I hate ambiguous endings. I don’t want to invest time in reading a whole novel and then end up not knowing what happened. I genuinely don’t see how that can be enjoyable.

This happened recently with The City Inside by Samit Basu. I loved the world building in this book. This is a near future version of India. Specifically it is set in Delhi. There has been massive political upheaval, waves of pandemics, and the climate is wrecked.

Flows are channels where people live stream a very scripted version of their lives. Joey is a “reality controller”. She is producer for her ex-boyfriend Indy’s flow. She is considered to be the best in the business. Indy is on the verge of superstardom. This puts her on the radar of several very unsavory individuals.

I don’t think there is anything quite as scary as near-future dystopia. Everything in this book is so distressingly possible. Everything that seems odd on the surface is logically derived from things that are happening now. The world building is the best part of this book. I loved seeing where the author thought life was going to go.

The story wasn’t as good and that is where the ending comes in. As soon as the audiobook finished I went immediately to Goodreads to see if I missed something or if I was just too stupid to understand what happened. It didn’t appear to be either of those. Everyone else was confused too.

Basically, there appears to be a big plan that she is putting in place. You see each person being carefully manipulated to do what Joey wants. And then….. it is over. Did it work? What was the master plan anyway?? No idea.

So read this for the amazingly detailed world building. Admire that beautiful cover. Just don’t expect a cohesive story.