Book review: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

I’m not a fan of science fiction writing at all, but I’ve watched the PR machine around this book and was a little curious. I obtained a digital copy via a Humble Bundle deal, and read it on my Kindle – and must be honest, I was hooked from the get-go. 

The fact that the book is set in Johannesburg, in areas that are known and familiar to me helps – I like to have a little bit of reality to hang fantasy on! The lead character, Zinzi December, is intriguing, and I suppose the fact that she’s a writer by trade (if you call a 419 scam correspondent a writer!) also helps.

The book moves quickly, the plot intrigues are fast paced, and the science fiction / fantasy elements are very well crafted. I’m not sure if it’s a genre thing, or whether it’s a polite borrowing from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, but the bond between humans and their animals is very well crafted and presented. 

The climax is fast paced and spectacularly brutal, and I’m happy to report that the book does not have a happy Hollywood ending. However, the closing pages do leave the door open for Zinzi December to return, and I will certainly read any sequel that may appear. 

I enjoyed the book so much that I’m no reading Beukes’ next book, The Shining Girls, and I will look out for her first one, Moxyland too.