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King Rat Paperback – Oct 6 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (Oct. 6 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312890729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312890728
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.1 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #77,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Paperback
First novel by inventive left-wing fantasy author China Mieville, in which young Saul Garamond comes to terms with his true identity as a half-rat superhero, after the murder of his father. Set in the shadowy, seamy underbelly of London, this novel is also about the esoteric world of drum-and-bass music. The characterisation is fairly flat, and there really should be a bit more of a background to Saul; King Rat is not quite in the same league as the Bas-Lag novels, but still displays a brilliant imagination, and a rather anarchic mix and match approach which I find very stimulating.
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By A Customer on May 20 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a very good and engaging reinscription of the Pied Piper children's story. Here the rats, more or less, are the heroes and the Piper is a beautiful but psychopathic musician. It is also a text where Mieville attempts to blend, more or less successfully, Industrial Fiction with an Adult Fairy Story. So it isn't particularly innovative (that's been going on for decades - transforming fairy stories into adult fiction and sometimes serious literature [Angela Carter's work for example]) but it is an interesting read: good writing, characters, incident, crisis, plotting, etc.
I do not give it 5 stars because there is nothing truly unique and inspiring about the read. You want to take a walk off the map? Read Carlton Mellick III's Electric Jesus Corpse.
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Format: Paperback
King Rat is inspired by Neil Gaiman's NeverWhere. But it is not a copy. Mieville has his own voice and vision.
This is not the glitzy West End of the tourists, or the City of Big Business. This is the London of the poor, the outcasts, the shabby projects. The London of the urban tribes outside of society.
An ancient evil has returned to clear up unfinished business. The old King Rat failed to protect his people, and the rats dethroned him. But they are now confused and afraid, and lack leadership. The King Rat sees a chance to regain his throne, and Saul Garamond will be his tool.
Mieville brings new twist to old story plots. There is where I find some of his brilliance. The story is interesting to the end. At no time did I know what was going to happen next.
He writes in a poetic, yet fluent language. I even highlighted some passages because his descriptions rival Dante's.
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Format: Paperback
Texture, scent, colour. I've not read anything this, well, real in a long time. Even when it's not something you'd really want to smell or sense, Mieville lets you have it full on. I enjoyed Ann Rice's early works for the same reason. I knew how the curtains in a room would feel under my fingertips, and how musty they'd smell. Mieville is much in the same vein in that regard, one of the best sensory descriptive writers I've encountered yet. A gripping story, too. Read his newer work!!!
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Format: Paperback
China Mieville is, today, regarded as something of a Fantasy fiction It Boy, a reputation due mostly to his second novel, "Perdido Street Station", and enhanced by his third, "The Scar". Not nearly as much discussion has been generated by his first novel, "King Rat", and after reading it I'm inclined to see why. The book, an ambitious (over-ambitious, as it turns out) mix of fairy tale and urban grime which lends new meaning to the term "subculture", has many aspects that are worth admiring - the wealth of ideas, genuinely gripping action sequences and gorgeous descriptions alone make it worth a read. Unfortunately, its flaws are deep-seated and impossible to ignore, resting mainly with the book's almost unbelievably one-dimensional characterisations.
The human characters in the book are, without doubt, the weakest. Fabian and Natasha exist only to serve in the traditional Damsels-in-Distress role (an apt comparison, as the book is a much more traditional Good-versus-Evil tale than it likes to think it is). Inspector Crowley is even worse off: a cliched Cop-with-a-Hunch, Mieville makes some half-hearted attempts at sketching a personality for him before abandoning him altogether. Deborah, in her bizarrely brief appearance, serves no purpose whatsoever other than cheap shock value at her fate. Saul, perhaps, comes off the best of all the characters in the novel (yes, I place him squarely in the "human" camp, as he gives no evidence that his psychology is in any real way different from ours); we are at least privy to his true thoughts and emotions, which is more than can be said for anyone else in the book - particularly, sadly, the non-human characters (King Rat, Anansi, Loplop and the Piper), the book's most conceptually interesting people.
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Format: Paperback
China Mieville, King Rat (Tor, 1998)
It amazes me, after having read King Rat, that China Mieville didn't start getting widespread recognition until after his third novel, Perdido Street Station. King Rat heralded the coming of a great new writer, and most of the planet ignored it. Their loss.
Saul Garamond comes home one night after a camping trip and immediately goes to bed. He is awakened the next morning by the police, who suspect him of killing his father, who took a plunge out their sixth-story apartment window sometime during Saul's absence. He's held in prison overnight, but during his stay there, a fellow who calls himself King Rat slips into Saul's cell and breaks him out. For Saul is the key to the defeat of King Rat's oldest and most powerful enemy...
Set amid the Jungle craze that hit London in the mid-nineties, and spending a good deal of time in the sewers underneath London, King Rat achieves what Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere came so close to but missed by a hair-taking modern London and making it into a completely new place, filled with wonder and magic. Seeing it from a different point of view (but unlike Gaiman, Mieville gives us a point of view that actually exists inside the fantasy world-the point of view of the homeless). A number of previous reviewers have commented that it helps when reading the novel to know a good deal about Cockney rhyming slang and Jungle music. I know diddly about either, other than that they exist, and still found the novel easy enough to follow (while some of the slang terms I couldn't figure out for the life of me, the context of their use made the meanings obvious).
Like Perdido Street Station, King Rat shows Mieville as more than a capable writer, but one possessed of greatness.
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