It took me a little while to get into Blackfish City thanks to the narrative style, but in the end that turned out to be one of the strengths on the novel. The basic premise is that there are a handful of people wandering around the floating city of Qaanaaq who eventually discover their connections to each other, as well as to a mysterious stranger who shows up riding on an orca, accompanied by a polar bear. The story is told through their alternating perspectives. Events take place after the world has literally fallen apart thanks to climate change, economic collapse, wars, and general declines of civilizations. We get some brief references to some of the things that happened to lead to a large population of humanity of a large floating city, but that’s not really even the point. The point is how are all the voices who narrate the story (four of them people, one a mysterious recorded archive of how people see the city called “City Without a Map”- it seems kind of like a podcast). The premise is actually pretty interesting, and I really liked the switching between everyone to build suspense.
Some characters got more rounding out than others though, and some final events occur without much apparent motivation. Kaev and Soq get a lot more speaking time and detail to their characters than either Ankit or Fill. While in some ways it makes sense, given that Soq and Kaev are shown as more active in the action of the story than the other two, but especially Fill could have been a lot more interesting. When it comes to the plot, when the plucky band of rebels go to confront the powerful few who control their world, there’s a few relationships that could have used more detail. Maybe I missed it, but I really am not quite sure why Podlove and Barron hate each other, and that kinda matters to why certain things are done/happen. I also think that the brief explanation for the clash between the orca and Liam towards the end was way too thin given the impact that the results have for the some key characters.
It also bothered me a little that Soq, who starts to realize that her idol Go would be just as bad as Podlove et al. if she succeeded in getting power, starts to sound an awful lot like Go and the bad guys towards the end in her thinking about what to do with the power and control that comes with it that they acquire through various means. I also wish that Ora had some more character to her. Even though she doesn’t personally show up until fairly late, it turns out that she’s really important to several of the characters, and the reason for a lot of things that happen up to her appearance.