This book badly needed a more authoritative editor. The description passages are far too long. The author uses words like "bathetic", "vertiginous" an..Show More »d "solipsistic" where they're not needed. Space spent on excessive detail could have been spent extending the ending, which is perfunctory and unsatisfying and does almost none of the main characters justice.
Why, then, have I given this verbose, poorly-ended book five stars? Because it's a thing of beauty. A truly unique fantasy work, breathtakingly creative and lovingly realised. It contains one of the most distinctive settings you're likely to find, one of the most genuinely affecting relationships I've experienced in speculative fiction, and some of the coolest characters and monsters anywhere. The world of Bas-Lag is brilliantly complete and endlessly surprising; dark and unpleasant yet fascinating. It's somewhere in between science fiction and fantasy (I would describe it as retrofuturist fantasy), and it's changed how I think about both. The plot, up until the last couple of hours, is coherent and engaging, and twists and turns with an unpredictability rarely seen. It's definitely political, but not excessively so. It's marvellous.
Sometimes a bad ending retroactively ruins the whole book, or film, or game, or at least permanently tarnishes your appreciation of it. Not here. When I finished this audiobook yesterday, I was annoyed at the ending, but I'm definitely glad I went along for the ride. Jonathan Oliver's narration fits the tone of the writing brilliantly. In places, it has an excess of drama to match the excess of verbosity, but when the writing is more measured the narration really shines, and his voices are great. I especially like the way he voices the non-human characters, particularly Lin.
I've never written a review for audible this long before, but I wanted to make my complex feelings known. If you like speculative fiction, Perdido Street Station offers something unique. Try it out!
China Mieville has got to be one of the hardest working authors I've ever read. He puts stunning little side plots and nuggets into his fiction that w..Show More »ould be a whole novel to a lesser writer! Anyway...
The Scar is a fascinating story that develops around a lady running away from her home city and finding a city like she never dreamed. Full of danger, intrigue, the strange and familiar it calls to our heroine (Bellis) and she is torn between love and fear of her lost home.
When the chance comes to betray her new, floating, home in Armada she does but ultimately is a pawn in a larger game. The small cog in a larger wheel is a recurring theme in CM's work and is appealing as a starting point for character development. On the subject of characters, the diversity, depth and sheer imagination of CM's vision is amazing.
My only criticism of CM's stories is, and please bear in mind I'm a fan of Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The Scar, that I never like the way the stories end. It's my personal opinion only.
This is a great, sweeping, imaginative story that will take you from the familiar ie politics (Mr Mieville like the theme) to philosophy to religion and beyond, all in an easily accessible 'steampunk' past-present.
I didn't enjoy Railsea as much as I'd hoped, but Iron Council was everything I've come to expect from China Mieville. What almost completely ruined it..Show More » for me, though, was the narration. Mieville utilises an excellent and broad vocabulary, but unfortunately the narrator approached many of the words as someone who had never heard them before and therefore pronounced them with seemingly random inflection and phonics. I can thoroughly recommend the book, but it's one to read until a new actor is found do so for Audible.