The Cityborn
Two young individuals must uncover the dark secrets of their stratified city in this suspenseful sci-fi standaloneThe metal City towers at the center of the mountain-ringed Heartland, standing astride the deep chasm of the Canyon like a malevolent giant, ruled with an iron fist by the First Officer and his Provosts in the name of the semi-mythical Captain. Within its corroding walls lies a stratified society, where the Officers dwell in luxury on the Twelfth Tier while the poor struggle to survive on the First and Second, and outcasts scrabble and fight for whatever they can find in the Middens, the City's rubbish heap, filling the Canyon beneath its dripping underbelly.Alania, ward of an Officer, lives on Twelfth. Raised among the privileged class, Alania feels as though she is some sort of pampered prisoner, never permitted to explore the many levels of the City. And certainly not allowed to leave the confines of the City for any reason. She has everything a young woman could want except a loving family and personal freedom.Danyl, raised by a scavenger, knows no home but the Middens. His day-to-day responsibility is to stay alive. His sole ambition is to escape from this subsistence existence and gain entrance to the City--so near and yet so far out of reach--in hopes of a better life.Their two very different worlds collide when Alania, fleeing from an unexpected ambush, plunges from the heights of the City down to the Middens, and into Danyl's life.Almost immediately, both of them find themselves pursued by the First Officer's Provosts, for reasons they cannot fathom--but which they must uncover if they are to survive. The secrets they unlock, as they flee the Canyon and crisscross the Heartland from the City's farmlands to the mountains of the north and back again, will determine not only their fate, but the fate of the City...and everyone who lives there.

The Cityborn Details

TitleThe Cityborn
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 4th, 2017
PublisherDaw Books
ISBN0756411777
ISBN-139780756411770
Number of pages405 pages
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Dystopia, Young Adult

The Cityborn Review

  • Katelyn (Lost as Alice, Mad as the Hatter)
    April 23, 2017
    "The Cityborn can save us, but there are so many things that could go wrong." Actual Rating: 3.5The Cityborn is actually (dare I say it) somewhat unique for me in the science fiction meets dystopia book world. There is a city located in a huge floating structure. Within this structure's walls, there are 13 levels. And, each level represents a thinly veiled caste system. The 1 level is were the least amount of resources and jobs are allocated. Its problems range from poverty to drug trade. Th "The Cityborn can save us, but there are so many things that could go wrong." Actual Rating: 3.5The Cityborn is actually (dare I say it) somewhat unique for me in the science fiction meets dystopia book world. There is a city located in a huge floating structure. Within this structure's walls, there are 13 levels. And, each level represents a thinly veiled caste system. The 1 level is were the least amount of resources and jobs are allocated. Its problems range from poverty to drug trade. The walls have long since been torn down due to overcrowding. There are no opportunities and reproductive rights are managed. Protests will leave you kidnapped and incarcerated before being tortured to death. As we go up in floors, the accomodations and opportunities get better. The exception is the 10th floor...that is where the prison is. The prison is actually a death sentence as no one ever comes back from the 10th floor. On the 12th floor live the officers, individuals in the upper crest of society that control and manage the whole kit and caboodle. The officers answer to one person-- the First Officer-- a corrupt and power hungry individual who has cloned himself into madness. There is no going "up." The world outside of the city is worse. It is a wasteland housed in the dump site of the city's trash. Gangs control this world and there is no rule of law accept what it takes to survive. The cityborn could change all of this. The cityborn is a project and this project, by necessity, must span 20 years before coming to fruition. It is a project that will save a society. Or at least, it will save the hierarchy of that society's positions. But whether the cityborn are meant to save the city or the city's important denizens is irrelevant because the city is dying. However, there are those who seek change. There are those who fight for freedom in this oppressive system. And they do not want the First Officer to succeed with the cityborn. A plot is hatched and the downtrodden execute it. Now they must dodge discovery for the next 2 decades until the cityborn are ready to be used. And in this time, motivations can be corrupted, the living project can develop a mind of its own, and enemies can ruin everything. What this book HAS:Character Development.Unique World Building.Full Bodied Plot. What this book DOES NOT HAVE:A Ton of Action. A Fast (or even Moderate) Pace.Background Plot/Information.Lyrical Prose.Reader Beware: this book is SLOW going for the 2/3rds or so. Like the cityborn project itself, the book spans 20 years and follows the two surviving cityborn from infancy to maturity. The best part about this is that you get to see the mind and attitudes of these two kids grow and their character's develop in real time. The bad part about this is that the book is a study in anticipation: you have no idea what is going on and can only guess the real players behind the power struggle and what it could mean for this destroyed world. Another point of disfavor is that the only characters that where really developed where our two main kids. The rest where pretty much background