 03, 2019

spoiler
This is mostly the story of several women coping on a strange planet. Sophie blushes every time she encounters a same-sex couple kissing or hugging, though she doesn't seem to know about sex. She utterly adores Bianca, no matter what. I knew there would be a final rejection, but Bianca's calling Sophie, her lifelong, loving friend, "perverted, revolting, a creep" hurt--too much.

c
cnsreader
Feb 26, 2019

It took me a while to get into this one, but by a fourth of the way in, I was kinda hooked! There are a few deep ideas that run throughout this story! We learn near the end that Mouth is the last of her kind, they were killed off in a massacre because they were digging up plants that were needed to protect the native creatures nurseries. So these creatures sent winged-creatures to kill the humans. Mouth’s group knew nothing about how these plants were essential to the newborn creatures.

Another character, Sophie forms an unusual relationship with the native beasts that roam the planet. She learns their history, before and after humans arrived on the planet. She undergoes a surgery that makes her similar to the creatures in that she can pass on memories and feelings with her mind. For both these groups(native beasts & humans) to survive on this inhospitable planet, they need to understand each other. Sophie re-enters the city to begin to change their world.

Some of the relationships between major characters was hard to believe. Really unhealthy relationships. To me it almost affected the story, but the major theme was stronger.

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