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)
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.
There was so much wrong with this book I don't even know what I'd suggest. At the time I write this I have over 300 books in my Audible library. This has been the only book that I've given a 1 rating to it's story. After 8 hours of straight listening, I couldn't tell you who any of the characters were, what they were doing, or why they were doing it. This book is everywhere. It seems very random to me. Random and boring. The characters are bland and don't make an impact.
I'm very disappointed in this book. After reading the publisher summary and some other reviews I really thought I'd enjoy this title. Thanks for trying John Lee.
Probably Wind Through the Key Hole by Stephen King.
I've listened to quite a few books that John Lee has performed and never had a complaint before. He does a good job with a boring book.
The cover is kind of nice looking. It also was the only book I've ever read/heard that talked about origami people folding.
I'll be looking into the author's other work, but unless something really stands out I won't be making another China Mieville purchase.
I liked Mieville's deft use of humor and absurdity. The story, while completely original, was assembled from tropes of multiple genre's. From sci-fi to fantasy and from whodunit to horror, he kept the listener wondering what literary DNA he would splice in next. The story and plot were top notch, never slowing and very tight, the characters had a surprising depth, and most importantly it all held together for something very rare indeed: the satisfying ending.
Anything by Douglas Adams or Neil Gaiman but that's pretty much expected. More violent than either of them but certainly of their ilk.
John Lee was perfect. His range of characters was impressive and his voice was incredible.
No spoilers here but there is a bit about Star Trek matter transportation technology that was quite poignant.
Better source material, as many others have pointed out, the story itself is a total rambling mess, and I was often confused as to what was going on and why, and could have done with a harsher editor. The over the top prose style and vocabulary began to get on my nerves too. The characters were poorly written, and felt very flimsy.
Probably not, I thought "City and the City" was overrated, a reasonable noir with an interesting premise, but certainly not worthy of the fawning and the reviews, I also got quite bored with "The scar", again a nice idea but the story plodded along and again I felt largely disinterested in all the characters.
Nothing in particular, he did a reasonable job with difficult material.
Where to start, there's so many, all of the them are badly written. I found it difficult to care about the main character, his side kick or any of their protagonists.
Avoid this audiobook, perhaps even this author.
I love to read, but I am time-limited. Audible allows me to keep up with all my favorite authors while on the hiking trail. Thanks, Audible!
Let me start by saying I am a fan of China Mieville's work. I am also a huge fan of all organisms in the Mollusca phylum especially cuttlefish. So, I really wanted to like this book. While there were parts of it that were really inventive, novel, and funny, this book relies heavily on the Star Trek model of scifi. The reliance doesn't leave the reader with a feeling of knitting weird fiction together with contemporary literary reality which would have resulted in a more practical feel to the tome. It leaves the reader with a feeling of a lazy imagination. It is definitely not Mieville's best work, and I wouldn't suggest it as an introduction to his work. The narration is excellent.
Unique mystery thriller.
Goss and Subby, Subby and Goss. Two or maybe just one - it all depends on how you look at it - memorable character(s) in the book. The first time you meet them - it is memorable.
That Goss has a real flare about him.
Battle with the sea. Mieville really makes you work to grasp the sea as a being.
A good listen but I am easy to please.
Though I'm excited to see Mieville's launch away from the world he created in Perdido Street Station, I found this one to be pretty mundane.
I thought this was a science fiction book but it turns out to be a fantasy book. It is so long I almost quit listening several times. The author went on tangent after tangent of unneeded descriptions writen just to make the story longer. I am very sorry I wasted my time on this book. I would not read anything else by this author. The Narrator was fine but he didn't have much to work with since the novel was so poorly done.
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