data that would come out to (admittedly) enrich the story and then fade away again. The problem with this is that the secondary characters where the driving force for the entire plot. The main characters where only there at all and in their situations because of all the other characters' machinations. Additionally, when we discover what the city actually IS at the end, the author stops there. He does not fill in the much needed intel about how the city came to be needed in the first place. Something happened. Something tragic (this is a dystopia after all.) We never get to learn the what, how, or why of that event. And given that this is meant to be a standalone novel, I had a real problem with not knowing. On the upswing of things, the two main characters were well developed and I could not help but want to see where they ended up. The plot was intriguing and well rounded with enough tidbits and questions sprinkled throughout the chapters that I wanted to keep reading despite the languorous pace of the majority of the novel.And, when the novel picked up the pace...it really picked up the pace. We go from watching to kids grow up to watching them fight for their lives. If the majority of the plot is a study in anticipation, it quickly turns into an action-a-minute-in-the-fight sort of tale. Definitely a slow build to a major explosion. At this juncture of my review, you may be asking yourself why I rated it so highly? Entertainment, my friends. Whether or not this book had merit, I enjoyed the tale. It was unique. It was interesting. It was well developed. It had a few minor foibles, sure. And this is not a mesmeric tale by any means, but I certainly found the dichotomy of lives fascinating even when told in the plan language prose that Edward Willett uses. Recommendation: Definitely a worthy read for the avid science (more science than fantasy here folks...by a large margin. In fact, do not expect fantasy at all) fiction enthusiast. THIS ARC WAS PROVIDED VIA NETGALLEY FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.
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  • Ale Esquer
    June 24, 2017
    One of my goals this summer was to fix my sleeping schedule and actually go to sleep at a regular hour for once in my life. Unfortunately, a week into that plan, I won an ARC of the Cityborn (in exchange for an honest review). As soon as it arrived, my well-intentioned plans went out the window, and I’m now starting this review at an ungodly hour just after finishing it. I really enjoyed this book, which surprised me after reading the first couple of chapters. The premise is incredibly stereotyp One of my goals this summer was to fix my sleeping schedule and actually go to sleep at a regular hour for once in my life. Unfortunately, a week into that plan, I won an ARC of the Cityborn (in exchange for an honest review). As soon as it arrived, my well-intentioned plans went out the window, and I’m now starting this review at an ungodly hour just after finishing it. I really enjoyed this book, which surprised me after reading the first couple of chapters. The premise is incredibly stereotypical: a boy and a girl live in a dystopian society, one in luxury and one in squalor, and they’re both mysteriously “chosen ones” for something nobody seems able to speak clearly about for at least the first third of the novel.Because of this, I was a little cautious as I started reading. The writing, however, was superb, and I quickly put my harsh judgement aside. The description of the city (egg shaped, spewing garbage, vaguely reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle, only much grosser and socioeconomically-divided) was really different from the usual “well, it’s underground, the lights flicker a lot, the walls are all metallic, and there’s like tubes or something?” descriptions I’ve seen a lot (it’s either that or spaceships a lot of the time, or at least it has been in most of the books I’ve read in this genre). The whole concept of the Middens (the name given to the gang-divided trash heap under the city that Danyl, one of the main characters, calls home) was incredibly well executed. Even with a book as long as this one (just over 400 pages), I'd be lying if I say it didn't flew by, and the vividness of the setting was a big part of that for me. As for the characters, I really enjoyed Danyl and Alania. They are both surprisingly quick on the uptake (which in this sort of book really helps to move things along), and their relationship (no spoilers on that, but I’ll just say I’m really glad it ended up being what it was) was really well written, and surprisingly realistic. No “our eyes met and at once, we were in love” lines here, thankfully. The other character I also enjoyed, but I really wish we’d gotten to see more of was Yvelle. Rogue leader of a band of scavengers/resort-squatters with a dark and tormented past? Sign me up for more of that, please!The only possible quibble I’d have with this book is that it can be a little repetitive at times. Information that had just been given to some characters tended to be repeated almost immediately by another character (which was realistic, since they did have to explain things to people as they met up with them, but, as a reader, it could get a little bland to read virtually the same thing three times). Oh, and the constant mention of the "eternals" (aka green lightbulbs). I kind of felt like that was going somewhere, but it never really did. All in all, I really loved this book. Though the ending seems fairly conclusive, I’ll be honest and say I would love a second book, even if it was just a shorter one some years in the future, to see how it all worked out. Or maybe a prequel about the Captain, (who was mentioned a lot, but who didn’t really get much of a chance to talk)? I'd love to read that.
