Author: Lauren Beukes
Pages: 358 (Paperback)
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Release Date: April 29, 2010
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit, and a talent for finding lost things. When a little old lady turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, Zinzi's forced to take on her least favorite kind of job--missing persons.
Being hired by reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum where the criminal underclass and their animal companions live in the shadow of hell's undertow. Instead, it catapults Zinzi deeper into the maw of a city twisted by crime and magic, where she'll be forced to confront the dark secrets of former lives--including her own.
Zoo City was so weird, but definitely in a good way! Zinzi is a recovering addict and an ex-journalist who now writes scam e-mails when she’s not using her magic to find lost items. While she’s returning her latest finds, one of her clients winds up dead, she’s a suspect, and someone wants to hire for a missing person (one of her no-nos!). Well, Zinzi needs the money after her payment is confiscated as “evidence” and soon she’s sucked into the glamorous and dangerous music industry as she searches for a missing popstar.
What I liked best about Zoo City was the format. It is mainly told from Zinzi’s first person account, but there’s also some addition documents thrown in. We get an example of one of her e-mail scams which we also get to see her follow up with the in-person portion. There’s movie blurbs and reviews which explain more about the Aposymbiots (people who have animals linked to them). There’s some magazine articles about the singers and producer that Zinzi is working with. It all came together very well and didn’t disrupt the flow of the story at all. I just wish there had been something that fully explained where these animal companions came from and how they get tied to their human.
Where Zoo City started to lose me was in the last 100 or so pages. Zinzi had already found Song, so what else is there? Sure the circumstances were quite suspicious, but I’m not sure that I cared anymore. Once Song is back home, there’s suddenly more action and danger, and Zinzi just can’t catch a break. It was a lot crammed in all of a sudden, and it did get to be a bit confusing in places. The ending is also quite bittersweet. I definitely can’t call that a happy ending based on everything that happened. But I suppose things worked out at least for Zinzi?
In the end, I liked Zoo City. It held my attention until nearly the end. The setting and world building are quite unique and interesting. I can honestly say that I hadn’t read anything quite like this before.