Starred Review: The Just City by Jo Walton

The Just City by Jo Walton“As skilled in execution as it is fascinating in premise, Walton’s new work (after 2013’s My Real Children) doesn’t require a degree in classics, although readers might well be inspired to read Plato after seeing the rocky destruction of his dream. Although rich with philosophical discussions, what keeps this novel from becoming too chilly or analytical are its sympathetic female characters.”

Jo Walton’s The Just City got a starred review in Library Journal!

Here’s the full review, from the November 15 issue:

A host of men and women who prayed to the goddess Athena are transported to the island of Kallisti (better known as Atlantis) to create a society based on the writings of Plato, specifically his concept of the Just City from The Republic. Intrigued by the experiment, Apollo, Athena’s brother, agrees to participate, allowing himself to be reborn as a mortal to grow up in Athena’s city. The older residents who prayed to be there serve as masters, mentors to the 10,000-plus children whom they steal out of time to populate the city, hoping those exposed early enough to Plato’s ideal society will grow up to become philosopher kings. The reality is more complicated, as utopian ideals rarely play out as expected on actual human beings. VERDICT As skilled in execution as it is fascinating in premise, Walton’s new work (after 2013’s My Real Children) doesn’t require a degree in classics, although readers might well be inspired to read Plato after seeing the rocky destruction of his dream. Although rich with philosophical discussions, what keeps this novel from becoming too chilly or analytical are its sympathetic female character.

The Just City will be published on January 13.