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  • Austine (NovelKnight)
    July 5, 2017
    I've finally read a dystopian that I've enjoyed. Well, I suppose it's technically sci-fi but it FELT like a dystopian with the whole world-ending, have to overthrow the government vibes.The Cityborn is told from the alternating perspectives of Alania, raised on the highest tier of the city, and Danyl, raised quite literally in the trash well below the floating metal monstrosity. It took a number of chapters to really get into the story as the author begins when both are mere infants and takes a I've finally read a dystopian that I've enjoyed. Well, I suppose it's technically sci-fi but it FELT like a dystopian with the whole world-ending, have to overthrow the government vibes.The Cityborn is told from the alternating perspectives of Alania, raised on the highest tier of the city, and Danyl, raised quite literally in the trash well below the floating metal monstrosity. It took a number of chapters to really get into the story as the author begins when both are mere infants and takes a couple chapters when they're preteens and again as teenagers, before finally reaching adulthood, to detail their lives. Once you make it through those, the story begins to pick up and I was mostly hooked.I can't say I was entirely invested until the very end, to be honest, because the pacing of this book is very slow. Any quickening of it was a reason for excitement. Much of the story involves the characters wandering through some part of the highly contained (and unexplained) world. This wasn't the worst thing to read about except that the world is never really provided in the details beyond what the scene needs. It took until quite literally the end of the book to learn anything beyond the basics of the City, and this was done in an info dump way (though it works with the situation it's presented in).Because of all that, I'm glad the two characters weren't kept apart very long because they have a really interesting dynamic. They feel a kinship for the situation they're in together and had I been forced to read their perspectives where they do everything on their own, the book wouldn't have worked for me.Alania was pampered all her life but she has a strong heart and the will to do what it takes to figure out what's going on and save her life. But she wouldn't have survived long without Danyl, and he needed a friend (as well as someone who knew the City). They needed each other, though I got really tired of reading the whole "are we siblings or can we be romantically involved" scenario that came up several times over in their early days of knowing each other. Gave me Clary/Jace (Mortal Instruments) vibes but thankfully the author didn't handle it how I expected (which is a good thing, mind you).Honestly, I think the ending sealed the deal for me on The Cityborn. I wasn't necessarily invested until then but it really brought the story full circle and those details made this book stand out in its uniqueness for me. Though slow, the writing is well done and the fact that there isn't a lot of background information on the world or the characters (more so the secondary ones), those gaps kept me reading hoping for answers.My final issue with this book is that it does not look like there will be a sequel and the ending wrapped everything up so quickly that I felt it needed to either be slowed down during this book (which clearly didn't happen) or explained in a sequel. But I'd definitely recommend The Cityborn, especially for fans of sci-fi looking to branch into dystopian, and for readers like me who are tired of the typical dystopians out there.
