With this outrageous new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this—or any other—year. The London that comes to life in Kraken is a weird metropolis awash in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists, and wizards are locked in a war to bring about—or prevent—the End of All Things.
In the Darwin Centre at London’s Natural History Museum, Billy Harrow, a cephalopod specialist, is conducting a tour whose climax is meant to be the Centre’s prize specimen of a rare Architeuthis dux—better known as the Giant Squid. But Billy’s tour takes an unexpected turn when the squid suddenly and impossibly vanishes into thin air.
As Billy soon discovers, this is the precipitating act in a struggle to the death between mysterious but powerful forces in a London whose existence he has been blissfully ignorant of until now, a city whose denizens—human and otherwise—are adept in magic and murder.
All of them—and others—are in pursuit of Billy, who inadvertently holds the key to the missing squid, an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.
©2010 China Mieville (P)2010 Random House
"Mr. Miéville's novels - seven so far - have been showered with prizes; three have won the Arthur C. Clarke award, given annually to the best science fiction novel published in Britain…. [H]e stands out from the crowd for the quality, mischievousness and erudition of his writing…. Among the many topics that bubble beneath the wild imagination at play are millennial anxiety, religious cults, the relationship between the citizen and the state and the role of fate and free will." (The New York Times)
I loved Perdido Street Station and The City & The City 5 stars for me, and was thrilled to see China Mieville's Kraken. I so wanted this to work, and with John Lee how could you miss? [does Lee ever take a day off?] I struggled with the plot and never could get my arms around it. I just ended up confused. Could be I listen in the house and in bed - possibly this one requires the focus of a solo car ride. I've tried to start it again mid-way several times with no success, but I don't have the strength to start again from the beginning. Have to let it go.
This book covers many of the same interesting themes as Gaiman's American Gods, but less successfully. I just found the book to be surprisingly unengaging. Characters speak in riddles, and the author has a writing style where sentences stretch on so long by the time you finish, you forget what the sentence was about. Moreover, the reader has a sing-song quality to his voice, that for me, made it hard to focus on what he was saying. I found I kept having to go back and relisten to the section of the book I just finished, because none of it registered in my brain. I've never had this problem with any other author or narrator. Despite these impediments to getting into the book, I was still able within the first couple of hours to know just how it was going to turn out. As a result, this book pulls off a rare feat, being impenetrable and predictable at the same time.
Artist, farmer, avid reader. I am interested in all sorts of things; history, religions, psychology, cultures, travel, politics and more.
A crazy nightmare romp trying to be Gaiman-esque without the finess. What to say...sorry but I wouldn't recommend this book even if it were free. I love John Lee and he does a fantastic job of a bloody mess of a story.
Do authors just write crazy stuff while on extreme mind altering drugs hoping someone will make a movie or miniseries out of them if there is enough swearing, weird stuff, and gore? What a visual nightmare this one would be, with nothing to redeem it but the words "The End". While I love some very brutal tales, this one gave me a headache for the duration. I love interesting ! - unusual! Give me Gaiman or Prachett and a number of other fantasy writers but I was so weary of the "c" word and "f" word and the maze of events that just went on and around and on and on...oh barf....how? why? what the heck?
Award for the most scatological brew of verbage I have listened to in many hundreds of books over the years!
The story was nicely complex -- there was much I missed the first time through. The second and third time I picked up on things I missed and found new parts to be thought provoking.
Neverwhere (or anything by Gaiman) It's the same mind bending twists that happen in "our" world, but just around the corner just ahead of us or behind us. Like, what happens in the fridge when you close the door sort of thinking.
It was quite mesmerizing -- But I love John Lee, which is partially brought me to this book in the first place.
It was quite thought provoking.
Great story that owes a lot to Adams, Pratchett, and Gaiman. The ending is a bit too tidy for my taste. Good characters -- although the female characters are relatively flat and stereotypical. The reading was good enough. Character voices were somewhat inconsistent, but not annoyingly so. Some were excellent. Worth downloading and listening to -- especially if you have run out of Discworld and Adams.
This is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to.
My favorite characters are Collingswood and Goss. Their personalities and manner of speaking appeal to my mind as well as my ear.
It's hard to choose. He brings the main characters to life so well. I guess I would have to say Goss is my favorite voice.
It made me laugh. But it also shocked me at times and caused wonder and excitement as well.
Only if the friend doesn't care much about characters; because the characters are so thinly conceived, the story has little to offer besides the author's admittedly hugely inventive fantasy imagination.
Only if someone can assure me that he's grown as a writer. Readers who like urban fantasy but want something with more depth should try instead Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker.
For some of the detective novels I've listened to, Lee's narration is often quite appropriately plain and restrained. You'd think that a book as rich in visuals as Kraken would be better served by the more old-fashioned narrational style that Lee favors, but in fact the thin characters might have been improved by a livelier, more actorly approach. And the lack of speech tags in the writing absolutely demanded a greater range of voices than Mr. Lee deployed.
I'm a recently retired police officer, judo instructor, grandfather, husband. Lifelong Sci-fi, horror, military fiction fan.
the story was great. the Narrator did a good job voicing the characters. the way Mieville weaves everyday London with magical London is totally believable.
If I compared it to another Mieville book it would be Perdido Street Station. Not because the stories are similar but because Mieville does such a great job of creating a new worlds.
It also reminded me of Stephen Kings books because there is the everyday world and another world just underneath waiting to be discovered or intrude on someone's life.
I have not listened to John Lee before....I think...
When a character realizes that there is a whole part of London she knows nothing about and must decide if she is going to go further into that world. It is a tough decision and it will change her life and she knows it.
It was really fun to be back in Mieville's worlds again. This was a fun rollercoaster ride.
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