Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
Book of the Year 2010 (see all)
Zinzi December 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 pay check, she's forced to take on her least favourite kind of job: missing persons.
I found this book really throws you into the deep end, leaving you guessing at the full extent of the how the world Lauren Beukes creates is different from our own. Zoo City, set in Johannesburg, invites us into the lives of the undesirables that the majority of the population like to pretend do not exist. But if they have to acknowledge them they will do so to blame them for all the world’s problems. At the same time, although you are thrown into the deep end it doesn’t mean that you’re frustrated as you’re given just enough information to keep you intrigued. Which gives you enough time to connect with the lead character Zinzi December, the so-called heroine of the novel. Zinzi is a survivor who has a talent for finding lost items for people and she ends up getting dragged into a hunt for a missing person, and that’s where her troubles begin…
Zinzi and her friends, enemies and lovers are realistically described to expose the rotten underbelly of Johannesburg, which is shown as divided between the have and have-not's. Zinzi herself will use people to gain the information she needs to track down the missing person, and at the same time we get to see that Zinzi has a lot to learn about the world and her feelings as most of the book she seems to have built armour to keep her from connecting truly to people.
Of course - being a fantasy review site - this isn’t a gritty crime novel. Although you will not find wizards or goblins here, what you will find is an intriguing “what if?” urban fantasy story that gives a twist to the contemporary world we live in. If I forgot to mention before, this story involves animals and magic, that fits into the world of Zoo City. As well as inviting questions as to why people who are different from the norm are treated in different circumstances.
This makes the book sound very serious, but the characters and the situation are written in such a way that there is some humour in the darkness as people look to live, love and survive in a world with as many hidden dangers as there are everyday ones.
If you are looking for a book that makes you think, pick this one up.
This Zoo City book review was written by Michelle Herbert
Have you read Zoo City?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Zoo City reader reviews
9.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a reader review for Zoo City by Lauren Beukes; it really helps other readers find that perfect next read. Kindly enter your name, country and review below and click the 'Submit your review' button to send.
More recommended reading in this genre
Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves. Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by t...
Residue follows 17-year-old Jack Bishop after his father is abducted and a monster is let loose in his small town. As he looks for his father, he begins to notice that he c...
A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell. She a...
In the wake of their Aunt Amity’s suicide, Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned to Caveat, the eerie, decaying mansion in the Hollywood hills in which they were rai...
Ten years ago, Stefan Korsak's younger brother was kidnapped. Not a day has passed that Stefan hasn't thought about him. As a rising figure in the Russian mafia, he...
Dean Vincent Carter
They're all dead now. I am the last one. Dr Morrow can't identify the 'thing' he found living in the lake but he knows it's dangerous ...then it goes mi...
The Silent End
In a mist-covered town in the Pacific Northwest three teenagers find themselves pitted against an unearthly menace that dwells beneath the foundations of their high school....
Sweet Sixteen and never been... killed. Leslie Burrows was born the same day as her grandmother, and each year they have two celebration parties with her grandmother's ...
Into Bones like Oil
People come to The Angelsea, a rooming house near the beach, for many reasons. Some come to get some sleep, because here, you sleep like the dead. Dora arrives seeking...
Great books also published in 2010
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Five hundred years into the third age of flight and mighty phraxships steam across the immensity of the Deepwoods, plying their lucrative trade between the three great citi...
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky - a palace above the...
Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defe...
My name is John Cleaver. I live in Clayton County, in a mortuary on the edge of town. I have a mother and a sister and an aunt. I’m sixteen years old. I like reading,...
An indispensable guidebook to the Soul Society, Color Bleach+: The Bleach Official Bootlegtakes you behind the scenes in the shadowy world of the Soul Reapers. All Thirteen...
The Way of Kings
Roshar is a world of stone swept by tempests that shape ecology and civilization. Animals and plants retract; cities are built in shelter. In centuries since ten orders of ...
Guy Gavriel Kay
For two years Shen Tai has mourned his father, living like a hermit beyond the borders of the Kitan Empire, by a mountain lake where terrible battles have long been fought ...
Once Walked With Gods
The elves have fled to Calius, seeking to escape the overwhelming power of the demonic Garonin. A desperate last stand in their own dimension saved the race, at the cost of...
Towers of Midnight
The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One's prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unravelling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to spill out o...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: