The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
Writing - 8/10
Development - 8/10
Overall - 8/10
User Review( votes)
The City in the Middle of the Night is Charlie Jane Anders’ latest novel, a piece of heavy speculative fiction involving one determined girl and her tidally locked planet.
To Change the World in the City in the Middle of the Night
Charlie Jane Anders has returned with a whole new novel, The City in the Middle of the Night. This time around, she’s taking a more science fiction approach, bringing us to a new world, one full of plenty of dangers and dilemmas.
January is a planet divided. Divided by politics, belief, and even climates. Half of the planet is stuck in eternal daylight, while the other will only ever see the night. Neither of these is as wonderful as you might imagine. The end result is a small stripe in which humanity can exist—a band of twilight, so to speak.
The City in the Middle of the Night is probably the biggest bit of speculative fiction I’ve seen from Charlie Jane Anders so far. It’s also delightfully LGBT+ friendly and carries with it countless messages and points to be found.
The City in the Middle of the Night is a dense novel. And no, I don’t just mean page count (366 pages, for those that are curious). There are several heavy messages that Charlie Jane Anders wove into her narrative. They’re beautiful and thought-provoking.
Arguably, that means that this novel is anything but a light read. That isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I consider it to be a highlight of the novel. There’s so much subtlety to be found, both in the way the characters were designed, and the way the planet runs.
What I loved the most about this novel is that it left me lost in thought. There were so many parts of this book that will make you stop and think. It isn’t every day you can come across a book that does that, so treasure it when you can.
There are a lot of details I loved about this world, such as the fact that it’s tidally locked, or the struggles and history between the two cities. All of it presented a world that I was desperate to know more about.
Sophie’s journey is emotionally harrowing in The City in the Middle of the Night. That might be surprising to hear, but it carried so much impact with it. That being said, the journey itself is not one that you can predict.
It starts off leaving you with an impression of one type of tale, and then rapidly progresses to something else, only to change directions once again. It was thrilling. At times it was confusing, while at other times it was empowering.
On the whole, it made for a roller-coaster of a read. One that I thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t seem to get Sophie’s tale out of my head and find myself hoping to see more novels set in this world, if only to get another chance to see more of its politics and development.
The City in the Middle of the Night is an intense and complex read, one well worth the time if you’re willing to dedicate to it. Charlie Jane Anders somehow manages to keep surprising her readers, in all the best ways.
It’s been a year since The City in the Middle of the Night came out, and I’m happy to report that there is now one addition to the world. There is now a short story to be found (If You Take My Meaning), directly following the events of this novel. It should go without saying that you really have to read them in order. Hey, if we’re really lucky, maybe more will come out with time.
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