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Publisher's Summary

Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores.

In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none - not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory. Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger.

While Isaac's experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows larger - and more consuming - by the day. What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon, and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes.

A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader's imagination.

©2003 China Mieville; (P)2009 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"The author of King Rat delivers a powerful tale about the power of love and the will to survive in a dystopian universe that combines Victorian elements with a fantasy version of cyberpunk. Mieville's visceral prose evokes an immediacy that commands attention and demands a wide readership. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Masterpiece. My new favorite author.

No kitschy wish fulfillment, no cliche story, no hackneyed premise or generic characters. Mieville is marvelous throughout, and the narration is brilliant.

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Very unique setting but...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

A select few might enjoy reading it, but in general, no. It took me about 10 chapters before getting engaged with the story. Even after that, there were times where I felt like I was slogging through the narrative waiting for the next plot point to develop (such as nearly a chapter spent on describing the process of laying a cable). Pros: it's a unique setting that does a good job of blending disparate elements such as strange alien races/biologies and both real and pseudo-sciences (including magic). Cons: the setting is gruesome and decay is everywhere. This wouldn't be so bad but the author seems to revel in describing it many times over. I don't expect a perfect, spic and span world but this really felt over the top.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I felt left hanging at the end, that some plot points weren't sufficiently closed. Maybe there's a sequel but I don't feel compelled to seek it out. I did, however, find the author's perspective on justice to be intriguing.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not at all.

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Mieville and John Lee unstoppable

Fantastic book. China Mieville has such a command of the English language! Be prepared to have you mind blown. John Lee stellar as always.

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Great imagery

This was an extremely well written and articulated book! Mievelle paints a beautiful and grime filled world, and John Lee articulates this perfectly. The ending left me with a bad taste in my mouth, but it was well worth the ride.

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Dense, complicated, and unapologetic.

This isn't an easy listen, but it's worth the slog. The narrator gives a stellar performance and the world created by the author is very complex so if you're looking for something different, you've found it.

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Brilliant descriptive writing.

Mieville paints a brutally descriptive image of a fantastic world of interlocking species and technology. Amazing, for example, how an entire chapter about laying cables in a city can continue to capture one's attention... Sometimes the description goes on so long that one is left begging for some action, but he usually finds a balance. The reader is excellent, capturing the tension, the pace, and the varied characters.

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Literary equivalent of a Salvador Dali Painting

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The book was...well...interesting. I admire the authors originality as the fantasy genre has become rather unoriginal and hidebound of late. But the characters were just so surreal, I had a hard time immersing myself in the story.

Was Perdido Street Station worth the listening time?

I would say yes, but I am not sure if I will listen to anymore of this authors books.

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Very Enjoyable

What made the experience of listening to Perdido Street Station the most enjoyable?

The descriptions of the city are amazing. Words that help you smell and see, love it.<br/>The book has a mystery to solve and characters to fall in love with, but it is the city that makes the story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Issac, sad, smelly, smart and in a bad place.

Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This was my first John Lee. The reading was steady, but sometimes he needed a glass of water.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, lots of information to process and I just wanted to digest what had just happened.

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I just stopped caring

Would you try another book from China Mieville and/or John Lee?

I've always enjoyed John Lee's narration of Peter F. Hamilton's works, and I really enjoyed "The City and The City". So yes, I'd try another book by either.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

What troubled me as I worked through the book was that John Lee's voice kept making me think I was "reading" a Peter F. Hamilton book, and I was constantly being disappointed by the descriptions of things and the level of detail in the book. Then I'd remember it was Mieville and would cheer up again for a while until, once again, I'd realize that I was disappointed. I ended up with about 4 hours left in the book and just turned it off to listen to something else. It just didn't grab me at all. I don't want books to make me work to stay interested. Mieville's other books have kept me enthralled, so I'm not sure what happened here.

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  • Valerie
  • Valparaiso, IN, United States
  • 01-23-16

God's damn! What an imagination!

Literally like nothing I've read before or since. It was staggering when I read the novel and now, years later, I'm impressed with the audio book. John Lee does a great job imparting emotions to the characters and brings a wonderful gravitas to the narration. I could feel the grit of New Crobuzon, smell the construct steam mingling with the strange smells of xenian cooking. top notch baroque fantasy.