The Municipalists by Seth Fried

I’m slipping this review in on a lazy, stormy Sunday afternoon because, honestly, I don’t normally review books that I didn’t finish. The Municipalists, however, is an interesting dystopian tale that comes so close to being really good that I think there may be those out there who enjoy it far more than I did and for that reason I want to bring it to your attention.


Set in the near future, man has achieved its dream of creating a near perfect city, Metropolis, that is run, along with its sister city, by the United States Municipal Survey. It’s all quite perfect, logical, white button down, starched shirts and a place that makes our protagonist, Henry Thompson, the ultimate bean-counter, very VERY content. Until the day when a series of bombs are detonated and begin to systematically destroy the infrastructure that keeps Metropolis running, including its very important artificial intelligence systems. Henry Thompson, along with his wise-cracking AI, OWEN, are tasked with hunting down the suspects, including a former US Olympian and daughter of one of the top bureaucrats.

The Municipalists has such a great premise and a cast of wonderful characters. The dialogue between Henry and OWEN is almost worth the time it takes to read the book. The problem is that no idea in itself is ever fully developed. The characters, aside from OWEN, ironically, never are fleshed out so there is no attachment to them. The idea of this world crumbling around these happens so quickly in the beginning of the book that the satire, which should be present, is not. You recognize that it should be there, and the void it leaves it palpable. There are thrills, shoot-outs, and adventures for Henry and Owen but because you are not invested in their characters, these incidents don’t really matter. In essence, the words are there, the premise is there but they are not woven together into material that is strong enough to capture and hold your attention.

I really would like to see more from this author and can recognize that there is talent here but perhaps not wholly realized just yet.

Thank you to #PenguinPublishingGroup and #Edelweiss for my copy of #TheMunicipalists.

8 thoughts on “The Municipalists by Seth Fried

    1. I think it is definitely a manly man book. I hoped that the urban planner in me would appreciate it more and I absolutely loved The Machine Stops, but it didn’t grab me like I hoped. Let me know if your husband does read it and what he thought. A different perspective would be nice. Have a great week Diane. I’m going to using up my apples with all of your great apple recipes!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL – I don’t know if that’s good or bad Shalini!! LOL! I try to find books that I will like but maybe everyone else isn’t reading. If we all review the exact same book then there isn’t really any use in having a lot of book blogs. You, too, read a lot of very different books which is why I like reading your blog. Your tastes are very eclectic and open up different genres for me that I normally would pursue. 🙂 Thank you! This one was a little…. off beat for, even for me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Silemoira Gordon

    I completely disagree with your review. I cared about the characters. I was engaged throughout the entire story, which prompted me to actually finish the book.. I also think you do yourself a disservice by reviewing a book you have not finished.


    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the book so much you came here to voice your opinion! That is what reading and reviewing is all about. You will note that normally I do not review books that I have not finished but I thought highly enough of this particular book that he felt it was necessary to share with my readers so that they could make up their own mind about reading it. I hope they, like you, will read it and enjoy it. It is never a disservice to share one’s thoughts, like-minded or opposing, when it comes to books. Thanks for sharing yous.


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