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The Cityborn

The Cityborn, July 2017
by Edward Willett

Featuring: Danyl; Alania
352 pages
ISBN: 0756411777
EAN: 9780756411770
Kindle: B01M4GPFFH
Hardcover / e-Book
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"A dystopian tower city where classes are dividied between levels from priveleged to poor."

Fresh Fiction Review

The Cityborn
Edward Willett

Reviewed by Nick Taraborrelli
Posted October 5, 2017

Science Fiction

In a dystopian future world, a giant metal tower known as "The City" looms at the edge of a deep canyon. The City is a caste system divided into thirteen tiers, each of which houses a different class of the tower's inhabitants. The very bottom floor is made up of the extremely poor, sick, downtrodden, and dregs of society. Most are criminals or the drug-addicted. As you rise, each floor becomes a more-privileged class. The Twelfth Tier is where Alania, the ward of a high-ranking officer, lives. Alania struggles with her pampered existence and yearns to find out what exists in the floors below her tier. She gets her wish but not in the way she'd hoped as a failed ambush forces her to flee from her protected tier and head down into the unknown. Along the way, she meets a Midden resident named Danyl. Danyl has exactly the opposite desires as he wishes beyond anything to elevate himself somehow to the upper levels. The City is ruled by an iron-fisted government, however, and he soon realizes that Middens are Middens and that's exactly how the authoritarians in power wish it to continue.

THE CITYBORN details the struggles of the unfortunate population of The City and how even under the most oppressive form of segregation and oppression, the human spirit always yearns for something better and nothing can quell that desire, especially for those like Alania and Danyl. Eventually, these two unlikely companions must force themselves to accept and try to understand each other if either of them wishes to survive what is coming. For even if they manage to escape the authorities who are trying to capture them and maintain order in The City, they still face even worse dangers from the inhabitants of the mysterious lower levels. The horrors that await them from above and below may crush them like a vice if they cannot find a way to break the chains of prejudice and ignorance.

So much to say about THE CITYBORN by Edward Willett. It was very reminiscent of another one of my favorite dystopian books -- WOOL by Hugh Howey. The idea of a population of people forced to live in a metal building divided by class floors is quite interesting. I thought the author did such an amazing job of describing the different types of people who lived in those levels. Another aspect that the author did well was to effectively show a parallel to our society today. We have never been more divided as a people with prejudice and racism threatening to tear us apart. I couldn't help but think as I was reading THE CITYBORN that there were a lot of lessons to be learned from what the author was conveying.

The book is written in such a way that you can really feel the hatred of the upper class toward those living below and whom they see as inferior. THE CITYBORN was a very topical read and a scary one at that but in the end, it was also an entertaining story. Yes it is dark at times, but there's never a sense of overwhelming hopelessness and you feel like the main characters are constantly working to make things better for themselves and their respective tiers. A great book that I highly recommend.

Learn more about The Cityborn


Two young individuals must uncover the dark secrets of their stratified city in this suspenseful sci-fi standalone

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.

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.

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