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.
Our world has had divided cities, Berlin wih it's wall, Jerusalem pre 1967, etc. In this novel there is a divided city split on quantum physics (That is my guess as i's never really fully explaned) where people in one can see those in the other, but are trained not to. It's as if there are two city maps one on top of the there, at some places they are the same, at others totally distinct. Once you get this premise down it is just a detective story, but set in a very different type of location. The novelty and writing skill come in making this seem plausible and in making the story utilize the uniqueness of this enviornment. I thought it was very well done. I also liked Perdido Street Station by the same author very much.
I know this shared a Hugo Award, but I am not sure why this is considered science fiction. It is a decent detective story, taking place in the present day with no real mention of technology other than some "artifacts" that are never talked about in detail.
OK as a detective read, but as science fiction I was dissapointed.
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written, the plot was original, the characters compelling and the end was satisfying. The author did such an excellent job building the unique landscape of the story. The story itself is a little complex and not for someone looking for a light plot. I also love the parallels that can be drawn with other border and immigration issues that we encounter around the world.
This book would make a great movie!
The book introduced an interesting concept of parallel cities; however, the concept was confusing and extremely difficult to visualize.
Except for a strange and imperfectly-implemented sci-fi twist, it's a good noir cop story, with good characters and good narration. The sci-fi part, or maybe it's fantasy, is so subtle at first that it's hard to follow even though, or maybe because, all the characters understand perfectly. The ultimate explanation for the sci-fi part isn't especially believable, and it's hard to understand. The story is complex and hard to follow in audio; had I known, I probably would have read this rather than listening to it.