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REVIEW: The City Inside

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This is a strange little book. Very atmospheric, with a world that feels immersive and realistic, spot-on about many aspects of our lives today. I liked the Indian setting, which is still a rarity in SFF, and was intrigued by the role of the main character in the story—certainly an unconventional-feeling protagonist, kind of like an NPC in one of the main sidequests of a cyberpunk RPG.

Those are the good parts. The actual book? It’s such a weird way to tell a story. Half the type I was annoyed because it was too explainy, going into extreme details about one thing and then delving into some other thing the next. Most of the time I was completely lost! Who is this character now and why am I supposed to care about them? Why are we suddenly reading about x when I was so invested in y? It made the book challenging, but not in a fun and thought-provoking way, just in a frustrating way.

The other thing that annoyed me was how this barely used its SFF setting. Sure, we get some cool stuff about climate change, wealth disparity, … the usual suspects in hot SFF works. But besides the confusing narrative, we actually get a fairly mundane story most of the time—sex scandals, people betraying each other, and lots of people just being shitty humans to each other.

All-over-the-place. Would’ve been a DNF if this wasn’t an ARC. I would like to thank NetGalley regardless for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
G. Lowie
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Goran Lowie is an avid reader of all kinds of speculative fiction and poetry. For years, he's been rotting away in some rural hellhole in Belgium, but luckily he has literature to keep him going!

His real obsession with the genre sparked with the incomporable works of Ursula K. Le Guin, and his heart stayed there forever. Other favourite authors include Patricia A. McKillip, Mary Soon Lee, John Wiswell, Robert Silverberg and Italo Calvino.

When Goran isn't reading books, he's either editing this very magazine or creating lesson plans for his day-job as a high school teacher! You can find him on Twitter: @GoranLowie

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