[REVIEW] THE CITY INSIDE - SAMIT BASU (ENGLISH REVIEW)
All reviews here are purely personal opinions and do not intend to degrade or glorify the work of others. Everyone has their own reading tastes. Thank you.
Title: The City Inside
Author: Samit Basu
Expected Publication: 7 June 2022
Pages: 256 pages
“They'd known the end times were coming but hadn’t known they’d be multiple choice.”
Joey is a Reality Controller in near future Delhi. Her job is to supervise the multimedia multi-reality livestreams of Indi, one of South Asia’s fastest rising online celebrities—who also happens to be her college ex. Joey’s job gives her considerable culture-power, but she’s too caught up in day-to-day crisis-handling to see this, or to figure out what she wants from her life.
Rudra is a recluse estranged from his wealthy and powerful family who fled to an impoverished immigrant neighborhood where he loses himself in video games and his neighbors' lives. When his father’s death pulls him back into his family’s orbit, an impulsive job offer from Joey becomes his only escape from the life he never wanted.
But no good deed goes unpunished. As Joey and Rudra become enmeshed in multiple conspiracies, their lives start to spin out of control, complicated by dysfunctional relationships, corporate loyalty, and the never-ending pressures of surveillance capitalism. When a bigger picture begins to unfold around them, they must each decide how to do the right thing in a shadowy world where simply maintaining the status quo feels like an accomplishment. Ultimately, resistance will not—cannot—take the same shape for these two very different people.
Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing me the ARC with an exchange honest review.
At first, I was interested in reading this because the setting is in India, I've never read a book with a setting in India, it also brings a timeline in the future and it's dystopian too. The story is also centered on the world of entertainment with a version that is quite different from what we know today, maybe the concept is like Youtube in today's times, but they use a more different platform.
To be honest when I read this it was really confusing, I couldn't understand the situation there. I'm confused by the current world situation. I only understand that there is chaos there, there are many demonstrations, then the issue of distrust of the government and there is CCTV in all directions. So, I had a really hard time connecting and imagining what the world was like. Then, I also can't really tell what year this actually happened, so I can't imagine how advanced or backward the world should be now.
When I read it, I also couldn't imagine where the conflict would take me or what would be discussed except for what was stated in the blurb. Up to 70% of reading this book, we can see what the conflict is, because I think from the beginning to 70% it tells more about the conditions in India at that time, then the personal life stories of Joey, Rudra and the people around them. In my opinion, this book tells more about the condition of the environment and the characters than the actual conflict
When the conflict began to unfold and the situation started to become exciting, it was disappointing because I didn't understand the solution at all, in fact it seemed that we was hanged and I couldn't see what the main character was doing with the conflict. And suddenly the story back again talking about the entertainment world. Even though the conflict raised is good about conspiracy and ambition to dominate the world/India. It's a shame it's just like it was just mentioned and then skip, it was not continued.
The characters also can't make me interested in following their story because there's nothing really interesting to say. Both Joey and Rudra also don't stand out too much and I don't see too much character development except for Rudra, who may have a little development but is actually "covered" and doesn't see how the ending will be.
For this book, I rate it 3/5 ⭐ because I am quite disappointed with the conflict that is being carried out even though it have the potential and good, not sure if this is a series or not.