The Cityborn

The Cityborn

by Edward Willett


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756411770
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: 07/04/2017
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Edward Willett is the award-winning author of more than fifty books of science fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction for adults, young adults, and children. Born in New Mexico, he moved to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, from Texas as a child, and now lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, with his wife, Margaret Anne Hodges, P.Eng., their teenaged daughter, Alice, and their black Siberian cat, Shadowpaw. Ed received the Aurora Award for best Canadian science fiction novel in English in 2009 for Marseguro (DAW Books); its sequel, Terra Insegura, was short-listed for the same award. Ed has also written for DAW as Lee Arthur Chane (Magebane) and E.C. Blake (The Masks of Aygrima trilogy). In addition to writing, Ed is an actor and singer who has appeared in numerous plays, musicals, and operas, both professionally and just for fun. He can be found at

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Excerpted from "The Cityborn"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Edward Willett.
Excerpted by permission of DAW.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Cityborn 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
NovelKnight More than 1 year ago
I've finally read a dystopian that I've enjoyed. Well, I suppose it's technically sci-fi but it FELT like a dystopian with the whole world-ending, have to overthrow the government vibes.  The Cityborn is told from the alternating perspectives of Alania, raised on the highest tier of the city, and Danyl, raised quite literally in the trash well below the floating metal monstrosity. It took a number of chapters to really get into the story as the author begins when both are mere infants and takes a couple chapters when they're preteens and again as teenagers, before finally reaching adulthood, to detail their lives. Once you make it through those, the story begins to pick up and I was mostly hooked.  I can't say I was entirely invested until the very end, to be honest, because the pacing of this book is very slow. Any quickening of it was a reason for excitement. Much of the story involves the characters wandering through some part of the highly contained (and unexplained) world. This wasn't the worst thing to read about except that the world is never really provided in the details beyond what the scene needs. It took until quite literally the end of the book to learn anything beyond the basics of the City, and this was done in an info dump way (though it works with the situation it's presented in). Because of all that, I'm glad the two characters weren't kept apart very long because they have a really interesting dynamic. They feel a kinship for the situation they're in together and had I been forced to read their perspectives where they do everything on their own, the book wouldn't have worked for me. Alania was pampered all her life but she has a strong heart and the will to do what it takes to figure out what's going on and save her life. But she wouldn't have survived long without Danyl, and he needed a friend (as well as someone who knew the City). They needed each other, though I got really tired of reading the whole "are we siblings or can we be romantically involved" scenario that came up several times over in their early days of knowing each other. Gave me Clary/Jace (Mortal Instruments) vibes but thankfully the author didn't handle it how I expected (which is a good thing, mind you).  Honestly, I think the ending sealed the deal for me on The Cityborn. I wasn't necessarily invested until then but it really brought the story full circle and those details made this book stand out in its uniqueness for me. Though slow, the writing is well done and the fact that there isn't a lot of background information on the world or the characters (more so the secondary ones), those gaps kept me reading hoping for answers.  My final issue with this book is that it does not look like there will be a sequel and the ending wrapped everything up so quickly that I felt it needed to either be slowed down during this book (which clearly didn't happen) or explained in a sequel. But I'd definitely recommend The Cityborn, especially for fans of sci-fi looking to branch into dystopian, and for readers like me who are tired of the typical dystopians out there.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
The City is a large structure that is thirteen levels tall which has created a caste system. On levels one and two have those that are scrapping by to survive with the poor to drug addicts. Each level progressively gets better until level ten which is the prison. Those that go to the prison are never seen again. Level twelve houses the Officers and level thirteen is where you can find the First Officer, the one that rules everything with his power hungry methods and insanity. Alania lives on level twelve. She does have things better than most but still feels like a prisoner. That is until she is chased out of the City and finds herself in the Middens, the trash heap from the City. There she meets up with Danyl, one of the people struggling to survive in the Middens. There they go on the run from the Provosts and start questioning the city, its purpose, and why it is failing. Dystopian stories are my all time favorite and I couldn’t wait to get into The Cityborn. This story revolves around Alania and Danyl. They grew up on either side of the City but find that they are the chosen, even though you don’t really know what that means. There is a good world building the first portion and this part does seem to drag a little. But once things start going, you will be flipping the pages as fast as Alania and Danyl are moving to keep ahead of the Provost. There is a lot happening in this story and it does a great job of building the world we find ourselves in. But I admit that I was left wanting at the end of the story. I would have liked to have a little more information to wrap everything up. Overall this is a great dystopian story. It’s my first book from Edward Willett and I hope to read more of his books. I received The Cityborn from Berkley Publishing Group for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.