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)
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.
This book is a wonderful jumble of pop culture science fiction and fantasy blended with an alternate modern day London. China Mieville is known for descriptive world building that makes you feel present in the story. He lives up to his reputation in Kraken. It is a very detailed book, and this is book is only for multi tasking if you are doing mindless tasks like laundry. If you do not focus on it you will miss some intelligent pieces of humor. This book definitely caters to those that love the sci fi/fantasy genres but you can still enjoy this book if you are only a casual sci fi/fantasy reader. I loved the fact China Mieville was willing to poke gentle fun at himself and his audience.
Kraken involves an alternate London that has regular London living obliviously living amongst them with no idea that they have Gods, Londanmancers, cults, and familiars (currently on a union strike) living amongst them. Billy gets pulled into this world when he's working at the Darwin Museum and a giant squid disappears. He's pulled into this world by those that think he is the Kraken Prophet and is dodging muliple factions of cults, henchmen, assassins, a paranormal division of the police, and Chaos Nazis. My summary does not do it justice. You have to read it.
John Lee narrated it and I think for the most part he did a fabulous job, the only place I feel he may have fell short was the character of Collingsworth, who is a paranormal, Amy Winehouse type, police woman. He doesn't do terrible with it but I could see if I was reading it, my internal interpretation may have been a bit different. For the wealth of particular characters I don't know anyone who could have done better.
I loved it and it will definitely go into the listen again pile because I am sure that on a second try I would pick up on even more of the pop culture references. I did notice some characterized this book as scary or horror and I tend to stay away from that genre because I can scare easy. I did not find it scary at all.
Once this book got started I couldn't stop listening. I found myself offering to do yard work and things around the house that would mean I could listen to a little more. The plot is excellent. The characters are both complex and incredibly creepy. Mieville creates this world that is just a tiny bit strange and those little things make all the difference. It's believable enough that it's even scarier. Fascinating, fast paced, and keeps you guessing.
Me am Pop-Surrealist Tiki-Artist living and making Art on the active volcanic "Big Island" of Hawaii. Aloha.
hero - quite the adventure, you learn so much in such an strange world from his step by step path into this magical and hyper-verison of Harry Potter.
yes... but there is soooo much I could not. I enjoyed days of this amazing tale...
Harry Potter for adults. Smart adult, who like a good mystery and are not too squeamish about creepy bad guys killing people is really creepy ways....
Yes. It's a blast. I'm sure I missed a lot.
The opening chapter when we are introduced to China's vision of London was extraordinary.
John Lee constantly reminded me of the British-ness of the story. He was excellent.
There's a world out there you haven't yet seen.
A story and characters I could hold onto
Good but the story robs him
all of them.... seriously... all of them..
Listen to the first chapter sample before purchasing... If it does not grab you.. .don't buy it..
Absolutely. As a book, I think this is the best modern fantasy I've read and John Lee's narration adds tremendously to the text. Usually I would recommend a book as densely written as this (neologisms, parentheticals, interrupted dialog, etc.) be read, but Lee's narration adds great depth. He does a great job communicating the confusion of the protagonist and the menace of the antagonists.
Modern fantasy always has a problem that there are a bunch of machina out of which the author can pull a deus. Miéville does an exceptional job establishing the power relationships between a pantheon of gods (many of which seem mutually exclusive) and various magical cabals. The pace at which confusion gives way to a sketched outline of the rules of the game and then ultimately to the series of internally-logical events of the climax is exceptional.
I've not, but I will absolutely seek him out in other audiobooks after this.
No, I can't say that it was. It's too dense a meal for that. But I very much enjoyed how I did listen to it, which was in 1-2 hour blocks.
The twists and turns as the author continuously invented new worlds within worlds to keep the reader reeling.
Many of the characters developed - up and down - through out the book and it would be hard to pick one overall favorite. I kind of liked some of the bad guys more than the good guys even though I was rooting for the world not to end.
His mastery of different London accents is more that I could do for myself.
I wouldn't say moved, but about halfway through the book I realized that this was not going to be like any other book I had read and I was excited to keep going.
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