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At over 850 pages, Perdido Street Station by China Mieville took me a long time to finish but it was well worth it. This was a book I'd often looked at it in Waterstone's but had never seriously considered reading as it looked far too long and more like an SF novel than fantasy. Earlier this year, Dragon magazine devoted nearly a whole issue to China Mieville's creations: the city of New Crobuzon whose hub is Perdido Street Station itself, and the larger world of Bas-Lag, its weird races (the insect-headed khepri, the toad-like vodaynoi and bird-headed garuda) and even stranger monsters (the engimatic Weaver and the terrifying slake-moths). These articles described a fantasy setting with steampunk, industrial and SF elements reminsicent of Gormenghast, Sigil and Midgar, but wholly unique. I decided to read the book and I'm very glad I did.

Despite its length, the story moves along at a snappy pace and Mieville brings the grimy, gothic city of New Crobuzon and its colourful and corrupt inhabitants to life vividly through excellent use of language. The central character, Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, is an unlikely hero: an overweight, slobby fringe scientist whose experiments with crisis mathematics and the power of flight unleash the terror of the slake-moths on the city. Realising the nightmare that follows is down to him, Isaac and a rag-tag band of renegade companions seek the assistance of the Construct Council and the multidimension-dwelling spider-like Weaver in putting things right. Throughout the book, the reader also sees events through the eyes of Yagharek, a disgraced garuda who seeks the restoration of his severed wings, and of Lin, Isaac's khepri lover who undertakes an artistic commission for a dangerous and grotesque crime boss. At times horrifying, at others sad, this is a great book and very different from other fantasy fiction.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 24th, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
Nice! Glad you liked it. You should read The Scar next. I liked it even more than I liked Perdido Street Station, and that's saying something.
Nov. 24th, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely read The Scar soon but I'm going to have to read this next. I've heard that Iron Council is a bit of a disappointment though?
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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