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While the catastrophes in N.K. Jemisin’s famed Broken Earth trilogy—each of which won a Hugo Award for best novel—threatened those living in a far-off future, in The City We Became she imbues modern New York City with vivid fantasy. It is under attack from the Enemy, a representation of white supremacy. (The novel alludes to famed early 20th-century science fiction author H. P. Lovecraft’s racism and hate for the city.) The avatars that, to their surprise, represent and must protect the five boroughs thus bond together to try to fight off the Enemy—making their diversity their strength in the face of dark forces that sometimes feel less fantastical than familiar.

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