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  • All Things Urban Fantasy
    July 24, 2017
    Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.THE CITYBORN is fueled by its dystopian society. In a place only known as ‘The City’, there are clear lines between the rich and the poor. There can be so much intrigue to a class-ruled dystopia. It’s always fun learn about how these strange societies are built, and it’s even better to watch them fall. Unfortunately, the City was a cipher for too much of the book. If you want the reader to root for the demolition of society, you need the nitty-gritty d Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.THE CITYBORN is fueled by its dystopian society. In a place only known as ‘The City’, there are clear lines between the rich and the poor. There can be so much intrigue to a class-ruled dystopia. It’s always fun learn about how these strange societies are built, and it’s even better to watch them fall. Unfortunately, the City was a cipher for too much of the book. If you want the reader to root for the demolition of society, you need the nitty-gritty details. It took too long to confirm where the City was, how it originated, or why it was there. In the City, the Officers are the ruling class, and have been maintaining power and money for generations. The rest of the population is spread out on lower levels. Some are simply poor, others essentially live in a Mad Max style dump.Stolen as children, Alania and Danyl have been raised in totally different class spheres. Alania, protected and sheltered, with the upper crust. Danyl, scavenging and fighting, in a garbage level. When they turn 20, everything changes. The relationship between Alania and Danyl was...strange. They snipe, argue, and slowly respect each other. But, even when they learn about their shared personal history, there's a lot of longing looks and awkward feelings that never go away. It was almost like the first draft of the novel had them written as lovers and the subsequent drafts never erased that tension.THE CITYBORN is oddly weighted to the point where it felt like I was reading two different novels. The first chapters follow the protagonists at different ages, but the time jumps are pure set-up. We explore the protagonist’s surroundings but ignore the more interesting aspects of the society. The plot didn’t start until Danyl and Alania turned 20. Conversely, the last few chapters are completely different. Characters die, plots speed by, settings are replaced over and over. It’s almost impossible to take a breath. But --just when it seems that the book is coming to fruition-- the plot stalls. Needless obstacles are thrown in Danyl and Alania’s escape. It seemed like only purpose for yet another sabotage was to pad out the ending.THE CITYBORN also suffers from tonal whiplash. Some plot elements are needlessly grim: forced sterilization, infanticide, graphic deaths, hidden cameras. It’s a rebellion, and it should be bloody, but it’s a little much for YA, especially since these issues are never properly investigated. The ending itself also shies away from making hard choices. When monumental, world-changing, information is discovered, it’s shrugged away. Radical changes are made, but the book ends before the City’s population (and the reader) feels the effects. Overall, THE CITYBORN is a frustrating book. Some sections are intriguing and fast-paced, but others are slow and meandering. Danyl and Alania may be the protagonists but they’re also the least interesting characters. The robots, clones, and amazing side-characters easily steal the focus from Alania and Danyl. A dystopian fan with a special love for class-division and clones may forgive THE CITYBORN’s flaws, but I found it hard to focus on the shiny metal buried under the debris.
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  • Jessica Bronder
    July 3, 2017
    The City is a large structure that is thirteen levels tall which has created a caste system. On levels one and two have those that are scrapping by to survive with the poor to drug addicts. Each level progressively gets better until level ten which is the prison. Those that go to the prison are never seen again. Level twelve houses the Officers and level thirteen is where you can find the First Officer, the one that rules everything with his power hungry methods and insanity. Alania lives on lev The City is a large structure that is thirteen levels tall which has created a caste system. On levels one and two have those that are scrapping by to survive with the poor to drug addicts. Each level progressively gets better until level ten which is the prison. Those that go to the prison are never seen again. Level twelve houses the Officers and level thirteen is where you can find the First Officer, the one that rules everything with his power hungry methods and insanity. Alania lives on level twelve. She does have things better than most but still feels like a prisoner. That is until she is chased out of the City and finds herself in the Middens, the trash heap from the City. There she meets up with Danyl, one of the people struggling to survive in the Middens. There they go on the run from the Provosts and start questioning the city, its purpose, and why it is failing.Dystopian stories are my all time favorite and I couldn’t wait to get into The Cityborn. This story revolves around Alania and Danyl. They grew up on either side of the City but find that they are the chosen, even though you don’t really know what that means. There is a good world building the first portion and this part does seem to drag a little. But once things start going, you will be flipping the pages as fast as Alania and Danyl are moving to keep ahead of the Provost. There is a lot happening in this story and it does a great job of building the world we find ourselves in. But I admit that I was left wanting at the end of the story. I would have liked to have a little more information to wrap everything up.Overall this is a great dystopian story. It’s my first book from Edward Willett and I hope to read more of his books.I received The Cityborn from Berkley Publishing Group for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
