This one started slowly for me, but after pushing through the first portion I was utterly absorbed. Not a title for the squeamish, but if you appreciate political intrigue, speculative science, word craft and moral conundrums, this might be for you.
This author has an amazing, intelligent and challenging writing style. You may need to keep a dictionary handy (although this isn't a bad thing). This is the first in the BasLag series.
This book totally mesmerized me. He has created a world that is thoroughly complex and satisfying without being hard to follow, and the depth of both the individual characters and the sociological milieu is impressive. And the writing! He writes like a dream. I loved this book.
Trying to stuff this book in a genre would be a hopeless task, so i can only recommend it to all those who love to read something new and different, something that isn't a easily defined, but draws you in completely.
The story is complex with a variety of flavors and ideas hitting you, and a conclusion i could not have seen when diving into the first pages. At times i found myself frustrated with all that was going on with what seemed to be a complete lack of progression or explanation - but when i threw this book to the side, i always found myself picking it back up again, hungry to know what it was all leading to.
First of his fantasy series, showing up most fantasy books as the pale derivative things they are.
If I could give this book more stars I would. I'm not a big fantasy fan as my tastes run more towards Hard Scifi and I have a difficult time suspending my disbelief long enough to take the time to understand worlds and species based entirely on imagination. But Mievill'e's writing is so evocative that it carried me past my initial misgivings and before I knew it I was lost in a great story.
There I was looking for something new and outlandish... brother, did I find it! This thing nailed me to the back wall and kept me there until I finished reading "the Scar". As luck would have it China was busy at work on "The Iron Council" so I did not have long to wait for another dose.
This is an incredible book, one of the best that I've read. Mieville reads like the hyperliterate child of Philip K. Dick and Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. He uses words and ideas in new ways, like fiction is supposed to do. The world-building in this novel is simply incredible, and his descriptions make New Crobuzon almost palpable. You can almost feel it, smell it.
In a world full of vampire books, Mieville has either pulled from more obscure legends (like the garuda) or created his own weird creatures (like the khepri), and in both cases, he has humanized them in a way that few authors bother. He develops even his "monsters" more than many authors develop their main characters.
This book is, simply put, epic. I devoured it and then recommended it to everyone I knew. I may end up having to buy another copy, as mine is getting so worn from lending. If you're interested in reading something out of the ordinary, I highly recommend this book.
China Mieville once again creates an astounding imaginative world, seamlessly blending elements from steampunk, horror, fantasy, and science fiction. But the real magic is how well China tackles traditional literary themes such as how compulsive desire often touches upon obsession. Dark and gritty, the heroes of this story suffer in the end because true enlightenment sometimes comes at a cost.
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