The Captain’s Log – zoo city (Lauren Beukes)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This be one of me reads in me May BookBum Club Challenge where the theme be “around the world: a book by an author who is from another country.”  This author be from South Africa.  I was reminded of this book’s existence from me recent look at me NetGalley Rejections – Part Two.  I had requested it back in the day and was denied.  So what better time to read it then for this challenge?

The blurb starts with “Zinzi has a sloth on her back.”  A women who is bonded with a sloth?  Ummm yes!  So this is a fantasy book with a gritty atmosphere, awesome protagonist, and lyrical writing.  It also won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel back in 2011.

The magic in this world is weird and awesome.  So basically, if ye commit a crime then ye be bonded with an animal familiar.  If yer animal dies then ye get dragged to the Underworld i.e. hell.  So of course the people who have these animals are at the bottom of the social ladder and be pariahs.  Because obviously if ye have an animal it is proof that ye be bad.  But a positive to yer animal is that ye be granted a magical power.  There is no rhyme or reason to what animal or power a person gets.  Zinzi has a sloth and the ability to find lost things – keys, wallets, people.  It is her ability to find people that causes her so much grief in this story.

Zinzi doesn’t normally do missing person cases because of the complications involved.  But her debt to her ex-drug dealers is skyrocketing, she hates being a part of the 419 scams they give her, and this might be her ticket out of debt and into more freedom.  I have to admit that I adored both Zinzi and her Sloth companion.  Yes Zinzi made mistakes.  But I couldn’t help but root for her anyway.

Zinzi has to find the missing person while dodging murder charges, finding clues, and trying to survive in the slum.  For me the unique world-building and characterizations are what made the novel.  The plot was okay but had some holes, some unanswered questions, some predictable plot twists, and a less-than satisfactory ending.  But I adored Zinzi and the world the author created.  I believe this be a stand-alone but I wouldn’t mind more stories set in this world.  And I do believe I love the author’s writing style enough to give another novel of hers a try.

Much thanks to the BookBum Club for giving me the incentive to read this delightful “around the world” novel.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit and a talent for finding lost things. But when a little old lady turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, she’s forced to take on her least favourite 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.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Lauren Beukes – Author

To buy the book go to:

zoo city – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous BookBum Club Monthly Reviews

March 2018 – “And the award goes to – pick a book that has won an award!”

April 2018 – “Short and sweet – read a book that’s under 200 pages!”

15 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – zoo city (Lauren Beukes)

  1. I’ve never heard of this book but it sounds FASCINATING. I can’t believe I missed just a well-awarded book. Plus, this magic system is brilliant. Do you have any idea where the idea came from? Mythology or just out of nowhere…

    What made you select this book over others for your BookBum challenge?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I chose this book because I was reminded of it when I wrote me NetGalley rejections part two. And the combinations of sloth and the around the world theme just seemed perfect. Also the book I had planned to read was about a defector from North Korea and I realized that I was not in the mood for something quite that intense. I don’t know where she came up with the magic system. I met to do more research and then got highly distracted (as usual). This book is definitely unique and recommended.
      x The Captain


    1. I didn’t realize she wrote Shining Girls! I remember trying that one and not being able to get into it. Broken Monsters sounds fun though. I will give that one a try next. My ports for plunder list number has skyrocketed today 🙂
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.