The kind of book you lose an entire day to, hour after hour going by unnoticed, and emerge shaken and dazzled on the other end. The writing is clear and visceral and intense. It’s some of the most brilliant, unapologetic speculative fantasy I’ve read in years ... It's a powerful and hopeful story ... The novel approaches viciously bigoted beliefs head-on. Jemisin writes about prejudices such as racism, transphobia, homophobia and xenophobia because they are an inescapable part of the current world — and yet this story balances the only-too-real hate with genuine kindness ... A satisfying ending to Jemisin’s Great Cities duology.
Each chapter centers a different character, but Neek’s chapters are the only ones in first person ... This tonal change allows the reader more access to the character, allowing us to know Neek in a way he won’t allow the others to know him. In a way, this second novel is all about deepening our understanding of these characters, who they are, who their boroughs are ... Jemisin, in this book as much as the first, lays bare the racism, sexism, inequities and unfairness of our world, but also uplifts so many cultures and communities. For many passages, you’re either nodding knowingly or learning something new ... Jemisin molds real world events from the past few years with magic and myth into this fantastical page-turner.
... a very fast and easy read, but like the avatars at its heart, it goes through energetic bursts of development and then suffers from bouts of disconnection. Its characters are engaging and charismatic, but the plot feels exhausted and perfunctory, striving to amplify the themes and stakes of the first book but succeeding only in echoing them ... Jemisin’s walking a tightrope in these books, evoking the character of a place without falling into a caricature of it. She does this to wonderful effect with New York and its boroughs. But by introducing several other, older embodied cities, The World We Make ends up stretched thin across its points of view. Istanbul, Tokyo, London and others get only enough page space to be drawn in very broad strokes, and inevitably swerve closer to stereotype and cliché ... Several interesting developments — revelations about Manhattan’s family history, Brooklyn’s bid for mayor — feel marched to a conclusion instead of being explored.
... powerful, eminently satisfying ... Whether or not you read speculative fiction or fantasy, Jemisin's Great Cities duology is well worth exploring. Her writing is lively, brash and frequently very funny, and the way she writes about New York City is nothing short of marvelous. Her avatar characters are both entirely human --- flawed, messy, vulnerable and emotional --- and powerful in inventive and magnificent ways ... Like much great speculative fiction, the book offers both overt and oblique commentary on social and political issues (including some that were factors in the recent midterm elections) in ways that prompt readers to consider those concerns through a different lens. Although in some ways I'm still mourning the fact that there won't be a third Great Cities novel to anticipate, The World We Make is a thoroughly satisfactory conclusion. It impeccably rounds out the narrative while still keeping this reader excited to discover whatever Jemisin will dream up next.
... a better, less predictable novel than The City We Became ... Jemisin’s plot enfolds many delights, but few surprises ... Jemisin asks us to personalize the villains and then to imagine their defeat. Real-life battles against en-trenched authority are, as the Broken Earth trilogy recognized, more complex and harder to pursue, though at our scary, depressing American moment, popular novels about victories can help ... what saves The World We Make from feeling like a product of the tourist board? For one thing, it’s so much fun: the plot moves fast. For another, it’s 2022: everything the city means for Jemisin—immigration, Blackness, brownness, novelty, mutual aid, chosen family, and queerness—really does need clear defense.
Jemisin brings her living-city saga to a satisfying conclusion, maintaining a sense of energy and excitement throughout, even as she sketches in more of the multiverse of multiverses underpinning her urban (in a more literal sense than usual) fantasy setting.
Loses some of the power of the first volume even as it continues to extol New York City’s diversity, history, and unusual kindness ... Jemisin embodies the spirit of the city in as lush and lively a voice as ever and does a masterful job incorporating even more history and magic. Where this falters is in the unchanging character dynamics, familiar narrative beats, and fight scenes that feel like retreads of those in book one. Still, readers looking for another underdog tale of human connection will be satisfied—though not blown away—by this series finale.
It's cathartic to imagine fighting these slippery, inimical forces with magic, to believe for a moment that some complex problems have direct solutions—that passion, faith, and the will to fight can make miracles happen ... A ray of hope in a dark time.