On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt. The giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one's death and the other's glory are extraordinary. But no matter how spectacular it is, travelling the endless rails of the railsea, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life. Even if his philosophy-seeking captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she's been chasing - ever since it took her arm all those years ago.
When they come across a wrecked train, at first it's a welcome distraction. But the impossible salvage Sham finds in the derelict leads to considerably more than he'd bargained for. Soon he's hunted on all sides: by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters, and salvage - scrabblers.
And it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.
©2012 China Mieville (P)2012 Macmillan Digital Audio
"What kind of novel might someone produce if he had been influenced by writers such as Joan Aiken, the Awdrys, Daniel Defoe, Ursula Le Guin, Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson and Spike Milligan? The answer is Railsea, a wildly inventive crossover/young adult fantasy with elements of SF and trains, lots of trains." (Guardian)
"Huge fun, a book that plays intellectual games without ever letting them overpower the sense of rip-roaring adventure gradually unfolding." (SFX)
A curious steampunk work that leaves as much unexplained as it elucidates. The narrator's voice shifts minutely in tone and accent, like the various rhythms of the rail-faring engines, creating a mesmerising pace to the story but occasionally making it tricky to distinguish between who of the characters is speaking. Overall, a compelling read.
Plenty of imagination as you might expect but I found I couldn't engage with the characters.
The setting, a 'sea' of rails was difficult to relate to: a clue that the story wasn't particularly engaging is that rather than pay full attention to the story, I found myself trying to work out how a rail-sea might actually work (it's never really explained in a satisfactory way).
A very memorable book, so among the best.
It's not so much the characters as the world they inhabit: the details are so intriguing that I was longing to hear more at every stage.
I liked the scenes where we were travelling along the Railsea, from the start and all the way through.
No way! I listened to it driving to and from work, but got so engrossed by the end I sat at home to listen to the ending.
This book would make an amazing film.
Working my way through China Mievele's works and wasn't sure about this one. I'm not a fantasy fan and it felt like a bit of a slow starter for the first few chapters but once the scene was set and world was painted, It became a beautiful story that I couldn't put down.
I've never read a story that has has described action in such a visceral way, making me feel like I could be riding along the rails right with them. And there are a couple of chapters where I felt genuinely awed, something which very rarely happens.
My only gripe would be on the odd occasion the pacing could be a little better. Some events, large and small, build up nicely, get me hooked, ramp up some more then as I'm expecting a satisfying conclusion, it will wrap up too quickly for me. It's almost like someone off stage is telling him to wrap it up and move on.
That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was never able to predict what would happen next.
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