Monday, July 6, 2015

The Just City by Jo Walton

The Just City is a unique dystopia, or utopia, which is focused on Greek gods, mythology, and Plato's work The Republic, though you can read this book without having to read The Republic. This is a book intended for mature audiences, it hits on heavy issues, and there is rape scenes in it, though nothing I believe to be extremely graphic.

The base of the book is about the Greek god Athene. She brings various people throughout all of time, historical figures, everyday people, and even robots' to Atlantis in order to build Plato's Just City. This book is an interesting mix, bringing successful people from all over the time spectrum to one place to discuss philosophy and create the Just City Plato had dreamed of.

Plato's Just City brings up many philosophy questions, and social issues that come from many different centuries into question. The book itself focuses more so on the development of the city through the eyes of three characters, Maia, one of those chosen to build the city, Simmea, a child of the city, and Apollo, the god who becomes mortal in order to participate as a child in the Just City. As the city grows, some of the issues touched upon are human breeding instead of marriage and love, if humans can have relationships without crossing the line of sex and without loving someone more then the other citizens, and discussions on trust, souls, and free will. There are many more subjects presented, those are simply some of the examples that I enjoyed exploring myself. The biggest question is should justice go over happiness, and I suggest that question to be at the forefront of your mind when you read this.

Jo Walton is an incredible writer, she has a grand understanding of Greek mythology and Plato's literature. Walton was able to show the true nature of Greek gods extremely well, and did just as good of a job on the human characters and their relationships. I could find no fault in the writing of The Just City, I highly recommend this, specifically if you are interested in dystopias or utopias, Greek mythology, and Plato's works.

This work was published in 2014, but the ending did leave room for a second installment, which I look forward to if she decides to continue on with it.

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