The City


Loved it! 😍

A compelling psychological and moral journey, set in a futuristic — but all too realistic — world.

What would you do if you learned the world in which you lived was built on the backs of others?

That's the question Halim Abbas asks in his debut novel The City, which follows 25-year-old Adonis as he slowly begins to understand the structures that support his luxurious life. The City is both a coming-of-age narrative and a detective story; Adonis learns about himself, his ability to love, and his capacity to work towards social justice while simultaneously uncovering pieces of information that The City's government is deliberately keeping from its citizens.

This slow-burn uncovering is one of the most intriguing aspects of Abbas's book. Readers are treated to a series of clues, each one hard-earned, that gradually create a picture of what the world was like before The City was created. (The observant reader may figure out the secret behind The City before Adonis does, but that won't spoil the fun.)

Abbas also creates an absolutely immersive world, rich in sensory detail, that helps us understand why City residents might prefer to maintain the status quo. We're in a future that allows us to teleport to beautiful beaches and mysterious nightclubs; a world in which whatever clothing we choose to wear that morning can be instantly teleported into our closet (while our dirty laundry is instantly teleported away). Life is easy, if you're one of the people lucky enough to live in The City. If you're not — well, that's the crux of the novel.

What does Adonis owe to the people who make it possible for him to live the way he does? How much of his life is he willing to give up to help them? Abbas takes us through both familiar and unexpected territory as we follow Adonis's moral journey and watch him make both brave and foolhardy decisions.

A well-constructed debut that combines immersive science fiction with realistic social issues.

Reviewed by

Writer, editor, and teacher. I review one book a week at as part of my daily posts on the art and the finances of a creative career. Am interested in books on writing and publishing, literary fiction, and SF&F.


About the author

A 1st generation immigrant to America, Halim left Amman as a teenager for a peripatetic life spanning Ontario, New York & California. He now pioneers leading-edge AI research in healthcare. His debut novel tackles social divides he had witnessed 1st hand & the danger of socially-irresponsible techs. view profile

Published on May 15, 2020

Published by Cre8ize Publishing

110000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Dystopian

Reviewed by