Zookeepers Wanted

Zoo City - Lauren Beukes

There are some things I really like about Lauren Beukes's writing. Present tense that doesn't drive me up the wall. Characters who are vivid and fatally flawed. Grungy, gritty realness that makes me slightly uncomfortable at times. Where it falls apart for me is the world building. I have no idea why some criminals in the alternate Earth of Zoo City are burdened with pseudo-familiars. I also have no idea if anyone in that world knows why. Or how. There are frequent info dumps in the form of magazine articles, movie reviews, tabloid articles, etc., but they don't do much to paint a clear picture, and the main character isn't very forthcoming either. That was my number one frustration with this book. Even though the how or why of it had little to no bearing on the plot, I wanted to know, dammit!


I can't say too much about what I liked without getting super spoilery, so I'll just say Zinzi December is a funny, interesting, messed-up main character and I had a lot of fun following her around for the past few days. I would love a Zoo City sequel or two so I could follow her around some more. Zoo City is what I was hoping Moxyland would be. I'm sure I'm still missing a ton of nuance not being familiar with South African cultures, but it was still one hell of a fun read, even when it took that sharp left turn into WTFville at about the 70% mark.


On a side note, I think this is only my second Angry Robot title to date, so I don't know if all of their ebooks look like .pdf file conversions gone wrong, but this book had the same issues as my Kindle edition of Moxyland: screwed-up paragraph indents, screwed-up quotation marks, missing hyphens, sentences cut in half to continue on a separate line like it's the start of a new paragraph, and so on. No formatted chapters, so the Kindle read it as one big chapter plus the back matter. Does Angry Robot not give a damn about formatting quality or have I just lucked out with two screwed-up files?