It wasn’t until after I had finished Zoo City that I realized the author is the same Lauren Beukes who wrote The Shining Girls which is a book I really enjoyed last year. The tonal range between these two novels is huge, so I’m really excited to read more of Beukes’ work. Technically they’re both fantasy, but The Shining Girls is horror mostly rooted in reality except for one piece of magic anchoring the entire tale, whereas Zoo City is infused with magic and a fun mystery romp through a corrupt and falling apart city in South Africa.
Zinzi is part of a subset of humans bonded with an animal (in this case a sloth) and has a magical ability, finding lost things. Somehow she gets roped into working a case for some shady people and hijinks ensue. It’s amazing how searching for one lost teenybopper pop star thrusts her into the seedy underbelly of her world and things get complicated really quickly.
Beukes really has a knack for making the reader feel like they’re along for the ride. While reading this book, I really felt like I was with Zinzi and the rest of the eclectic characters trying to figure out what was going on and make it out safe. If you like books with great world building and interesting settings, this one’s for you. Then again, if you like well written characters and a fast paced plot, this one’s also for you. I guess we can just say this book is for everyone. Go read it!