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  • Sarai Henderson
    May 17, 2017
    This book really intrigued me with its cast kind of vibe. It reminded me of Garth Nix's Seventh Tower series that I read as a kid and loved. The story moved along quickly, but kind of got bogged down in the middle. It picked right back up again though, with awesome action scenes and suspense that will leave your mind blown. Four stars for The Cityborn.Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Hilary
    May 15, 2017
    In a world with limited resources, the Free Citizens are rebelling. The Officers have ruled with callous disregard for those on the lower levels, living in luxury and security while others must scramble to survive. And then there are Alania and Danyl, never quite fitting in and always wondering where they came from, and why the City is failing.Can one sacrifice be worth the greater good? Where do you draw the line?The characters are thoughtfully drawn, never falling into stereotyped roles. Alani In a world with limited resources, the Free Citizens are rebelling. The Officers have ruled with callous disregard for those on the lower levels, living in luxury and security while others must scramble to survive. And then there are Alania and Danyl, never quite fitting in and always wondering where they came from, and why the City is failing.Can one sacrifice be worth the greater good? Where do you draw the line?The characters are thoughtfully drawn, never falling into stereotyped roles. Alania and Danyl question, don't just blindly accept what others tell them, and hold people - including themselves - to a higher standard. With purposeful focus, they reach for their destiny, knowing that one wrong choice could doom everyone.Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Koeur
    May 1, 2017
    https://koeur.wordpress.com/2017/05/0...Publisher: DAWPublishing Date: July 2017ISBN: 9780756411770Genre: SciFiRating: 3.2/5Publishers Description: The metal City towers at the center of the mountain-ringed Heartland, standing astride the deep chasm of the Canyon like a malevolent giant, ruled with an iron fist by the First Officer and his Provosts in the name of the semi-mythical Captain. Within its corroding walls lies a stratified society, where the Officers dwell in luxury on the Twelfth Tie https://koeur.wordpress.com/2017/05/0...Publisher: DAWPublishing Date: July 2017ISBN: 9780756411770Genre: SciFiRating: 3.2/5Publishers Description: The metal City towers at the center of the mountain-ringed Heartland, standing astride the deep chasm of the Canyon like a malevolent giant, ruled with an iron fist by the First Officer and his Provosts in the name of the semi-mythical Captain. Within its corroding walls lies a stratified society, where the Officers dwell in luxury on the Twelfth Tier while the poor struggle to survive on the First and Second, and outcasts scrabble and fight for whatever they can find in the Middens, the City’s rubbish heap, filling the Canyon beneath its dripping underbelly. Review: This was some crazy shjt. Not that anything is new under the post-apoc/SciFi sun, but the way it was constructed and interleaved with the characters makes it inescapably poignant. Danyl is a great character and fills the pages with some no-nonsense reasoning, especially as it applies to dipshjt…er, Alania. See, Alania is extra speshul and mostly walks around dazed and confused. When not being petulant she mumbles while in a state of shock. She soon grows out of her innocence and develops into a passable character. “So why you no give 5 stars!!”. Quite a few Deus Ex moments littered the story line and the ending was just kind of ‘meh’. Still, an entertaining read.
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  • Edward Willett
    July 4, 2017
  • Henry Lazarus
    July 27, 2017
    Edward Willett tells of a city shaped like a spaceship out of fifties sf. Its five hundred years old and under it is a trash heap of the Middens. Two of the The Cityborn (hard from Daw)are a bit special Danyl was kidnaped from a special ward and another like him murdered. He was raised in the Middens as part of a plan to free the city from its captain and first officer. Alania, raised in luxury was out of the nursery when Danyl was taken and is being moved to the first officer’s quarters on her Edward Willett tells of a city shaped like a spaceship out of fifties sf. Its five hundred years old and under it is a trash heap of the Middens. Two of the The Cityborn (hard from Daw)are a bit special Danyl was kidnaped from a special ward and another like him murdered. He was raised in the Middens as part of a plan to free the city from its captain and first officer. Alania, raised in luxury was out of the nursery when Danyl was taken and is being moved to the first officer’s quarters on her twentieth birthday when she survives an assassination attempt by falling down a garbage chute to the Middens. Luck brings the two together, but the first officer will stop at nothing to capture them. So they run across a poison-filled, decayed area with no idea of why they are important. Exciting.Review printed by Philadelphia Weekly Press
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