As a fan of Sci Fi and Fantasy fiction I have been interested in reading a China Mieville book for some time, I read the young Adult oriented Unlondon..Show More » and found it too young for me so thought I'd give this one a go which has been well reviewed. I just found it to have no real dramatic thrust and the characters were quite unclear and unengaging to me, the author spends most of the time describing the detail and minutae of the world which I'm sure appeals to some readers but I wanted more attention on the story and characters and ultimately found it disappointing.
I really wanted to be able to give this audio book a higher rating because it's a masterpiece. From China Mieville's fantastic, descriptive and dark w..Show More »riting (that I fell for with UnLondon), to John Lee's superb narration this book is just perfect. I seriously couldn't ask for any more. One of dark Science Fiction's best writers and one of the world's best narrators of audio books.
Unfortunately on Part 3 of the audio at 3:30:30 (not kidding) there is a jump in the audio and story. I don't know how much is missing but for such an expensive book I'm disappointed.
I've submitted a report to audible in the hopes this can be fixed and if so I will update my review accordingly.
Damian Lynch couldn't ruin one of my favourite books for me, but he gave it a real go. He stumbles and brachiates through the sentences as if each one..Show More » were a tongue-twister (although, to be fair, it IS Miéville), reading nouns as verbs and verbs as nouns and not really betraying any understanding of what he's reading. Perhaps the most troubling part is that a disturbing number of these errors, even when picked up on and re-read by Mr Lynch, have not been edited out (I counted five untouched gaffes in one unhappy half-hour), possibly due to the soporific monotone in which the story is read. China Miéville is one of my very favourite authors, and I'm quite sad to see Mr Lynch has been further involved in the presentation of his works, not least of all because, of those books, The Scar would seem to be the MOST hospitable to Mr Lynch's tendency to give every character with an accent a Caribbean lilt. Susan Duerden's performance of Embassytown was vastly superior, and I'd hoped I'd get to hear her as Bellis Coldwine. No such luck. Boo.
“For every action, there's an infinity of outcomes. Countless trillions are possible, many milliards are likely, millions might be considered probable..Show More », several occur as possibilities to us as observers - and one comes true.”
- China Miéville, 'The Scar'
At some point there was an infinite number of possibilitites with this novel. This is the follow up to Perdido Street Station, book 2 in the Bas-Lag/New Crobuzon trilogy. There are chapters and lines and threads of this novel that contained amazing prose, brilliant ideas, funky characters, compelling themes, etc. I loved the motifs and themes China used: possibilities, scars, home, books, politics, community, etc. But there were also just too damn many pages. It could have been edited better. I'm not shy about books over 500 pages, but I don't want to read a 600+ page novel that really is just a fat 400 page novel.
Also, someone (a puissant editor, perhaps?) should have told China to stop using the word puissant (or its variants) and gout (gouts of water, gouts of blood, gouts of pleasure, gouts of relief, gouts of binding energy, gouts of smoke, gouts everywhere; enough gouts to form a trip or a tribe). Unless you are Cormac McCarthy (and there is only one CM) you need to be VERY careful when dropping the word gout casually in a novel. A reader who is paying attention is going to allow a word like gout or puissant to pop up just a few times in a novel that is 600 pages. Once you start dropping it in almost every chapter it practically begs the reader to start snickering or slap their forehead.
Finally, Miéville seemed unembarrassed by his use of steampunk cliches. He seemed to drag every single New Weird/Steampunk cliche into the light and wave it like an ensign. Obnoxious. But still I liked the novel. Hell, there were hours at a time when I REALLY enjoyed it. I devoted a few days to reading it. I loved its potential, and my review is just me letting off some steam (ba dum tss) about it not living up to what I hoped. I will, eventually, read his other books. I just don't feel compelled to read Iron Council tomorrow.
So, I was hoping for another: Perdido Street Station - 5 stars And I didn't think it was equal to: Embassytown or The City & the City - 4 stars. For me at least, I felt the same let down after reading Kraken - 4 stars (but maybe 3).
But hell, the guy still has managed to turn out better SF than most. Miéville's bottom stuff (that I've read) is way more compelling than a lot of the genre stuff out there. It was infinitely better than Cherie Priest's Boneshaker. Seriously, I had to bell, book and candle that piece of steampunk garbage. Only time healed those stupid steampunk wounds and I still have the scars.