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Kraken | [China Mieville]

Kraken

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (574 )
5 star
 (174)
4 star
 (184)
3 star
 (99)
2 star
 (76)
1 star
 (41)
Overall
3.7 (313 )
5 star
 (100)
4 star
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3 star
 (63)
2 star
 (31)
1 star
 (19)
Story
4.1 (317 )
5 star
 (138)
4 star
 (111)
3 star
 (41)
2 star
 (16)
1 star
 (11)
Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer BERKLEY, MICHIGAN, United States 12-09-11
    Amazon Customer BERKLEY, MICHIGAN, United States 12-09-11 Member Since 2010

    torchone

    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Horrible narrator"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A better reader way too much British slang and colloquium,also they authors style is chaotic,verbose to pointlessness. Plot was not that interesting


    Has Kraken turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Lee?

    Scott brick, Simon prebble, Neil gammon


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    none


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Campbell 05-19-11
    D. Campbell 05-19-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    135
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "What's the point?"

    Why are some of the characters so hostile towards each other? I just don't get it. It didn't seem to serve any purpose or fit into the flow of character through the story. Other reviews mentioned that the book was both predictable and impenetrable. Um...yes!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Pound, VA, United States 05-16-11
    John Pound, VA, United States 05-16-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "meh"

    Mieville's stories and imagination are inevitably rich and complex.

    I also generally like John Lee . His reading of the Bernie Gunther series by P. Kerr is great. I do take a HUGE exception for Feast for Crows. Lee the Usurper cannot compete with Roy Dotrice, not at all. (Listening to Lee read Crows was a 31-hour exercise in resentment.)

    Lee's reading of Kraken was a similar experience. His reading is so far over the top as to make every single syllable distracting. Does he have to pronounce "Subby" as "Subbbbbbbbbbbbby" EVERY time? In my opinion I don't think Lee was showing much respect for Mieville's written word. I think he was loving his voice far more than the story. Lee didn't gild this lily. He shellacked it and then stomped on it.

    (Btw: anyone who thinks Mieville is a cheap version of Neil Gaiman is an idiot. Gaiman's the mockingbird; he's a hack with a gift for self-promotion).

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tina West Hills, CA, United States 04-02-11
    Tina West Hills, CA, United States 04-02-11 Member Since 2003
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    "A bit of a struggle"

    I quite enjoyed Perdido Street Station and The City & The City, but found this book a bit tougher to get through. I'm not sure specifically what the problem was but the middle third took some effort. In the end did enjoy it however.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ulrich Michelstadt, Germany 08-08-10
    Ulrich Michelstadt, Germany 08-08-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Boring"

    I read this book and got so bored by the for me uncomprehensible flood of meaningless words that I had to put it down.

    I do not know whether this book would have been any better if I was smarter or would have invested time into a backround research - but as it is it was a waste of money and time.

    I cannot recommend this book to anybody. Sorry.

    6 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucie San Francisco, CA, United States 12-20-10
    Lucie San Francisco, CA, United States 12-20-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1168
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Yuk... and a waste of time"

    If it wasn't for John Lee (Narrator) I would'nt even tried to to finish it ... it's a mixture of Dr Who, star treck (all generations) and LSD at their worst.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Boynton Beach, FL, United States 11-22-10
    Eric Boynton Beach, FL, United States 11-22-10 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    "Purposely Confusing"

    This book is a mess, the author adds in many unnecessary nonsensical words just to hind a VERY thin story line.
    You keep waiting for all the crazy language and hanging plots to come together but they never do. Then you realize the author is making the story and characters up along the way. The characters are given "new and unforeseen" abilities all along the way only because the author keeps writing herself into a box and must toss in a magical "key" so the story can go on.
    John Lee does a great job, but he must read what he is given. No fault to him on this.

    Signed,
    I want my money back!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Columbus, OH, United States 11-04-10
    Paul Columbus, OH, United States 11-04-10 Member Since 2008

    TimeLord

    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    54
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "not neverwhere"

    not awful, just not very good. i like the effort, just not my style. riddlin might help.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Chesterfield, VA, United States 10-28-10
    Kindle Chesterfield, VA, United States 10-28-10 Member Since 2010

    As you may be able to tell from the few reviews I've done, I not a fan of books that reference other books, or TV shows, or movies, or ... I want a book to help me escape from my own world. But referencing some hit TV show from our own pop culture always ruins the mood. I want authors to tell their own stories without leaning on others.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    8
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    0
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    Overall
    "Too much for me"

    Pure gibberish. I assume the author deliberately tried to keep the reader confused. I'm still not sure what the plot was supposed to be. Not recommended. I wasted a credit. Nuts.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sheralyn Dawsonville, GA, United States 07-31-10
    sheralyn Dawsonville, GA, United States 07-31-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Amature Writing"

    I enjoy reading many different genres and I have read many books. What makes a book great is the way that it is written. Either this author had a bad editor or the author does not have an imagination when it came to word choice. My fourth grade students could give this author a lesson on using different words for “said”. It got so monotonous that I could not finish the book.

    3 of 31 people found this review helpful
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