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.
I'm glad I had to read this for a Arts and Humanities class. If you love sci-fi, gods and adventure/mystery, then this is something to read. Mieville brings to life anything and everything in a tale of how a god is stolen and chaos is brought to London. John Lee's accent is icing on the cake as the setting is in London! I could easily tell when a characer change happened. So much emphasis was placed on body and changes; e.g. Watti's ability to move through statues and other objects. Sound wise, there was no background noise that I could pick up.
Some of my favorite characters were Goss and Subby for there terror factor. You get to know each character as they come along, but I would note that there are extras and armies of people that could be tough to remember. This is something to read and then read again before you get the full picture and understanding. A beautiful piece of work and an excellent tribute to the Sea, in my mind.
its unusual, but an awesome book with a very unique mythos it draws from. highly recommend if you are into supernatural-esque mysteries that involve the end of times.
No, the book is great. I own a physical copy. I've struggled to make it 15% of the way into the audiobook. The narrator doesnt do voices well and sounds very stiff.
Yes. I think this would solve my main issue with this book.
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!
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