countdown boutiques-francophones Beauty home Kindle Explore the Vinyl LP Records Store sports Tools

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on December 21, 2016
very good book
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 3, 2003
While accolades like "Dickensian" are a bit over the top, there hasn't been a new novelist in years that deserved as much excitement as China Mieville. Here we have a very impressive tour-de-force of modern science fiction mixed in with cyberpunk, subversive politics, and other heavy aspects of the Gen-X mindset. This novel takes place in a wasted city that is surely inspired by London, on a devastated planet that is probably Earth in the very distant future. Humans have mixed with many races of aliens into a dysfunctional society that has degenerated into a dark age of chaos and repression. Mieville does show some tendencies of the rampaging young writer with a few too many ideas, as this book tends to ramble in places. Sometimes we are lost in lengthy technical descriptions of machinery and architecture (an example is an overly long write-up of the workings of a mailroom in chapter 9), there are too many place names with no impact on the story, and a few too many bizarre alien races.
On the other hand, Mieville has a real gift for political intrigue and power plays in his writing, and bizarrely creative concepts and settings. My favorite is a garbage dump that evolves a collective artificial intelligence due to a computer virus. The most mind-blowing aspect of this novel is the villains - a tribe of mutants who feed on one's thoughts and dreams, and excrete dark psychic pain in amounts that drive entire populations insane. So while Mieville needs a little practice reining in his many ideas into a leaner-and-meaner focus, this book still has the power to blow your mind in ways that sci-fi hasn't been capable of in ages. Here's a hot new writer that deserves to be hot.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 17, 2003
Mieville writes a good book, there really isn't any question about that. However, the way in which he insists on writing this book interferes with the story of the book. I'll give you an example:
"The thing drew on the stored energy it had drawn from the dream___t, and powered its transformation. It self-organized. Its mutating form bubbled and welled up into strange dimensional rifts, oozing like oily sludge over the brim of the world into other planes, and back again. It folded in on itself, shaping itself out of the protean sludge of its own base matter.
It was unstable.
It was alive, and then there was a time between forms when it was neither alive nor dead, but saturated with power.
And then it was alive again. But different.
Spirals of biochymical slop snapped into sudden shapes. Nerves that had unwound and dissolved and reknitted in strange constellations.
The thing flexed in inchoate agony and a rudimentary, but growing, hunger."
Almost every chapter opens this way. You'll be reading a lot of "slop", "ichor", "blood", "rust", "filth", "sewer", et cetera in this book. After the first third or so of the book, you become accustomed to it, and begin to read the story and get interested in the characters.
Mieville, however, continues to 'set the stage' of the book to the very last pages. At no point does he ease off the "filth" in what you're reading. Perhaps his approach is that to do so would be unthorough. Well, Mr. Mieville, I got the point. I understand. I could have used a little less ichor and rotting flesh.
All this being said, the story is a good one. It much resembles _The Difference Engine_ by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. "Steam punk" they are calling it.
I'd recommend it to people who have a distinct "fantasy" kink, but not to hard SF readers. Additionally, the "goth" folks out there will probably eat this up and ask for more.
Interesting, exciting, but one star taken off for the needles use of "chymical" (and other obsolete spellings) continually. You'll probably want a dictionary around too.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 11, 2001
The thing that I really hate about most science fiction/fantasy, is that with a few notable exceptions, the authors treat their characters as throw-aways. All to often they are insipid automatons, that exist for the sole purpose of populating spectacular worlds. The authors of these novels have great creativity and imagination, but they never turn it into anything meaningful.
Not so, China Mieville, who creates characters who think and feel and have consciences. In his masterful "Perdido Street Station" he not only creates a city-state of remarkable depth and grit, but his characters are perfect fractal reflections of their environment. Some are good, some are bad, all are troubled and burdened with doubt and fear; but they are also all complex and beautiful.
In a remarkable world that mixes science fiction with fantasy and populated by a jaw-dropping variety of sentinent life forms, Mieville examines what it is to be "human". That is to say he explores what it is to be passionate and compassionate, moral and amoral. His characters struggle with "right" versus "easy" or "self-interest" with an astonishing depth. There were many points in this novel when I was genuinely moved.
One last point, all allegory and subtlety aside, "Perdido Street Station" is just an amazing read. It has suspense, intrigue, action and romance, and it is all written in a remarkable (almost like Dickens recording a particularly vivd nighmare) style. I truly can't recommend "Perdido Street Station" strongly enough. Enjoy!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 4, 2002
This book is so brutally beautiful and well-written that I have a hard time knowing where to start. First of all, if you're a fan of well-constructed fantasy cityscapes, this book is going to be your cup of tea. Every neighborhood within New Crobuzon is alive and teeming with activity; the streets breathe, the skies are alive with flying critters, the rivers are bursting with life, and a frightening surgically-altered murderer stalks the quiet alleyways by night. Colorful descriptions of the buildings, the inhabitants, and how they relate to the areas around them, are fascinating in their own rite - without even getting to any of the plot of the book.
