This is one of the best books of any genre I have read in years - lucky, as it is nigh-on unclassifiable. It mixes tropes from alt-history, sci-fi, fantasy and crime, without being rooted in any of them.
Saying too much would spoil the surprise; suffice it to say that the central conceit is so carefully introduced and handled that it made me gasp the first time I saw it in its entirety, and it is a testament to Mieville's skill as a writer that he keeps building on that premise without ever making the edifice crumble. It is a powerful allegory for the life of any city-dweller.
The narration by John Lee is also flawless, an after listening to Kraken and Perdido Street Station by the same author and narrator, I can't imagine anyone else as the voice of Mievilles fiction.
I confess to being completely baffled by the first few chapters of the book: maybe I hadn't read the flyleaf or maybe I'm just dumb. But when I figured out that the City and the City occupy the same geographical space and how and what it meant to breach, I was captivated. The idea of two interlaced and superposed solitudes blew me away, and to tie a murder mystery into the mix absolutely brilliant. I would read this book again and I've recommended the author to many, and so I'm doing it to you too.
I read that this genre is called
Great way to read great books on the go. Love Sci Fi especially Orson Scott Card and Star Wars.
Excellent Political Allegory
Inspector Borlu was a great character for the reader to follow around. He is a cop but is very likeable with real emotions and a great arc.
Melodic, smoky, engaging.
When Borlu confronts the professor in the boundary, I was riveted. China writes the book in a way that you can interpret the boundary as real, imagined, or magical and the story still makes sense. A perfect allegory for our made up boundaries in our own world.
Wow, China Mieville has done it again. A great blend of sci-fi and hard-boiled genres. John Lee continues to amaze me as an outstanding narrator who lets the story take center stage. Excellent all way around.
The story started out quite slowly, built up gradually and ended too quickly. Perhaps the lack of a detailed ending is an invitation to a sequel- I'd RSVP in the negative.
The "science" aspect of the fiction is odd and inadequately explored. I never quite got the significance or origin of the coexistence of 2 cities occupying the same physical space.
Mostly this is a murder mystery with the fantasy serving only an important piece of background.
Overall an adequate listen and fairly short, so nothing lost.
John Lee is my favorite narrator and did not disappoint.
The premise that one can suspend disbelief to such a degree as the author asks of his readers/listeners was a bit much. Only in Europe would one find the idiotic idea of two cities occupying the same patch of land, not in multiple dimensions, but in the really, really real world. The overlord policing organization "Breach" has unrealistic powers, abilities and weapons. For the most part it is a rather simple murder mystery that the author tried to make original by tossing the whole premise into a blender and expecting the frappe to be astonishing and amazing. For the life of me, I cannot understand why this book is such the buzz in the sci-fi and fantasy cliques.
I had Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" in my head when I read the synopsis of this book. It is nothing like that. In fact, the author uses made-up terms in a manner that just assumes you already understand them. So much so that for the first 2 hours I thought I was listening to the wrong book because it really didn't seem to match the description. Even after I started to put the pieces together, the plot was just not interesting to me. The author went so far out of his way to manufacture a compelling plot that it felt as such. Unfortunately for me, I have a hard time refusing to consume something that I've paid for, so I suffered through this overly drawn-out work for no good reason.
A perfect fantasy novel. Mieville creates a bizarre setting and makes it feel completely plausible. He then explores every possible permutation of it, drawing out the richness in the central conceit. It's a tour de force.
The reader is slightly irritating at first - he keeps pausing before the some of the hard-to-pronounce words - but you'll get used to his odd diction, and in a way it rather suits the novel, giving it a sense of foreignness.
The author has a very creative idea about two cities belonging to rival nations. The people are trained not to see what goes on in the "other city" even when it is right in front of them. But after while this gets old and, finally, irritating. I stuck with the entire book and enjoyed it from time to time, but cannot recommend it.