I think what I love most about this book is the total lack of sentimentality for its protagonists. Here, just as in real life, good intentions don't necessarily get the job done; random events have very real and negative repercussions on nice people.
The plot is positively scintillating and the writing is absolutely among the best I've seen from any fiction writer. Set amid a backdrop of political intrigue, pseudo-science, and crackpot philosophies, a monstrous lifeform is unwittingly released upon the city. In order to stop it and save the city, the cooperation of a disparate group of concerned outlaws, citizens, and other unclassifiable entities is required.
Drop everything and fire up the coffee, it's going to be a long night.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 4, 2003
It's always nice to find another reliable scifi author. I enjoyed King Rat very much so dove right into Perdido Street Station after finishing it. Great read!
As others have said, the city is the star of the book. New Crobuzon is a fascinating place with fascinating "species" (although all the species are really humans).
When I see a book about a new "world" with a very complex map at the beginning, I prepare myself to be overwhelmed with learning the different peoples and places of that world. But Mieville never made me feel uncomfortable. He writes so fluidly and is so easy and enjoyable to read, that I was able to relax and let him slowly introduce me to the peoples and places. I never felt like info dump overload.
Another mark I give to Mieville is that usually I need to like at least one character in a book strongly, and be able to identify with them and want them to "win". But in this book I would find myself filled with a great desire for the "good guys" to win, but then would think, "Wait. Who are the good guys?" I didn't particularly like any of the characters. Didn't dislike them, just didn't identify with them. It was the city of Crobuzon that I found myself rooting for. And whether it was a man, a garuda, a vodynoia, a weaver, rebels, militia, handlings, etc. I found I was rooting for "the city" to survive and win.
On the one hand I would like to know more about:
vodynoa society including undines
the forrest
the southlands
On the other hand I admire an author that can write a great work without turning it into endless sequels that lose more and more of the wonder as they go on. So not sure if I want China to write a sequel or not.
True scifi fans will definitely enjoy this one. Reminds me of when I discovered Hyperion by Dan Simmons in 1990. Something unique and wonderful.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 9, 2017
Found this book in a bookstore in Sydney Australia. Bought it on a whim... Couldn't put it down. It's not Tolstoy... but a great book to read on the plane or sitting by the pool.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 7, 2002
China Mieville takes you to a world that's not unlike our own except it's populated by more than humans. But that's just the way it is in this world of creatures with human bodies and insect heads, creatures who can manipulate water and bird men. It's a mean ugly world where justice is served by "remaking" criminals by grafting things to their bodies or maiming them in ways for the world to see their crimes.
The story centers around a scientist who has a commision to bring flight back to a mutalated bird man. While this is going on his half human half insect girlfriend has been kidnapped by a "remade" gangster. And all the while the world is being threatened by giant soul sucking bugs that are bred on hallucinagetic drugs.
Only a writer of China Mieville's immagination could concieve of a world like this. Only a writer of his talent could bring this world to life in such a way that you feel this strange land is just the next town over.
I read King Rat and thought it was pretty good so I got Perdido Street Station. Although quite a large book, I finished it in a week. It went where ever I was and reading it took precident over almost anything else including sleep. His new book The Scar is being released the last week of June 2002 and for the first time ever I have pre-ordered a book. I don't need to read reviews on China Mieville, he is a unique voice and his impact on modern fiction should be felt for years to come.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 7, 2006
If I had to place stupendously imaginative novel Perdido Street Station in a genre, I'd say it was fantasy steampunk. Exotic and nightmarish creatures abound in New Crobuzon, a bustling, chaotic city milieu in a world featuring both magic and primitive technology. There is also a political dimension to the story, which highlights the abuse of power and also reflects the author's left-wing convictions. Be warned that there is a scarcity of happy outcomes for the characters, who are complex and never two-dimensional. If you have read and loved Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast books, you will immediately warm to China Mieville.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 29, 2003
Perdido is not a casual read. The language is dense, and if you're vocabulary isn't up to snuff, you'll probably struggle with this. Mieville also dedicates an incredible amount of time to imagery and atmosphere. On top of all that, the book takes a while to warm up, and at times the plotting feels loose and disjointed.
So, you may be asking, why did I give this five stars? Because once the story got going, I couldn't put it down, flaws and all. Mieville's imagination is nearly boundless and it's a book, love it or hate it, that's unlike anything else. And in the Weaver, a spider-like god that walks the web of reality, Mieville has created one of the most interesting and wonderfully bizarre characters I've ever come across. The minute he/she/it stepped on the page, I was enthralled. Always. I'd reccomend checking this one out for the Weaver alone.
And even though Perdido felt aimless at times (a tighter plot would have done wonders), certain scenes were so amazing that I doubt I'll ever forget them. The chapter involving the Ambassador of Hell was simply brilliant, and it's just one amongst the many.
Though Perdido is not without its faults, its pros far out-weigh the cons, especially in the latter half. For the patient and open-minded, this is not a book to pass up, for it will definitely make an impression and probably a lasting one.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Need customer service? Click here